in the news on-line, today, 17 june 2012

20:33:27 local time map of china CHINA

*’Made in China’ gains acceptance:

Americans viewing Chinese brands more positively: survey

“Made in China” is a phrase Americans know mainly as an indicator of pervasive offshore manufacturing. But increasingly it’s being attached to products originating in China from domestic companies — and gaining acceptance in the West.

A recent survey by Li-Ning, a leading Chinese athletic footwear and apparel company, found that a growing number of consumers in the United States are willing to buy products of Chinese origin. read more.

20:33:27 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Factory output growth slows in April:

Factory output grew at a slower pace in April as manufacturers’ average capacity utilization fell slightly, according to the National Statistics Office.
Data from NSO showed that the volume of production index grew by 5.5 percent year-on-year in April, slower than the 8.9 percent growth in March.
Among the 13 major sectors that reported increases in VoPI, six major sectors significantly contributed to the growth: furniture and fixtures, publishing and printing, footwear and wearing apparel, wood and wood products, leather products, and chemical products. read more.

19:33:27 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Opportunities for garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses:

Coordination among sectors and industrial groups is a key measure to help garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses improve their chain value and competitiveness in both domestic and foreign markets.
According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)’s Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) report in 2011, Vietnam’s CIP dropped from 72nd in 2005 to 58th in 2008/2009 among 118 countries and territories. Its trade and production growth of 20-21 percent was still much higher than elsewhere in the world.
For instance, Vietnam’s exports of manufactured goods reached US$36.4 billion in 2009, double the 2005 figure of US$17.5 billion and nearly 6 times higher than the 2006 figure of US$6.7 billion. read more.

* Textile producers short of export orders for Q3:

Many local textile producers have suffered the scarcity of export contracts for the next quarter, said Dang Phuong Dung, vice chairwoman and general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).
Big garment-making enterprises have for the most parts secured orders to ship apparel products abroad, but smaller enterprises are struggling.
Nguyen An, vice chairman of Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trade JSC (Garmex Saigon), said exports to the U.S at his company in general are better than the volume bound for Europe. read more.

* Opportunities for garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses:

Coordination among sectors and industrial groups is a key measure to help garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses improve their chain value and competitiveness in both domestic and foreign markets.
According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)’s CompetitiveIndustrial Performance (CIP) report in 2011, Vietnam’s CIP dropped from 72nd in2005 to 58th in 2008/2009 among 118 countries and territories. Its trade and production growth of 20-21 percent was still much higher than elsewhere in the world.
For instance, Vietnam’s exports of manufactured goods reached US$36.4 billion in 2009, double the 2005 figure of US$17.5 billion and nearly 6 times higher than the 2006 figure of US$6.7 billion.

However, Vietnam’s share of the world market has remainedmodest compared to its neighbouring country, China while there is strongcompetition from other countries in the region.
The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) says it exports 91 percent of itsproducts to the EU, US and Japan.Vietnam is placed second andthird among footwear exporters to the EU and US markets despite fierce competition from China, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Lefaso’s Vice Chairman, Diep Thanh Kiet, says the average monthly labour cost in Vietnam is about US$180-250 per person, higher than in India (US$150-180), Bangladesh(US$80-120) and Indonesia (US$120-150) but lower than in China (US$250-300).
In addition, Vietnam has to import half of raw materials for production but China has an abundant source available.
The footwear sector also finds itself in a bind as the advantages of cheap labour cost and design expertise no longer have a magic touch. So does, the garment sector that has to import around 80-95 percent of raw materials for production.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/6. & read more.
 

* Tax relief helps 70,000 small firms:

More than 70,000 small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the capital have benefited about VND5.15 trillion (US$245.24 million) from the Government’s tax relief policy this year.
The package included the extension and reduction of land use fees and corporation income tax payments, according to the deputy director of the city’s Tax Department Thai Dung Tien.
“It will help ease the financial burden on enterprises as well as maintain and develop production to overcome tough economic times while boosting recovery of the city’s economy,” Tien said. read more.

