* ILO: No room for complacency in global fight vs child labor:
ILO Director General Juan Somavia made the call at the 10th anniversary of the annual World Day Against Child Labor on Tuesday where he said that of the 215 million children “laboring to survive,” 5 million of them are in forced labor.
“There is no room for complacency when 215 million are still laboring to survive and more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including slavery and involvement in armed conflict,” said Somavia in a statement.
“We cannot allow the eradication of child labor to slip down the development agenda—all countries should be striving to achieve this target, individually and collectively,” he added. read more.
* Asia braces for weaker exports as Europe stumbles:
After supplying European customers for more than 40 years with neon bright ornamental fish, Shirley Lim is now looking elsewhere for sales.
Lim, whose business in Singapore and Malaysia grows aquatic plants and breeds colorful fish such as the Checkered Rainbow and Butterfly Barb, said orders from Europe are down by a fifth this year.
“The situation in Europe seems so unpredictable,” said Lim of the debt stricken and economically ailing continent that once accounted for as much as 80 percent of her South Island Aquarium company’s business. “I’m looking at other Asian markets instead of just concentrating on the EU.” (…)
In India, Asia’s third-biggest economy, exports of clothing, footwear, carpets and handicrafts to Europe have slowed sharply this year, said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations. read more.
09:18:41 local time CHINA
* Sweden advocated a ban on EU imports of textiles and clothing with NPE:
Sweden has informed the European Chemicals Agency will compile a report on nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) of the file. Documents drafted by the Swedish Chemicals Agency, listed EU banned imports of textiles containing NPE rationale, expected before August 2012 submitted to the European Chemicals Agency. Swedish initiative may ultimately lead to a total ban on the EU market for the sale of textile products containing NPE. Such act will have a strong hit to China’s exports of the textiles and clothing products. to read.
* Quanzhou Textile Manufacturers Expect to Be the Standard Consultants of the Industry:
In the recent years, more and more clothing manufacturers are make standards for enterprises and have the opportunities to take part in the amendment and drawing of the industrial standards. However, some standards do not seem quite “professional” because of lack of professional knowledge. Fabrics have their standards, such as wash methods and times, especially for high-end functional fabrics which require special methods for usage. Misuse of such fabrics may lead to ill effects such as colour run and functional failures. Therefore, it is necessary for the up-stream suppliers to take part in the amendment and drawing of the industrial standards. Clothing enterprises could better understand the requests of consumers for product quality by means of communication between up and down stream counterparts.
* China’s Li Ning profit warning sends shares to 6-1/2 year low:
Private equity-backed Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning Co Ltd (2331.HK) warned of a “substantial decline” in profit for 2012 due to weaker sales and higher marketing costs, knocking its shares to a 6-1/2 year low.
The warning is the latest blow for China’s domestic retail brands, which are facing challenges including high inventory, rising costs and competition from foreign brands such as Nike and Adidas.
“Investors are likely to lose confidence in the company due to its unclear market position and intensifying competition from local and foreign brands,” said Conita Hung, head of equity research at Delta Asia Financial. read more. & read more.
* Soccer fever fails to net company sponsorships in China:
Despite growing football fever on TV screens across China for Euro 2012, the tournament for all the top international teams in Europe has failed to ignite corporate sponsorship interest here.
According to Feng Tao, CEO of sports marketing firm Shankai Sports International, which is the authorized sales agent in China for the event, there have been sales of packages involving tickets and other hospitality at the matches themselves. (….)
Spanish club Espanyol, for example, recently announced it had chosen not to renew its existing agreement with the leading Chinese sportswear producer Li-Ning Co Ltd, whose products the famed La Liga club had worn for the past two seasons.
Instead, the team is expected to switch to Puma, according to a recent statement on its website.
Espanyol had described its relationship with Li-Ning as “excellent and fruitful” with the Chinese company having used the sponsorship to expand its profile through Spain.
But due to Puma’s more international image and reach, the Spanish club said it would be working in future with the German shoe and sportswear brand “to develop our business interests, brand and reputation”.
Li-Ning had signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the club in February 2010, which made Espanyol the first European soccer club to sign with a Chinese sportswear firm. read more.
