17:05:50 local time CHINA
* Welfare hike needed right now- Union leader:
Chief Executive-Elect Leung Chun-ying should hand out immediate increases in welfare benefits when he takes office in July, and not wait until he gives his first Policy Address in October, says the Honorary President of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU).
In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Cheng Yiu-tong said immediate implementation of improvements in social welfare benefits will not only help the genuinely needy but will raise Leung’s popularity during the early days of his tenure.
Cheng cited a couple of examples, such as increasing the Old Age Allowance and allowing applications on individual or family basis for the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme. read more.
17:05:50 local time PHILIPPINES
* PH factory output on an upward trend:
PHILIPPINE factory output in April 2012, as measured by volume of production index (VoPi), continued to accelerate, recording an annual increment of 5.5 percent, according to the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Friday.
The MISSI said that among the 13 major sectors, six major sectors significantly contributed to the growth such as furniture and fixtures; publishing and printing; footwear and wearing apparel; wood and wood products; leather products; and chemical products. read more.
16:05:50 local time VIET NAM
* TPP may attract more foreign investment projects in textiles and dyeing:
A new wave of foreign investments in spinning, weaving and dyeing sectors has been kicked off, since investors can see the profits they can gain from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), according to the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association (VCSA).
Foreign investors are considering pouring money into the textile and dyeing projects, while keeping a close watch over the TPP negotiation process.
In fact, experts have warned about the challenges Vietnam has to face when negotiating the issues relating to the textile and garment sector. Especially, the US side may put forward the principle of product origin, which is believed to put big difficulties for Vietnam.
Nevertheless, experts say that if the involved parties can harmonize their benefits through negotiations, TPP agreement would bring big opportunities to many Vietnamese sectors which Vietnam has big advantages. Especially, big opportunities would be opened in the spinning, weaving and dyeing: TPP would not only help boost exports, tax reductions, but also create a firm driving force for the investment and development. read more.
16:05:50 local time THAILAND
* Labourers urged to get political:
Activists have urged labourers across the nation to pay more attention to politics to empower themselves with knowledge if their MPs don’t respond to their demands.
16:05:50 local time CAMBODIA
* H&L Apparel workers to return:
Striking employees at the capital’s H&L Apparel (Cambodia) factory will return to work tomorrow after the company agreed to their demands on Saturday, but views differ on whether three unionists who lost their jobs will be reinstated.
Sam Seng Van, the factory’s chief representative of the Cambodian Federation of Labour Unions, said he and two others, Va Kanha and Lin Kea, had been forced to resign last Monday for forming a union, an incident that prompted more than 100 workers to strike.
The factory, however, has now agreed to the workers’ demands, which includes giving the three their jobs back, Sam Seng Van said.
“The company accepted our demands and allowed us back to work, but they suggested [the workers] find new union representatives,” he said. read more.
* Cambodia benefits from rivalry in the region:
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong led an official delegation to Washington on June 12 for talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other US officials. The one-day visit preceded a key Asian regional security meeting set to take place in Cambodia in July.
Cambodia, which has made substantial gains in political stability during the past decade, is steadily making an economic recovery by focusing on low value-added exports. Cambodia’s small yet growing economy and its strategic location on the Gulf of Thailand make it the object of a quiet struggle between the United States and China, as well as a destination for investment from other countries in the region. As foreign powers vie for influence and investment opportunities in Cambodia, the country and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government stand to benefit.
After almost three decades of unrest and violence, Cambodia has found an unprecedented sense of political stability under Hun Sen’s government. The prime minister’s Cambodian People’s Party has gradually solidified its grip on power since its victory in the country’s 1998 National Assembly elections, and Hun Sen has deftly managed both international pressures and domestic opposition.
But the previous instability severely set back Cambodia’s economic development. Today the country still lacks the human capital and the physical infrastructure to make Cambodia a high value-added export economy. Thus, Hun Sen’s government has set out to attract foreign investment through economic reforms, with the aim of exploiting Cambodia’s location and cheap labor to gradually build up its competitiveness and profit from an export-oriented model that caters to global markets.read more.
15:35:50 local time BURMA-MYANMAR
* Local garment industry demands more foreign investment:
Foreign entrepreneurs are still studying local garment business to pour investment into Myanmar, but considerable foreign investment has not been witnessed in the country so far, according to the source of Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs Association.
