00:12:52 local time CHINA
* Employers need to do more to prevent harassment:
More legislative effort and concrete measures from employers are needed to help prevent and deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, experts have suggested.
Revised provisions that took effect in April have ordered employers to protect female members of staff from sexual harassment.
“The new clause added in the regulation might not be the best legislative means because it lacks detail and could not protect male workers from sexual harassment,” said Liu Minghui, a law professor at China Women’s University.
Current laws forbid sexual harassment of women and say victims have rights to report to employers and sue related departments, but the laws do not give a definition of sexual harassment.
Liu suggests the Supreme People’s Court add a judicial interpretation of sexual harassment. read more.
* Orders for wedding, evening dresses pile on despite economic woes:
Although the global economy remains bearish, demand for wedding and evening dresses is still bullish.
This is evident from the exports of these garments from Chaozhou.
The city, in southern China’s Guangdong province, is a leading global supplier of wedding and evening dresses.
Chaozhou’s garment and textile exports totalled US$367 million last year, up 24 percent year-on-year. Exports in the first quarter of this year were worth $76.6 million, up 5.9 per cent on the same period last year, according to the city’s foreign trade and economic cooperation bureau.
Wedding and evening dresses account for a whopping 80 per cent of this trade, with the city being responsible for around half of China’s exports of these garments.
23:12:52 local time VIET NAM
* BetterWork Viet Nam Newsletter May-August 2012:
In This Issue:
• Lessons on Chemical Labeling p2
• Garment Worker’s Perceptions of Working Conditions p3
• Vietnam and Regional Local Buyers’ Forum p3
• Compliance Trends Remain p4
• New Improved Advisory Model p5
• Listening to Workers p6
read more & download.
23:12:52 local time LAOS
* Laos partners with ILO to combat child labour:
Laos is one of many countries in the world where large numbers of children are engaged in some form of work, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reported at a meeting in Vientiane that opened on Wednesday.
The meeting took place on June 13-14 for the soft launch of the National Child Labour Survey and consultation on the draft National Plan of Action on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Laos.
“Many children in Laos are employed, because more than 50 percent of the population is under the age of 20,” National Coordinator in Laos Ms Khemphone Phaokhamkeo told the meeting.
She explained that Laos has widespread poverty, and many children do not go to school. read more.
* Officials to inspect factories on minimum wage compliance:
A senior government official has announced plans to inspect garment factories tomorrow, after learning that many have failed to comply with the government’s stated increase to the minimum wage.
Director General of the Labour Management Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Khamkhane Phinsavanh, told the Vientiane Times on Monday he has learned of some workers resigning because their pay was inadequate in light of higher living costs.
The government’s announced rise in the minimum wage was intended to overcome this, but if employers fail to comply, the economic pressure on employees can become impossible to bear. Garment factories appear to be the worst offenders.
23:12:52 local time THAILAND
* TCC study finds little pay-off from wage hike:
The higher minimum daily wage of Bt300 in seven provinces during the past two months has only boosted gross domestic product by 0.5-0.7 percentage point, lower than the government’s projection of 1-1.4 percentage points, says the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Moreover, more than 94 per cent of enterprises have not yet received any assistance from the government, which the TCC – which has consistently opposed higher labour wages – claims could lead to layoffs, relocation of businesses, and shutdowns in the near future.
“Instead of boosting economic growth, the government’s measure to raise wages has caused slower consumption, since labourers are worried about their future employment after their employers have faced financial difficulty because of higher wage payments,” TCC vice chairman Bhumindr Harinsult said yesterday. read more.
* Thailand textile dyeing units to reduce wastewater:
23:12:52 local time CAMBODIA
* Witness duo no-show amid safety concerns:
Two witnesses to the Bavet town factory shooting in February failed to show up at Svay Rieng Provincial Court yesterday despite being summoned by an investigating judge, with one citing fears for his safety.
Sok Vuthy, a 28 year-old worker, told the Post yesterday that he did not obey the court summons from investigating judge Pech Chhoeut because his family had forbidden him for fear it would put his life in danger.
“My father, mother and all my relatives did not allow me to go to the court. I wanted to help my friends [the victims], but I could not go against my family,” he said.
The fact that suspected shooter Chhouk Bandith is still on the loose was Sok Vuthy’s main cause for concern, he said, adding he that feared any testimony he gave might provoke an act of retribution.
On February 20, about 6,000 workers at the Kaoway Sports factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town were protesting poor working conditions when the sound of gunshots was heard and three female workers sustained bullet wounds. read more.