09:18:41 local time PHILIPPINES
*A century of labor discord:
One of the factors holding back the Philippine labor movement has been its division along ideological lines — although personality differences have undoubtedly played a part. What, then, are we to make of recent developments which seem to herald the prospect of greater unity? This week and next, we’ll cast a glance over the past century of discord before examining recent moves involving both wings of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.
In 1913, an organizing committee led by Hermenigildo Cruz convened a congress at which a united labor center, the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas (COF), was formed from the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas and the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas. read more.
* UNIQLO Opening First MOA Outlet:
Japan’s fastest globalizing clothing brand Uniqlo is opening its first store in the country on Friday, June 15, at the SM Mall of Asia, providing Filipinos an alternative functional apparel for all ages.
In support of its Philippine operation, Tadashi Yanai, chairman and CEO of Fast Retailing Inc., would grace the occasion and share his economic vision for Uniqlo in the Philippines.
The opening of the first UNIQLO store in Manila, in the SM Mall of Asia, makes the Philippines the 12th country outside of Japan where it has presence, after opening stores in the US, UK, France, Russia, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. UNIQLO also operates stores in Southeast Asian countries like, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
With global sales of 820 billion yen for the 2011 fiscal year ending August 31, 2011, FR is the world’s fourth largest apparel retail company and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer. read more.
08:18:41 local time VIET NAM
* Lawmakers approve tax cuts for enterprises:
Lawmakers in the National Assembly have agreed that tax cuts and exemptions would help ease production and business difficulties sweeping the nation.
Most Assembly deputies supported a Government proposal to cut taxes by 30 per cent for small and medium enterprises and for those enterprises in specific fields with a large number of workers.
In addition, value-added tax and income and enterprise taxes would be cut for individuals and households renting houses or rooms to students and workers, or those who provided baby-sitting or industrial meal services, with the proviso that all prices be held at last year’s level.
Most deputies agreed the tax measures would help enterprises and labourers overcome problems due to a shortage of capital or product output. The resolution on measures to solve production and business difficulties was expected to be adopted by the Assembly near the end of its session. read more. & read more.
08:18:41 local time THAILAND
* New wage means fall in income, workers complain:
A number of workers at Molnlycke Health Care (Thailand) found their monthly income falling after the government’s policy to raise the daily minimum wage to Bt300 took effect in April 1, because their employer had stopped paying performance-based incentives.
“We used to earn more than Bt17,000 a month, but now our monthly income stands at around only Bt13,000,” Natnapas Kaewthong said yesterday in her capacity as chair of the company’s labour union.
Molnlycke Health Care (Thailand) has hired more than 1,000 people at its two factories, one in Samut Prakan and the other in Chon Buri. It is a manufacturer of surgical gowns.
Natnapas said the company had pressured 96 per cent of its workers to sign their consent for the cut in performance-based incentives. read more.
08:18:41 local time CAMBODIA
* New Bavet witnesses called:
Two new witnesses have been summonsed in the case against former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith, as the victims’ lawyer tries to prove he intentionally shot three female protesters outside a shoe factory in February.
Nouth Bopinnaroath, Svay Rieng provincial co-ordinator for the rights group Licadho, said the “important” witnesses had been called by investigating judge Pech Chhoeut to reassess the controversial charge of causing unintentional injury handed to the former governor.
“The victims were not happy when the prosecutor charged [Chhouk Bandith] with [causing] unintentional injuries, so the investigating judge asked the lawyers to find more evidence,” he said, adding they had been called for questioning this Thursday.
“If it is unintentional, he should not have shot two or three times.”
The charge against Chhouk Bandith alleges he accidentally shot three workers while trying to fire into the air at a protest of some 6,000 workers outside the Kaoway Sports Ltd factory in Bavet town’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone in February.
* Garment workers back to table for more talks:
The workers and management of the Chiang Sou undergarments factory in Kampong Speu failed to reach a resolution yesterday despite hours of attempted negotiations, only a day after nearly 200 employees went on strike demanding better working conditions.
Than Thol, an officer for the Free Trade Union of Cambodia, said the management refused to accept any of the 13 points proposed by their employees.
“I will continue to support the workers,” he said yesterday.
Director of the provincial labour office Chek Borin said both sides would meet for a second round of negotiations today, where he would represent the workers. to read.
09:18:41 local time MALAYSIA
* Bill tabled for private sector minimum retirement age of 60:
Putrajaya proposed today to make 60 years the earliest retirement age for the private sector, in another concession to workers following the recent wage floor and revival of studies into unemployment benefits.