19:33:27 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Mae Sot Factories exploiting Myanmar migrant workers:

Migrant workers of Myanmar are being exploited by factories in Mae Sot, located on the other bank of Thaungyin River near Myawaddy, which they think is a place of work for them.

In nine townships of Tak County of Thailand, including Mae Sot Township, there are 280 factories running legally or illegally. Among them, only four factories pay a daily wage of Bk 226 as fixed by the Thai government.  But the workers from other factories are being paid a daily wage of Bk 60 to 100.

“Out of these four factories, only one provides living expenses for its employees according to the directive of the Thai government. Most of the workers are being paid Bk 65 to100 a day and it is unfair to the Myanmar workers,” said Ko Htwe Naing of Yaung Chi Oo.  read more.

20:33:27 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* UK Envoy Says EU Trade Deal Will Benefit All Parties:

The implementation of an European Union free trade deal with Peru and Colombia is an important step in enhancing trade relations for the benefit of all participating nations, the British Ambassador in Lima, James Dauris, said Thursday. (…)
As for the trade balance between the two countries, he said that Peru’s goods exports to the UK were valued at nearly US$300 million last year.
“That’s an interesting figure, because almost 40 percent of the total are agricultural products, followed by textiles and fishery products. That is an interesting example of the growing diversification of the Peruvian economy,” he added. read more.

19:03:27 local time map of myanmar BURMA-MYANMAR

* Garment workers given minimum daily wage-Gov’t:

Burmese garment factory workers, following multiple labour strikes, have been designated a basic daily wage of US$ 1.25 by the government, local media reported on Wednesday.
The basic pay plus other living allowances and rewards for good performance, will go into effect starting this month, the newspaper reported.
The working hours set for the employees are 44 hours a week while overtime will be 22 hours per week.
An estimated 36,810 workers went on strike from about 57 factories, mostly in Rangoon, during May. Most strikes were settled in negotiations; other workers are still negotiating with employers.
There have been 25 labour organizations formed under the Labor Organization Law, which permits workers to form unions and go on strike over employment issues. Prior to the law, worker unions were not allowed. read more.

* ILO removes restrictions on Burma:

Most restrictions on Burma were lifted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday, making trading with European Union (EU) countries easier.
After reviewing the country’s recent steps in ending forced labour, the 101st International Labor Conference in Geneva adopted a resolution to lift all restrictions that were imposed on Burma in 1999 and 2000. read more.

18:33:27 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* No let-up in RMG workers’ protest:

20120614
Despite assurance of a hike in their salaries and allowances, garments workers fought pitched battles with law enforcers and damaged dozens of vehicles for the fourth consecutive day in the industrial belt of Ashulia on Thursday. Fearing further trouble, the authorities of more than 350 readymade garments factories located at Ashulia, Goshbagh, Jirani, Shimultola, Polashbari, Dendabar, Nabinagar, Burirbazar, Baipail, Narsinghpur, Berun, Banglabazar and Jirabo closed their factories for the day. The police used batons, lobbed teargas shells and fired rubber bullets to disperse the agitators. However, the police action sparked off violence.
Angry workers damaged vehicles and  threw brickbats and stones at law enforcers. About 100 people were injured.
Witnesses said the trouble started on Thursday when the government formed an inquiry committee, headed by local MP Talukdar Mohammad Towhid Jung Murad, to identify the mischief makers. The committee was formed at a tripartite meeting of the Labour Ministry and representatives of garments factory owners and workers.
read more.

* Protesting Dhaka garment workers ‘win pay hike’:

20120614
Bangladeshi trade unions said Thursday that garment factory owners at the country’s main export hub had agreed to hike wages after three days of violent protests by tens of thousands of workers.

Employees — who work 10-16 hours a day, six days a week, sewing clothing for top retailers such as Wal-Mart, H&M and Gap — had demanded a 50 percent pay hike and subsidised food to cope with the rising cost of living. Union leader Babul Akter said manufacturers based at the Ashulia industrial zone met union leaders Thursday afternoon and agreed to raise wages for more than 400,000 workers.