* Cambodia exports garment up 13 pct in first 4 months:
Cambodia exported garment and textile products in equivalent to 1.39 billion U.S. dollars in the first four of 2012, up 13 percent from 1.23 billion U.S. dollars at the same period in a year earlier, the reports of the Commerce Ministry showed on Wednesday.
The United States and European countries are the main buyers, and other clients are Canada, Japan, South Korea, China and some other Asian countries.
Garment industry is the country’s largest income maker. The sector consists of more than 300 factories, employing some 335,400 workers–91 percent of them are female, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Last year, the sector had exported products in equivalent to 4. 24 billion U.S. dollars, up 25 percent from a year earlier. to read.
00:12:52 local time MALAYSIA
* Raising retirement age has positive impact on economy:
The plan to raise the retirement age of private sector employees to 60 is expected to have a positive impact on the country’s economic growth, says Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.
Lim said the plan was also in line with the improved quality of life as the country’s better healthcare system has resulted in a longer life expectancy.
“Hence, they can positively contribute to the country as their expertise can help boost the productivity,” he told a media briefing after the launch of the Golden Bull Award 2012 here today. read more.
* PKKM Targets RM650,000 In Sales During Kraf Malaysia Campaign Sabah Level:
The Sabah Branch of Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (MHDC) is aiming to achieve sales worth RM650,000 during the MHDC’s seventh state level promotional campaign to be held at Lintasan Deasoka here for 10 days, beginning this June 22.
Director of MHDC Sabah Branch, Mohd Latif Dirun, said the projection was based on the highly encouraging response seen during last year’s event where sales amounted to RM616,000. read more.
22:42:52 local time BURMA-MYANMAR
* Myanmar must show it is pro-foreign investment: ESM Goh:
aypyidaw, Myanmar: Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday said the government of Myanmar needs to show that the country is pro-foreign investment, with clear investment laws and policies.
Mr Goh, who is leading a delegation to Myanmar to strengthen cooperation, made these points to the media after he met Myanmar’s President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw.
ESM Goh told reporters that there were many opportunities in Myanmar.
“Our (Singapore’s) business people must come over here, assess for themselves the political risks … the economic risks of investing over here … (and) the state of (Myanmar) labour,” he said. (….)
He also said Myanmar is keen to draw investments to labour-intensive industries, such as garments and electronics. read more…
* ILO Votes to Re-admit Burma:
Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be a guest of honor on Thursday at the annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, one day after the UN agency voted in favor of restoring full membership rights to Burma.
However, forced labor is still a long way from being eradicated in the country and workers’ rights have yet to permeate to the factory floor and farm fields, the ILO admits. read more.
22:12:52 local time BANGLA DESH
* Ashulia industrial zone now battlefield:
The readymade garment belt at Ashulia turned into a battleground yesterday, as several thousand apparel workers clashed with police for a third straight day, with production remaining suspended in more than 300 factories.
At least 100 people, including 10 policemen, were injured in the four-hour sporadic clashes while the agitating workers ransacked around 20 factories and vandalised some 100 vehicles, police and witnesses said.
The clash erupted around 8:30am when the police charged baton to disperse the agitators, who took to the streets demanding a pay hike and also protesting the police action on some fellow workers on Tuesday night.
The demonstrators put blockades on Dhaka-Tangail highway at Narasinghapur, halting traffic for about four hours since 8:00am causing immense sufferings to commuters.
It all began on Monday when about 4,500 workers of Artistic Design Ltd, a packaging factory of Ha-Meem Group owned by FBCCI President AK Azad, took to the streets around 9:00am demanding a raise in their wages. read more.
Garment workers halt a police vehicle as they demonstrate for the third consecutive day, demanding a hike in wages, in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital yesterday. Photo: Palash Khan
* RMG unrest fans out in Ashulia:
Over 100 people were injured in sporadic clashes between garment workers and police as RMG unrest spread in the entire Ashulia industrial belt on Wednesday, reports UNB.
The angry garment workers who were demonstrating demanding a hike in their wages clashed with the law enforcers for the third day on the trot today. Locals said the workers of ADL Garments and Artistic Design of Hameem Group owned by FBCCI president AK Azad staged demonstration on Monday and Tuesday to realise their demand.
But today, the workers of about 200 garment factories of the area joined them. They took the street and put barricades on different points on Abdullahpur-EPZ road in the morning. read more.
* RMG unrest spreads in entire Ashulia industrial belt:
Over 100 people were injured in sporadic clashes between garment workers and police as RMG unrest spread in the entire Ashulia industrial belt on Wednesday.