The Minimum Retirement Age Bill, tabled by Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, also supersedes any previous retirement age agreed to between employers and employees if passed into law.
“Any retirement age in a contract of service or collective agreement made before, on or after the date of coming into operation of this Act which is less than the minimum retirement age provided… shall be deemed void and substituted with the minimum retirement age provided under this Act,” reads Section 7 of the Bill. read more.
07:18:41 local time BANGLA DESH
* US concern over RMG sector should be taken up seriously- DCCI:
Bangladesh should seriously consider the concern of US Ambassador Dan Mozena over the readymade garment (RMG) sector, said a leading trade body Pesident on Tuesday.
“We should seriously consider his (Mozena’s) concern since the RMG industry has a possibility to be an US$ 50 billion industry within the next 7-8 years. There should have a plan from the government high-ups on how the arising situation will be tackled,” DCCI President Asif Ibrahim told reporters.
He was addressing a press conference at the conference room of DCCI (Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry). read more.
* World Day Against Child Labour being observed:
The 11th World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) is being observed in the country as elsewhere across the globe today (Tuesday) with the theme “Human Rights and Social JusticeL Let`s End Child Labour”.
This year the WDACL is being observed throughout the country under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in collaboration with International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNICEF, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Manusher Jonno Foundation and Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum.
Different government and non-government organisations, institutions, business bodies and human rights organisations have chalked out various programmes to observe the day with befitting manner.
The main programmes will be observed in capital`s Topkhana Road and Motijheel. A National Seminar is being held at Hotel Purbani from 9:30 am. The title of the seminar is “National Plan of Action to Implement National Child Labour Elimination Policy: The Way Forward”. read more.
* 20 injured in workers-police clash as RMG unrest continues in Ashulia:
At least 20 people were injured as the garment workers who were demonstrating demanding a hike in their wages clashed with police in Ashulia for the second day on the trot on Tuesday.
Locals said the workers of ADL Garments of Hameem Group owned by FBCCI president AK Azad started staging demonstration in the morning for the second day as the authorities failed to meet their demand to hike salary even after two weeks of assurance of increasing their wages. read more.
* Ashulia erupts into violence again:
Production at over 100 readymade garment units (RMG) on the capital’s outskirt Ashulia was suspended again as the workers continued their demonstration for second straight day on Tuesday.
At least 40 people including several police personnel were injured when the angry workers fought pitched battles with law enforcers demanding hikes in their wages, Abdus Salam, director general of Industrial Police confirmed to The Daily Star.
Traffic movement on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for four hours from 9:00 in the morning as the workers put barricades on the highway to press home their demand, causing immense sufferings to commuters.
The agitation that led to the clash started as soon as the workers of Artistic Design Ltd, a sister concern of Ha-Meem Group, came to their factory in the morning and started the demonstration blocking the road in front of their unit at Narasinghapur.
* 100 RMG units shut in Ashulia:
Owners of at least 100export-oriented garment (RMG) factories in Ashulia on Monday keep their unitsshut for a day, sensing a labour unrest.
Ashulia, a garment industrialhub, constitutes 350 high rated export-oriented apparel units. Police saidhundreds of workers of Artistic Design, owned by FBCCI President AK Azad,located at Narsinghapur, went on a work abstention in the morning demandingsalary hike.
They started agitation in frontof the factory to press home their demands at about 9.00am. The workers took tothe streets and blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for several hours. read more.
* Ashulia garment factories suspend production as workers hit street for wage hike:
Nearly 100 garment factories in Ashulia industrial belt suspended production Monday fearing large scale violence following demonstration by thousands of apparel workers over better wages, manufacturers and police said.
Garment manufacturers being worried by the situation sat on an emergency meeting with the Labour and Employment minister at his secretariat office in the afternoon to find a way out.
In the emergency meeting, it was decided that the closed garment factories will resume production today (Tuesday) as the labour minister assured the owners of providing necessary security to the units.
The meeting also instructed law enforcers concerned to take action so that the demonstrators can not hamper production of other factories.
State minister for home affairs, BGMEA leaders, FBCCI president and garment union leaders of Ashulia were present at the meeting. read more.
* Chaos erupts in Ashulia again:
Police clashed with stone-throwing readymade garment workers demanding better wages after the protesters blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway at Narasinghapur on Tuesday.