“Foreign companies are visiting Myanmar to discuss the investment to be made in local garment business since the start of this year. The number of foreign entrepreneurs is the most in February and March. The foreign entrepreneurs are more interested in making discussion on business matching rather than the investment and have not made any investment yet in Myanmar. Moreover, Foreign Investment Law has not been finished drafting,” said a responsible person of Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs Association.
Foreign entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Vietnam visiting Myanmar are the most. Those from Germany, the USA and India are a few. Some are from Korea and Japan having bigger share of the local market, it was learnt. read more.
15:05:50 local time BANGLA DESH
* Textile mills oppose tax at source:
The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) has opposed tax at source for primary textile mills. Rather, the Association has proposed levying15 per cent tax on their total revenue earnings. As the primary textile sector is not hundred per cent export oriented, imposing tax at source will not be logical, they argued.
They also urged the government to continue earlier system of taking 15 per cent tax on total income after examination.
The BTMA leaders also demanded withdrawal of VAT on export incentive and sought duty free import of generator equipment. The BTMA leaders were addressing a press conference at its office in the city on Saturday to convey their reactions about the incoming national budget.
BTMA president Jahangir Alamin, secretary general Feroz Ahmed and director Jamal Uddin were present in the conference. read more.
* BTMA demands withdrawal of tax on export:
Bangladesh Textile MillsAssociation (BTMA) on Saturday urged the government to withdraw the tax atsource on all export items.
The budget proposed imposition ofa uniform rate of tax of 1.20 per cent source on all kinds of exports in placeof the existing 0.70 per cent.
“When the export sector ispassing through a critical time due to global crisis coupled with variousinternal factors, the new budget proposal for a hike in tax at source is beingseen as another jolt to it,” Jahangir Alamin, president of BTMA, said at apress conference at the BTMA office in the capital.
BTMA general secretary FerozAhmed and Director Abdul Mannan Miah were present at the conference, amongothers.
They welcomed some proposals butexpressed dismay over many proposals, and demanded reconsideration of some ofthe important proposals, including tax at source on all types of export thathas been doubled.
Jahangir Alamin said a 15 percent income tax is already in place for the textile mills according to RSOno-221. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Budgetary allocation for silk factory, textile mill demanded:
Special allocation in the proposed budget of 2012-13 fiscal has been demanded here today for resumption of Rajshahi Silk Factory and Rajshahi Textile Mills in government management.
The demand has been put forwarded in a human chain-cum- street corner meeting organized by the local unit of Workers Party of Bangladesh (WPB) at Shaheb Bazar Zero Point here.
WPB Polite Burro Member Fazley Hossain Badsha, MP, city unit general secretary Liakat Ali Liku, members Debashish Pramanik Debu, Advocate Entazul Haque Babu, Advocate Ferdous Jamil and Motiur Rahman spoke on the occasion.
Lawmaker Badsha said resumption of the silk factory and textile has become indispensable for creating job opportunities and elevating the living and livelihood condition of the labour class people. He put emphasis on reopening of the state-owned factories with public-private partnership system for uplifting the socio- economic condition of the region. Badsha stressed the need for protecting the region’s prestigious institutions from further degradation. Highlighting the aspects of resumption of the factory as a model one which needed Taka 15 crore as running capital at present. He emphasized the need for boosting the mulberry farming through providing the farmers with collateral and interest-free loan for the sake of making the nation self-sufficient in yarn production. to read. & read more.
* RMG Violence: Who are the invisible players?:
Amid recurring violence in the country’s fast-growing export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) industry, intelligence officials say that some vested quarters, both local and foreign, have long been involved in the dirty game.
The intelligence officials have identified five broad categories of vested quarters as playing a role in destabilising the country’s highest foreign currency-earning sector.
They said the first category of the troublemakers is some foreigners based in India and China and their local collaborators like NGOs and businesspeople.
The foreigners, the intelligence officials said, carry out their activities through NGOs under the cover of promoting human rights and providing training to Bangladeshi workers in the name of their skill development.
“These foreign quarters find Bangladesh a tough competitor in their business in the international market due to cheap labour in Bangladesh,” one intelligence official said.
They think the abolishing of quota regime followed by the emergence of Bangladesh as a competitor is a major problem for them. They say the labour laws in Bangladesh are not as stringent as these should have been. The salaries paid to the workers are also very low.