The angry garment workers who were demonstrating demanding a hike in their wages clashed with the law enforcers for the third day on the trot on Wednesday.
Locals said the workers of ADL Garments and Artistic Design of Hameem Group owned by FBCCI president AK Azad staged demonstration on Monday and Tuesday to realise their demand. But the workers of about 200 garment factories of the area joined them. They took the street and put barricades on different points on Abdullahpur-EPZ road in the morning. read more.
* Body formed to probe RMG sector unrest:
The government on Wednesday formed a body to investigate the reason behind the latest unrest in thegarments sector.
Talukder Md Thowhid Murad Jung MPhas been made the chief of the body.
The committee comprises representatives from the home ministry, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers andExporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and ExportersAssociation (BKMEA) and workers.
The decision came at a tripartite meeting with the labour leaders, garments owners and the government.
The meeting was held in theSecretariat yesterday with Labour Minister Engr Khondoker MosarrafHossain. to read.
* Ashulia turns into battlefield again- 300 garment factories shut:
Ashulia Industrial belt, on the outskirts of the capital, turned into a battlefield for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as the angry workers were locked in pitched battles with law enforcers blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway to press home their demand for pay hike. All kinds of vehicular movement remained suspended on the busy highway for about four hours causing enormous suffering for homebound passengers especially women and children’s. The law enforcers indiscriminately charged batons, teargas canisters, rubber bullets and water canon to disperse the agitators but police attack sparked off violence as the angry workers started to damage the vehicles and countered the assault pelting brickbats and stones on law enforcers leaving 100 people injured.
Sensing trouble, the authorities of more than 300 of the readymade garments factories located at Ashulia, Goshbagh, Jirani, Shimultola, Polashbari, Dendabar, Burirbazar, Baipail, Narsinghpur, Berun, Banglabazar and Jirabo announced their factories closed on Wednesday. read more.
* No letup in Ashulia RMG violence:
Despite the Labour Minister’s call to them to get back to work without fear, garment workers continued their protest in Ashulia industrial zone for the fourth consecutive on Thursday.
Witnesses said at least 20 people were injured as the unruly garment workers demonstrating demanding a hike in their wages locked in sporadic clashes with the law enforcers.
Several thousand workers have been staging demonstrations blocking the Dhaka-Tangail Highway and Ashulia Bypile Road since Thursday morning, disrupting traffic in the areas.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Labour and Employment Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain called upon the workers to return to their workplaces without fear.
The minister made the call after a marathon meeting with leaders of different garment workers federations and law enforcers. The meeting also decided to remain open all the garment factories in the violence-hit Ashulia from today. to read.
* RMG factories in Ashulia remains open from Thursday:
Labour and Employment Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on Wednesday said all the garment factories in the violence-hit Ashulia will remain open from Thursday.
“All the garment factories in Ashulia will remain open from tomorrow. I call upon the workers to get back to work without fear,” he said after a marathon meeting with leaders of different garment workers federations and law enforcers.
He said leaders of workers federations and the crisis management committee, led by its chief Talukder Mohammad Towhid Jang, MP, will sit in a meeting soon to identify the problems of the workers and the reasons behind the growing unrest in the area. read more.
* Fresh violence rocks Ashulia:
Readymade garment workers continued their protest in Ashulia industrial zone for a fourth day on Thursday despite government efforts to quell days of demonstration.
Local sources said the workers repeatedly clashed with the law enforcers after they blockaded the Dhaka-Tangail since 8pm and Kaliakoir-Nabinagar road after 1:30am.
Witness said the demonstrators vandalised more than 150 vehicles. Police had fired rubber bullets and tear gas in the morning but failed to ease the deteriorating situation, forcing the authorities of the 350 factories at Ashulia to declare leave for the rest of the day. read more.
* Workers promised owners will hike pay:
State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku on Thursday urged the enraged readymade garments workers in Ashulia to ‘calm down’ and go back to work after giving assurance that he will talk to the owners to meet their demand to raise wages and facilities.
He made the appeal after a meeting with the owners and representatives of the garment workers, who are protesting for the last four days. Local MP Talukdar Mohammad Towhid Jung Murad was with him.
Ha-Meem Group owner and FBCCI President AK Azad also promised in the meeting that pay and perks of the workers in his factory will be adjusted upward by this month.(…)
“I am here on the orders from the Prime Minister. I also talked with the local MP, representatives of the workers, different organisation leaders and workers.”
* BGMEA threatens shutdown:
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Thursday threatened to shut all readymade garment factories at Ashulia in Savar if the ongoing workers’ unrest is not contained by Sunday, reports bdnews24.com.