“We’re happy with the outcome. We hope the owners would implement the wage hike from the agreed date of first week of July,” Akter, head of Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, told AFP.
The president of workers’ group Jaago Bangladesh Garments Sramik Federation, Baharine Sultan, said the situation could deteriorate if the owners backed off from the agreement.

“Our workers are paid the lowest wages (for the sector) on earth. If the owners don’t implement the deal, the situation will deteriorate,” he warned.
The export of garments, which fetched $19 billion for the impoverished country last year, is the mainstay of the economy of Bangladesh, accounting for 80 percent of its total shipments. read more.

* BGMEA threatens complete shutdown by Monday:

20120614
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. 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.
 

* RMG owners divided over wage hike:

20120614
It was time for heated exchanges as raising wages of readymade garment workers was proposed at a meeting of RMG factory owners on Thursday night in a bid to contain the ongoing workers’ unrest at Ashulia in Savar.
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers Association (BKMEA) leaders organised the emergency meeting as garment workers continued with their violent protests for the fourth straight day on Thursday demanding hike in salaries.

The meeting turned chaotic when FBCCI President AK Azad, owner of Ha-Meem Group, which first saw the workers’ unrest on Monday, proposed increasing wages.
The meeting, however, ended deciding that all factories in Ashulia would be shut down if the ongoing unrest was not contained by Sunday.
In his speech to justify the salary raise, Azad said, “I think the demand of revising wages upwards is logical when house rent goes up thrice a year.” read more.

* Garment workers assured of wage hike from July:

20120615
The government has assured the garment workers of readjusting their monthly wage upward from next month following days of violent protests that have rocked the country’s major export earning sector.
The promise was made to bring normalcy in the violence-hit Ashulia apparel industrial belt where hundreds of garment factories remained shut for the last four days due to labour unrest.
Tens of thousands of workers have been demonstrating in the country’s highly sensitive apparel industrial zone, demanding a sharp increase in their wages to cope with the spiralling prices of essential commodities.

Meanwhile garment manufacturers have threatened of suspending production at factories in Ashulia for an indefinite period from Sunday if the ongoing violence continues today (Friday).
The decision was taken at a meeting with apparel owners at headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Thursday.
BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told the reporters after the meeting that they will reopen the factories, which were shut due to the violence for the last four days, today.

“We will go for shutting the units for an indefinite period from Sunday if the violent protest continues Friday (today),” he said, adding that most of the manufacturers want to close the factories there on security ground. read more.

* Garment exporters threaten shutdown:

20120615
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.
“A national and international evil power wants to destroy the industry and the government and exporters know who instigated the general workers to do vandalism,” Mohiuddin told the briefing at the BGMEA office in the capital.
read more.

* Unrest breaks out after brief lull:

20120616
Workers’ unrest flared up in the garment belts of Ashulia and Narayanganj on Saturday breaking a day’s lull halting production and disrupting traffic on highways.
Around 250 people were injured in sporadic clashes with law enforcers at Ashulia as several thousand garment workers blocked Dhaka-Tangail and Nabinagar-Kaliakair roads for over three hours from 8:30 in the morning after finding no notices on wage hike at the factory gates as promised, according to witnesses and workers.
At least 30 workers of Sinha and Opex groups’ factories were injured in clashes with police at Kanchpur in Narayanganj.
Owners shut down over 300 factories in the industrial area of Ashulia without announcing pay hike for workers as promised, police and workers confirmed.
Workers’ protests resumed amid threats by the garment owners to shut down their factories for an indefinite period if the violence continued. read more.

* Violence, again:

20120617
After a quiet Friday, the garment factory zone of Ashulia yesterday erupted in violence again as thousands of workers demanding pay hike clashed sporadically with law enforcers.
The entire industrial area turned into a battlefield since 8:00am leaving around 100 people, including 10 policemen, injured during the four-hour-long clash. Police fired rubber bullets, used teargas, water cannons of riot trucks and charged truncheons to disperse the agitating workers.
Traffic movement on Dhaka-Tangail highway and Ashulia-Baipail road had been suspended during that time as the workers set up barricades. They also vandalised at least 25 vehicles and several factories.