Initial reports said scores were injured in the ensuing clashes while police charged with batons to disperse the workers.
Authorities of about 50 factories in the industrial zone kept their facilities closed fearing further violence for a second day on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s chaos followed similar clashes on Monday when the workers of Ha-Meem Group, owned by FBCCI President AK Azad, blocked the road and clashed with the security officials. About 50 people were injured on Monday.
* Bangladesh workers angry:
Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets and tear gas yesterday at tens of thousands of workers in the country’s main clothing manufacturing zone during protests over low pay, officers said.
Scores were injured in the clashes in Ashulia, the country’s garment hub where plants make apparel for foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart, Gap and H&M. to read.
* 80 wounded as RMG workers clash with cops:
At least 80 people were injured, five factories were damaged and 10 vehicles were torched as several hundred workers engaged in clashes with law enforcers in the country’s readymade garment hub at Ashulia in Savar for the consecutive second day on Tuesday for pay hike.
The trouble erupted in the morning when workers of Artistic Design Ltd, a sister concern of Hameem Group, owned by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries president AK Azad, blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway demanding salary hike.
Police charged baton when the situation worsened, with workers from the neighbouring factories joining the demonstrators at around 8:30am.
They also fired rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas shells as the workers retaliated with stones, turning the area into a battle field for three hours.
Almost half of around 350 factories of the area, on the suburb of the capital, remained closed on the day after more then 50 factories suspended their operation on Monday, the first day of the labour unrest. read more.
* Unrest spreads over Ashulia RMG belt:
The entire Ashulia industrial belt turned into a battle ground as angry workers clashed with police blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway for third straight day on Wednesday demanding pay hike.
“The situation is quite worse than the last two days and we had to shoot several hundreds of rubber bullets and teargas canisters to being the situation under control,” said Fayezul Kabir, deputy director of Industrial Police.
More than 50 people including workers and police were injured and almost all the factories in the industrial area on the capital’s outskirts have been shut as the angry workers fought pitched battles with the members of law enforcement agencies.
Witnesses said the law enforcers charged batons and lobbed several hundreds of teargas canisters to bring the situation under control.
The law enforcers had to also fire dozens of rubber bullets to disperse the agitating workers who retaliated with brickbats. read more.
* Violence in garments belt:
The garment workers again erupted into violence at the Ashulia flashpoint in Savar on Monday leading to pitched battles between police and workers and hours-long blockade on the Dhaka-Tangail highway.
In the backlash, more than a hundred garment units including the particular factory where the unrest started have suspended their production. It has made the workers’ life uncertain as well as may have cast its shadow over RMG export from an entire industrial belt.
It may be recalled here that the government, following a severe and long-drawn workers’ strike with attendant violence demanding minimum wage that about crippled the industry, had finally intervened and settled the matter three years ago.
Since all the factories of the Ashulia belt become directly affected by workers unrest starting from any single factory, the government needs to look into the matter seriously. The government should mount an investigation to find the root cause and resolve it one and for all.
Also, all other issues like the labour leader Aminul Islam’s disappearance and murder, workers’ rights and so on having a bearing on the overseas market of RMG products are clamouring for urgent attention and matching action from the government. read more.
06:48:41 local time INDIA
* 26 child labourers rescued:
Twenty-six children were rescued from garment and metal industries at Ghonda Chowk in North-East Delhi on Tuesday, the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour.
The police arrested 13 employers and sealed four establishments following a complaint filed by non government organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
Trafficked from villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the children have been working in the factories for over a year. Aged between seven and 13, they were working in deplorable conditions for about 12 hours to 14 hours a day.
Of the rescued children, 19 were involved in zari (embroidery) work and stitching of cloth, while the remaining seven were working at metal polishing units. to read.
* Efforts to eradicate child labour to continue:
Raids, rallies and pledges marked the Anti-Child Labour Day observance in Coimbatore district on Tuesday. Students took out rallies, Government officials were administered pledges, and National Child Labour Project (NCLP) officials carried out raids in industries to check for child workers.
Though the NCLP officials said employment of children in industries had declined in the district during the last few years and awareness has improved, efforts will continue to abolish child labour with focus on children working in houses as domestic help and in eateries. A raid was conducted last month and six children were rescued from textile mills, petrol bunks and a house. The textile mills are monitored regularly in the district for employment of children. Households and eateries, restaurants and hotels are also in focus now, says an official of the NCLP. read more.