The intelligent sources said another group of behind-the-scene players is local union leaders. They, in fact, draw their wages without working and avail of undue facilities from the garment factory owners serving their vested interests. read more.
* Ashulia erupts into violence again; 50 injured:
Garment workers continued their protests in Ashulia industrial zone for the sixth consecutive day on Saturday, leaving over 50 people injured.
Despite assurance by State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haque Tuku to solve their problems on Wednesday, the apparel workers took to the streets at about 8 am and put blockade on EPZ-Abdullahpur Road, disrupting traffic.
Production in nearly 300 units has been suspended as the authorities declared a leave for today following sporadic clashes between the agitating workers and law enforcers. read more.
* RMG owners announce shut down of factories in Ashulia from Sunday:
In a significant move, the BGMEA and BKMEA Saturday announced to shut down all RMG factories in Ashulia industrial area from Sunday in protest against continued worker unrest and violence.
The indefinite shut down was called by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in the wake of fresh RMG workers unrests in Ashulia and Narayanganj on Saturday. read more.
* BGMEA shuts Ashulia units:
Following five days of labour unrest, owners on Saturday declared shutdown of all readymade garment factories in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital for an indefinite period from Sunday.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) took the decision while the factories were losing production due to the unrest in the industrial zone.
“We are losing production every day. Now, we can hardly tolerate further. So, we have decided to close more than 300 factories in Ashulia area,” said BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin at a rushed press briefing at the association’s office in Dhaka.
“We are the victims of a conspiracy,” Mohiuddin said adding it is the responsibility of the government to find out the real culprits and bring them to book. read more.
* Ashulia apparel units to remain closed from Sunday- Exporters:
They threaten to shut down factories across country if situation doesn’t improve
In the wake of worsening labour unrest, apparel exporters on Saturday decided to keep all the garment factories closed for an indefinite period at Ashulia in Savar from Sunday.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) jointly announced the decision at a press conference at BGMEA Bhaban in the evening.
Earlier, the BGMEA leaders held a marathon meeting with the owners of RMG factories of Ashulia.
BGMEA president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, BKMEA second vice president Mohammad Hatem, Exporters Association of Bangladesh president Abdus Salam Murshedy and RMG factories owners were present at the press conference.
Addressing the hurriedly called press conference, Mohiuddin said they decided to shut down all the factories, more than 300, at Ashulia as they have no alternative to it. read more.
* All Ashulia RMG units to be shut from today:
In a significant move, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), platforms for garments factory owners, have declared an indefinite shut down of all factories in Ashulia from Sunday.The decision came in the wake of fresh unrest in Ashulia and Narayanganj on Saturday, when more than 150 people were injured, and two received bullet wounds, during a clash between police and workers. read more.
* N’ganj RMG workers withdraw agitation:
Workers of a garment factory demonstrating for pay hike at Kanchpur in Narayanganj withdrew their agitation on Saturday.
At least 50 people including seven policemen were injured in the clash that ensued on Saturday morning.
Vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway returned to normalcy after remaining suspended following the clash till 1:00pm, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.
The workers of Sinha garment told our Narayanganj correspondent that their demand for pay hike was in solidarity with the ongoing garment workers’ unrest in the Ashulia industrial zone. read more & with video.
* RMG workers demonstrate demanding reopening of factories in Ashulia:
Garment workers took to the streets and clashed with law enforcers sporadically Sunday morning demanding reopening of the factories which were shut down by the authorities for an indefinite period on Saturday amid worsening labour unrest. Some workers broke into tears in front of the factory gate in the morning scared at the indefinite closure of the factories.
But many of them joined with the demonstrators demanding pay hike and immediate reopening of the factories. read more. & read more.
* Ashulia RMG workers protest closure of factories:
Garment workers clashed sporadically with police and vandalised at least five vehicles on Ashulia-Baipail road Sunday morning protesting the closure of their factories by the owners.
At least 15 people including policemen were injured during the clashes that halted transport movement on the road for more than three hours.
Thousands of workers gathered at Jamgara around 8:00am Sunday, a day after owners decided to keep closed more than 300 garment factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, due to labour unrest.
The agitated workers started demonstration on the Ashulia-Baipail road protesting the owners’ shutdown decision.
Police urged the workers to clear the road through a microphone when the gathering created problem for vehicular movement. read more.