Garment workers at Ashulia have been demonstrating since Monday demanding a raise in their salaries and other benefits.
On Thursday, the fourth successive day of demonstrations, about 100 workers were injured and over 100 vehicles were vandalised on Dhaka-Tangail and Nabinagar-Kaliakoir highways in clashes with law-enforcers.
BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin informed journalists of the decision after attending a meeting of the leaders of BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in the evening.
“We will observe the situation on Sunday. If the situation continues like this even on Monday, all factories at Ashulia will be shut down,” said Shafiul.
read more. & read more.
* Azad: RMG workers deserve pay hike:
The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce Industry (FBCCI) yesterday hinted that garment workers deserve a pay hike against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents.
“House rents increased three times in Ashulia; non-food inflation marked a rise. So I have decided to hike salary for my workers from June instead of November,” said Azad, also the owner of Ha-Meem Group, a leading player in the sector.
But Azad came under fire from other garment makers due to his decision of increasing salary of his workers.
“It was my personal decision,” he defended himself.
Azad spoke at a hurriedly-called press conference by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in Dhaka.
The garment makers met as thousands of workers continued violence for the fourth day in the industrial belt of Ashulia yesterday, demanding a pay hike in a series of street protests that halted production in around 300 factories. read more.
* Garment exporters threaten shutdown:
Garment owners have threatened to shut down their factories for an indefinite period from Sunday if workers continued their violent protests, suspending production in the readymade garment belt at Ashulia.
“We’ll close all our units first at Ashulia and gradually across the country if the violence continues,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said at a press briefing yesterday.
He urged the government to take action against the workers who vandalised factories and blocked the roads in the industrial zone for the fourth straight day yesterday. read more.
* BGMEA threatens to shut Ashulia factories from Monday:
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Thursday threatened to shut their factories for an indefinite period at Ashulia in Savar if the workers’ unrest did not stop by Sunday.
The apex body of apparel manufacturers and exporters issued the threat after a joint meeting of the representatives of BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear
Manufacturers and Exporters Association at BGMEA Bhaban.
‘We have decided to keep our factories open next Saturday and Sunday. If production in the factories is disrupted or any violence takes place by that time, we will close our factories at Ashulia for an indefinite period under clause 13 (ka) of the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006,’ said BGMEA president Mohammad Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin.
The clause 13(ka) says, ‘An owner as per the Labour Law of 2006 can shut down any of his industrial units partially or fully for any ‘illegal strike’ and the workers participating in the strike in such a situation would not get any wages.’ read more.
* Workers’ unrest rages on:
Readymade garment factory workers continued demonstrations in Ashulia industrial zone for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, halting production in all the factories in the area.
At least 200 people including police and journalists were injured, 20 vehicles were vandalized and a microbus of Masranga Television was burnt.
The clash and counter-clash between workers and police, which began at 8:30am, disrupted traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail and Nabinagar-Kaliakaur roads for about four hours. read more.
21:42:52 local time INDIA
* Who is a child?:
With different Indian laws defining the age of ‘a child’ differently, the fight against child labour remains blunted
Ten years ago, in 2002, the International Labour Organisation launched the first World Day against Child Labour observed on June 12 every year. Earlier, in 1992, India became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Encouraging as these two watershed events in ensuring universal child rights may sound, the very definition of the word ‘child’ according to Indian laws remains ambiguous. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years. In India, different laws define the words ‘child’ and ‘minor’ differently. read more.
* India may overshadow China as labour source- Report:
Over the next two decades, China will be eclipsed as the world’s major source of low cost labour by India and “young developing” economies of South Asia and Africa.
In other words, nearly 60 per cent of the 600 million net additions to the global labour force from 2010 to 2030 will occur in India, South Asia and Africa. This will bring the total global labour force to 3.5 billion in 2030, says a McKinsey Global Institute report “The world at work: Jobs, pay, and skills for 3.5 billion people.” read more.
* Fashion forward:
Not so long ago, trying on outfits – one after another – for ‘that’ perfect fit, was sheer joy for the fashion-conscious consumer. Then suddenly, with rising traffic and choked roads, mall hopping was not fun anymore. As shoppers looked around for alternatives, they discovered cool couture and prêt just a click away.
E-retailing has evolved in the last few years with more categories, beyond books, flowers and electronics, finding takers. Sensing an opportunity, fashion retailers took the plunge. And it seems to be paying off today. read more.