Meanwhile, workers of Sinha Garments at Kanchpur of Narayanganj staged demonstrations demanding pay hike and clashed with police which left over 50 people, including seven policemen, wounded. Vehicular movement on Dhaka-Sylhet highway had to be suspended for about five hours.
Even though Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Thursday threatened to close all factories in Ashulia in the event of violence continuing, workers of several factories began to demonstrate at Zirabo of Ashulia around 8:00am yesterday. Their movement for pay hike had begun on Monday.
read more.

* Shutdown at Ashulia:

20120617
Garment factories in Ashulia will remain closed for an indefinite period from today due to the ongoing labour unrest there, owners announced yesterday.
The leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, two apex platforms of the garment sector, jointly took the decision at a meeting at the BGMEA office in the capital.
After the meeting, BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told a press briefing that they had decided to keep closed more than 300 factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, due to the labour unrest. read more. & read more.
 

* Textile millers ask for zero export tax:

Textile millers yesterday urged the government to withdraw tax at source on exports of all products.
The demand comes on the back of deteriorating figures of country’s garment exports over the past several months due to global economic crisis.
“This is not the right time to increase the tax at source of exportable products, which will only put a liquidity pressure on export-oriented enterprises. We actually do not want any tax on exports,” said Jahangir Alamin, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), at a press conference on the proposed budget for 2012-13.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed raising tax at source to 1.2 percent from the 0.5 percent currently enjoyed by the garments sector. read more.

18:03:27 local time map of india INDIA

* Sellur handloom workers end strike:

The clanking of handlooms reverberated in the air of Sellur in Madurai on Saturday, as agitating workers withdrew their fortnight long strike demanding a pay hike.

After several rounds of talks held by officials of the labour department, the handloom owners agreed for an 18% increase in pay for the 1,000 odd workers. “The handloom unit owners have agreed for an 18% hike from the present salaries for the workers, including dyeing workers, designers and labourers in other respects,” said M Radhakrishnan, joint commissioner of the labour department who held the talks. The imbroglio was broken after several rounds of talks with the owners and the striking workers that lasted more than a week. read more.

* 4% fall in exports adds to India’s economic woes:

Adding woes to the already sluggish economy, India’s exports declined by 4.16 per cent to US$25.68 billion in May due to unabated slump in global demand and slowdown in domestic industrial growth.
Imports dropped by a sharper pace of 7.36 per cent to $41.9 billion, signalling weakening of the economy especially with regard to fresh investments as inward shipments of plant and machinery fell by eight per cent, according to provisional data released yesterday.(…)
Decline in exports in May were particularly witnessed in top exporting commodities such as petroleum products (-26.07 per cent), engineering goods (-15.67 per cent), gems and jewellery (-9 per cent) and readymade garments (-15.82 per cent).
read more.

* Loan restructuring scheme to benefit Surat’s textile units:

There is good news for small and medium textile units in the country’s biggest man-made fibre (MMF) industry, which are unable to repay bank loans due to their financial weak condition. Central government has approved restructuring of loans on a case-by-case basis of textile industry by sending the proposal to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on June 4.

Industry sources said there are over 450 such cases in Surat and its surrounding area and they will benefit under the loan restructuring scheme of Central government. These units will also be eligible for subsidy and other benefits under the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) scheme for modernization and upgradation.
read more.

* Not sitting idle, but working to revive growth- Pranab:

The Government is not sitting idle but taking steps to re-ignite growth and contain subsidies, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, has said.
In the face of slow GDP growth, inflationary pressures and twin deficits — fiscal and current account — the Centre’s strategy is to stimulate domestic demand, try to bring down subsidies on petroleum products, and improve supply-side response to tackle food inflation.
Referring to the negative sentiment in respect of investments, Mr Mukherjee, who was speaking at an Assocham seminar here on Saturday, said: “As Finance Minister, I cannot be removed from ground realties. I cannot dismiss the concerns expressed by the captains of industry and international credit rating agencies…We have taken note of their concerns and have tried to find out what needs to be done.”
To overcome the slowdown in growth, Mr Mukherjee said the basic strategy will be to stimulate domestic demand as India is a vast country with a huge population. Demand for various consumer goods and consumables is high.