* BGMEA shuts all units in Ashulia:
Apparel manufacturers have shut down their factories in Ashulia for an indefinite period from today (Sunday) in the face of continuous workers’ unrest that jolted the apparel hub for the last six days.
The decision came at an emergency meeting between garment and knitwear makers Saturday at the headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) where most of the owners, being angered by the situation, agreed to reach the decision.
“Considering security for both individual and industry, all the factories here will be closed for an indefinite period under section 13(1) of the existing labour law,” BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters after the meeting.
The factories will not be reopened unless foolproof security and pro-industry atmosphere are ensured, he said and demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits who are responsible for the violence.
The BGMEA president said they will suspend production in garment factories across the country if the situation does not improve early. read more. & read more.
* Ashulia RMG workers clash again:
Readymade garment workers at Ashulia demonstrated again on Sunday as the weeklong unrest reached a new height after factory owners shut all garment factories in the industrial hub for an indefinite period.
Ashulia Industrial Police Inspector Mokhlesur Rahman said the workers took to the streets around 9am by blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway as they criticised the decision of factory shutdown.
By 11:30am police cleared the blockade after the protesters fought pitched battles with the security officials. Witnesses said the workers clashed with police when they tried to remove them from the street.
Police used loudspeakers asking the workers to stop the protest and clear the street as the factories were closed. read more.
* Police file case over Ashulia unrest:
Police have sued several hundred people over the demonstrations by readymade garment workers in Ashulia for riot and vandalism.
Ashulia Police Station Sub-Inspector (SI) Hafizur Rahman filed the case in the wee hours of Sunday on charges of blockading the road, assaulting police, obstruction to government work and vandalism.
Eleven people, all of whom are leaders and activists of main opposition BNP and its front organisations, were named in the case along with several hundred other unnamed people.
Anwar Hossain, a BNP leader who owns Anwar CNG filling station and former member of Piarpur Union’s ward number 1, has been made the chief accused in the case.
Manager of the filling station Abul Kashem alleged up to 15 policemen, led by Ashulia Police Station OC (investigation) Mustafa Kamal, broke into the station’s office room where Anwar was sitting and beat him up around 9am. read more.
* Workers rally at Ashulia again:
Apparel workers went on demonstrations in the Ashulia industrial zone for the sixth day on Sunday, protesting at the closure of factories and demanding pay hike.
At least 30 people, including policemen, were injured and 10 vehicles were vandalised in the clashes that halted traffic on the Dhaka–Tangail Highway from Ashulia Bazar to the Baipile crossing for about three hours.
In the morning, several thousand workers gathered in front of their factory, a day after owners had closed more than 300 apparel units at Ashulia amid labour unrest.
* Labour rights bodies oppose shutdown of RMG factories at Ashulia:
The leaders of Garments Sramik Sangram Parishod, a combine of the garment labour rights bodies, on Sunday vehemently criticised the decision of shutting down factories located at Ashulia in Savar and termed the decision illegal and oppressive.
The combine leaders at a press conference at Socialist Party of Bangladesh central office said that the decision of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association would increase the problems in the sector and further spreadand intensify unrest in the industry.
They also threatened to intensify movement against the decision and continue their agitation for pay hike and realising their other demands.
The labourers and their leaders alleged that BGMEA had abused the clause 13 (ka) of the Bangladesh Labour Act-2006 by shutting down their factories. read more.
* RMG industry in a tight spot:
Export orders already fall amid global recession; now comes demo for wage hike The apparel industry is in a double bind: continuous high inflation has led to a wage pressure and a gloomy global economy has left the garment owners in a tight financial situation.
The garment workers had a pay hike less than two years ago, but they are already finding it hard to meet their expenses.
Financially, the garment owners are in a bad shape too as work orders have dipped alarmingly.
Take Rahima (her real name withheld), for instance. She earns Tk 4,500 a month, and pays Tk 1,000 per month for her one-room shanty. Her landlord now wants Tk 1,400.
Over the past several months, she had to skip eggs, the almost one and only source of protein for low-income group people. read more.
* No let-up in Ashulia unrest:
Several thousand garment workers again fought pitched battles with law enforcers in Ashulia yesterday, fuming over the shutdown of all garment factories in the industrial belt.
At least 50 people, including several police personnel, were injured in the clashes.
Agitating workers put barricades on the Dhaka-Tangail highway bringing traffic on the motorway to a halt for nearly three hours from 8:30am. They demanded that garment factory owners immediately reopen the factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital.