* Falling cotton prices force ginners to hold stocks:
Cotton was unchanged on Monday amid below-normal demand and restricted selling by ginners.
Falling prices have restricted ginners from selling their stocks, said a cotton broker. Cotton may continue to fall this week on global cues. read more.
* Work at standstill as employees’ strike at Arvind Ltd enters 8th day:
Despite the management’s appeal to resume work, the strike of denim major Arvind Ltd’s Naroda complex here continued on the eighth day on Monday as more workers joined the stir in support of their charter of demands, including a 40% hike in wages.
Mr Yashpal Jaiswal, associated with Majur Mahajan Sangh, a leading trade union, said the management had not so far responded positively to the workers’ demands nor has it called them to the negotiating table. He also alleged that the management is dilly-dallying and “going round-and-round” without settling the issues.
According to him, all 4,000-odd employees, including temporary ones, have now joined the strike and production has come to a halt. Until Friday last, some 60% production of denim was stated to have been affected daily. (…)
It also described the strike as “illegal” and said the Ahmedabad Textile Mills Owners Association as well as the State Labour Department and Majur Mahajan Sangh were trying to work out an increase in the employees’ wages. These mills have also assured to settle the demands within six months. So, Arvind Mills could not unilaterally take a decision on the demands. read more.
* On textile subsidy cuts, govt readies WTO defence:
Indian negotiators are busy weaving their strategy ahead of the upcoming meeting of the committee on subsidies and countervailing measures (SCM) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in October.
At stake is the $77 billion textiles industry that employs 3.5 crore workers directly and about 4.7 croreindirectly.
The United States, the single largest importer of India’s textiles products, accounting for around $10 billion trade, has moved the committee against India’s policy of subsidising its textiles exports.
According to WTO’s SCM rules, a developing country like India can provide export subsidies to its exporters till the time it reaches export competitiveness threshold.
* Chennai apparel export units struggle to survive:
Rising labour and power costs, along with stiff competition from Bangladesh, is forcing garment exporting units in the southIndian city of Chennai, famous for woven menswear including the Madras Checks, to struggle for their survival.
* Need to end slavery in Indian garment and textile sector:
Over a dozen major western clothing retailers, including high-street stores Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and the supermarket Tesco, are sellingclothing made by girls in slavery in southern India, according to research launched by Anti-Slavery International.
‘Slavery on the high street’ finds five Indian clothing manufacturing companies supplying leading European and US brands, using the forced labour of young women and girls made to live in prison-like conditions in cotton spinning mills and factories around Tirupur, western Tamil Nadu.
The research is based on interviews with over 200 former workers of spinning mills and factories of five Indian clothing manufacturers: SP Apparel, Bannari Amman, SCM, Eastman and Prem Group. Export data from two Indian ports confirms dozens of major western brands purchasing garments from these companies.
06:18:41 local time PAKISTAN
* Cotton market faces dull trading session:
The Karachi cotton market witnessed a dull trading session with firm spot rate amid fine lint in focus, traders at the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) said on Monday.
The KCA kept the spot rate unchanged at Rs 5,600 per maund, floor brokers said.
Traders said spinners bought fine lint on competitive prices to meet immediate supplies of mills for their cloth making in Punjab and Sindh stations. read more.
* Child labour a complex issue looking for innovative solution:
Waqas, a vendor, has grown up in the streets and markets of Saddar in Peshawar. Sometimes you would see him sell combs and at other times sweets and balloons. His parents are so poor that he supplements the family income by working as a vender after school.
He is in 8th grade and has dreams of a bright future. Since he knows he is to excel in life on his own, he has matured faster than those who have parents to take care of their education and other expenses.
Like him, there are thousands of children, who straight away enter a life full of labour and hardships. They lose their right to education and instead of going to school for learning, streets, markets, auto-workshops and shops are their classrooms to teach them hard lessons of life. They miss out of simple joys of childhood and mature quite fast.
Underweight, malnourished and dirty-faced beautiful children sitting on footpath in Saddar market requesting you to weigh yourself on their weighing scales can be quite embarrassing for those potbellied parents, who bring their children for shopping but regrettably, who cares for these children of the poor. read more.