Keeping this approach in view, the Minister elaborated that the Centre had structured a financial package for the textiles industry, come up with new manufacturing policy, and got banks to provide services in about 74,000 villages with a population of over 2000. read more.

17:33:27 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Cotton market continues to witness bearish trend:

Fine lint remained in focus with dull trading activity amid firm spot rate, traders at the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) said on Thursday.
The KCA kept the spot rate unchanged at Rs 5,700 per maund, floor brokers said.
Traders said trading remained dull due to paucity of fine lint besides liquidity crunch being faced by the majority of buyers in Sindh and Punjab stations.
Trading activity at Punjab stations was below normal on account of shrinking fine stocks besides dull response of buyers from Sindh stations, they added. read more.

* PRGMEA seeks early implementation of EU proposal:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has sought early implementation of the Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATP), proposed by the EU Council to aid the Pakistani economy, which was badly hit by 2010’s massive floods.
 In this regard, the Association has welcomed the efforts put in by the country’s Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, who raised the issue of early implementation of the ATP during their meeting with the EU delegation.
 PRGMEA South Zone Chairman Atiq A Kochra said the news regarding possibilities of early implementation of the ATP has given new hope to the ailing textile industry of Pakistan, as it is expected to generate newer business and employment opportunities in the sector.
 He said such a step is expected to clear the way for the European Union conferring Pakistan with the GSP+ status. It will also help Pakistan to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. read more.

* Higher wage secured for Pakistani carpet workers:

The Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industries Pakistan has secured unprecedented wage increases for carpet workers in Lahore. The union led by its General Secretary Niaz Khan launched an all out strike demanding wage increases on March 12th. The move was part of the union’s living wage campaign which it formally launched at the beginning of 2012.
The union, which was formed on the back of a demand for higher wages in 1993, has a strong track record in coordinated high profile and successful strike action over the last 15 years. read more.

 

* Better Work has just published a new Discussion Paper:

Better Work has just published a new Discussion Paper (No 7) on “Corporate Social Responsibility and the Worker Stakeholder: Lesotho Clothing Workers’ Perceptions of What Makes Better Work”. Authors Kelly I. Pike and Shane Godfrey explore key concerns of workers, including OSH and supervisor relationships, as well as the influence of factory ownership and how training–especially Better Work training–can make work better. Read the full paper on our website at http://bit.ly/LYQ7cU

map of Asia

CHINA
*’Made in China’ gains acceptance

PHILIPPINES
* Factory output growth slows in April

VIET NAM
* Opportunities for garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses
* Textile producers short of export orders for Q3
* Opportunities for garment, footwear and wood furniture businesses
* Tax relief helps 70,000 small firms

THAILAND
* Mae Sot Factories exploiting Myanmar migrant worker

MALAYSIA
* UK Envoy Says EU Trade Deal Will Benefit All Parties

BURMA-MYANMAR
* Garment workers given minimum daily wage-Gov’t
* ILO removes restrictions on Burma

BANGLA DESH
* No let-up in RMG workers’ protest
* Protesting Dhaka garment workers ‘win pay hike’
* BGMEA threatens complete shutdown by Monday
* RMG owners divided over wage hike
* Garment workers assured of wage hike from July
* Garment exporters threaten shutdown
* Unrest breaks out after brief lull
* Violence, again
* Shutdown at Ashulia
* Textile millers ask for zero export tax

INDIA
* Sellur handloom workers end strike
* 4% fall in exports adds to India’s economic woes
* Loan restructuring scheme to benefit Surat’s textile units
* Not sitting idle, but working to revive growth

PAKISTAN
* Cotton market continues to witness bearish trend
* PRGMEA seeks early implementation of EU proposal
* Higher wage secured for Pakistani carpet workers

* Better Work has just published a new Discussion Paper

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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