Leaders of different garment workers’ organisations also protested the shutdown and called upon the owners to reopen the factories immediately. read more.
* 11 held over Ashulia labour unrest:
Police in an overnight drive arrested 11 people for their alleged involvement with the recent labour unrest in the capital’s suburb Ashulia area.
Badrul Alam Sheikh, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, confirmed the arrest of 11 people Monday morning but did not name them.
They have been arrested in connection with four cases filed between June 14 and 16, the OC said. to read.
14:35:50 local time INDIA
* Alok Industries plans to reduce debt by Rs 1000 crore in FY13:
Alok Industries plans to reduce by Rs 1000 crore through sale of its real estate assets at Lower Parel, Mumbai. This would hardly serve as a breather for the company considering burgeoning debt in the last four years.
In the last four years, the company’s consolidated debt has increased by 86% to Rs13000 crore in FY12. In the consolidated debt, the company’s standalone debt itself is Rs 11600 crore. Hence, it is very crucial that the company sells its 28 floors of space at Lower Parel in Mumbai to bring about a meaningful change in its consolidated debt.
In the past six years, the company has invested over Rs 7000 crore across its business segments, which range from home textiles to garments. This increased the company’s debt disproportionately. A year ago the company had announced that it has no further capital expenditure plans and it would concentrate on decreasing its interest expense by selling of its real estate assets. (1 Indian crore = 10 million) read more.
* It is a gain for exporters:
For the exporters in this region, the rupee depreciation has come as a boon.
“It is a silver lining to the exporters,” says K. Ilango, former president of the Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association. The input and manufacturing costs were going up in India for the last few years. However, the exporters were unable to increase the product price as the buyers were unwilling to pay more. “We are able to offset these increases now,” he says.
Several overseas buyers are looking at India as the prices are competitive. Further, even in the domestic market, those who were buying from countries such as China are looking at Indian substitutes as imports are expensive. (…)
According to vice-president of Southern India Engineering Manufacturers’ Association T.C. Thiagarajan, the rupee depreciation compensates for the infrastructure problems faced by the Indian manufacturers. The prices are negotiated on a case-to-case basis and depend on several factors.
In Tirupur, which is a major garment manufacturing and exporting centre, several overseas buyers are asking for 10 per cent to 15 per cent reduction in prices.
* A dip in cotton production expected:
As companies witness 15 per cent fall in cotton seed sales
Cotton production in the country is expected to see a sharp decline in the 2012-2013 season, according to Coimbatore Cotton Association president Kamlesh Raheja.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the association here on Sunday, Mr. Raheja said that after registering a sharp rise in cotton production for two years, officials in Gujarat expect a steep fall in production in the forthcoming season.
According to some reports, the production fall may be even 15 per cent. Sale of cotton seeds has been hit in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In north India, where the seed marketing season has just concluded, companies saw a 15 per cent fall in cotton seed sales. read more.
14:35:50 local time SRI LANKA
* Growing demand for geo-textiles:
Hayleys Exports will expand its operations in value added products, such as, geo textiles and high quality coir twine for discerning markets. The company foresees a growing demand in major markets for geo textiles which are used for erosion control, Hayleys chairman Mohan Pandithage said reviewing its annual report for 2011/2012.
He said the key divisions of the fibre sector, including Hayley’s Exports are being restructured for profitable growth fuelled by an aggressive pursuit of a clear set of strategies.
“Operations are being consolidated at one plant in Kuliyapitiya whilst the valuable industrial property at Ekala is earmarked for future development. The manufacturing plants are being revamped implementing a culture of continuous improvement and automation,” he said. Pandithage said coir fibre remains the preferred natural fibre for many applications ranging from mats and matting , brushware , erosion control to the auto industry .
”With the growth of demand for natural and bio degradable products, it is expected that the demand for coir will increase despite the current economic crisis in the developed world,” he said. The procurement activities have been re organized through robust supplier base allowing effective price negotiation and quality control of materials. to read.
14:05:50 local time PAKISTAN
* Cotton market observes firm trading session:
The Karachi cotton market witnessed a firm trading session with strong lint prices amid plenty of compensatory deals, traders at the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) said on Saturday.
During past week spinners and mills bought fine lint while sellers with fine grades offered their produce on slightly higher prices at around Rs 5,975 per maund, traders said. read more.