* Loans to textile sector may turn NPA:
Bankers in the district are eagerly awaiting the Reserve Bank of India’s nod to implement the Union Government’s recent approval for debt restructuring in textile sector, as keenly or more than the debt-ridden textile entrepreneurs themselves.
If the green signal to carry out the debt restructuring do not come immediately, loans to the tune of around Rs. 500 crore obtained by textile sector in the district can turn into NPA (non-performing assets) before June-end itself affecting the overall performance ratings of the banks considerably.
“At present, total loan outstanding in textile sector in the district is around Rs. 3,000 crore,” Lead District Manager R. Rajagopal told The Hindu . read more.
(1 Indian crore = 10 million)
* Sewing up a new life:
Society The city boutiques take pride in beautiful embroidered couture made by skilled migrant workers. SHILPA NAIR ANAND meets the workers at their units and finds them happy in their home away from home
Sheikh Anarul, from Kolkata, came to the city to see the place. And it wasn’t Kerala’s tourism promotion campaign that brought him here. This is the first time the 42-year-old has travelled outside Kolkata. But, he says, it is good that he decided to come. “ Yahan pe ‘setting’ ho gaya hai. Hum khush hai, ” (I’m happy here) he says in heavily accented Hindi. ‘Setting’, for Sheikh means the whole package inclusive of job and monetary satisfaction.
Sheikh is not your average tourist. He is a master cutter with a designer label in the city. He belongs to that burgeoning category of skilled labourers who have made the city their workplace. It turns out that many designers and boutiques depend on people such as Sheikh. read more.
A stitch in timeSeveral embroidery and tailoring units in the city employ workers from other states. Above, embroiderers and tailors from West Bengalat work in some of the design unitsPhoto: Thulasi Kakkat
* Indian Minister moots govt study on Bt cotton:
Stating that Bt cotton has brought about a “structural transformation” in Indian farming, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh floate a proposal for carrying out a Government study to ascertain if genetically modified crops are a sustainable alternative.
Addressing a National Conference on 10 years of Bt Cotton in India, the Minister said that more than 95 percent of the farmers in different cotton cultivating states in the country have gradually shifted to Bt cotton.
He added that such a massive shift to Bt cotton would not have been possible, unless the farmers got increased returns. read more.
* Revival package to boost India’s handloom sector:
The Government sponsored “Revival, Reform & Restructuring of the Handloom Sector” scheme is set to boost the ailing handloom secor in India.
“The basic purpose of the package is revival of the handloom sector in the country and declogging the chocked lines of bank credit to viable/potentially viable weaver’s cooperative societies (WCS) and to the individual weavers,” Mr. P Mohanaiah, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Andhra Pradesh Regional Office, Hyderabad, told fibre2fashion. read more.
* Kerala handloom products to get regional branding:
Indian Institute of Handloom technology (IIHT) -Kannur, an autonomous institution run by the Government of Kerala for popularization of handloom products, is implementing a project on “Development of Regional Brand in Handloom Industry (DRBHI)”. read more.
21:42:52 local time SRI LANKA
* Lanka’s labour rights significantly improve, says US official:
Michael Delaney, Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Areas Affairs, yesterday (14) told journalists in Colombo that significant progress has been made to improve labour rights in the country.
Labour unions here and in the US have petitioned the government to withdraw GSP concessions to Sri Lanka based on rampant violations to labour rights. read more.
21:12:52 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile exports down by 9.8 percent in 4 months:
Pakistan’s textile sector is suffering tremendously due to imposition of new taxes, old taxes and higher mark-up rate as compared with its regional peers.
Exporters said utilities are never a tool for revenue generation. Utilities are essential commodities and lifeline for citizens in general and industry in particular.
Value-added textile exports of Pakistan have gone down by 9.8 percent in last four months (February to May) whereas exports of competitors like India have gone up by 23.87 percent, Bangladesh 7.86 percent and China 2.05 percent.
Talking to Daily Times, Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) Chairman Jawed Bilwani on Wednesday said the growth in our exports has declined considerably in comparison to Bangladesh, India and China on back of multiple reasons. read more.
* PRGMEA for early implementation of ATP:
Pakistan Ready-made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has hailed the efforts of the foreign minister and the prime minister for taking up the issue of early implementation of the Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATP) proposed by the European Union (EU) Council to help Pakistani economy devastated by floods with the EU delegation. read more.
* Pakistan textile sector fears further decline in exports:
Textile exports from Pakistan have plummeted by US$ 1.3 billion over the last seven months and they would fall further by US 2 billion by end of the current fiscal, if the Government fails to sanction the proposed sum of Pk Rs. 30 billion for local duty drawback in the Budget, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has said.