Global Union Federations
* Unions debate how best to bargain for living wage:
130 representatives of textile, garment and leather unions from around the world met in Copenhagen yesterday to reflect on the ‘Bargaining for a Living Wage Campaign’.The campaign focuses on campaigning for trade union rights, educating affiliates, creating public awareness, and engaging with Government, employers and multinational companies to promote the living wage. read more.
* Giving low-paid textile and garment workers leadership to win a living wage:
Textile, Garment and Leather workers’ unions from across the globe are meeting in Copenhagen to share experiences about the long struggle for a living wage in their industry.
From Africa to Asia and Latin America the Living Wage has become a global issue and central to the Decent Work Agenda, Jyrki Raina, the in-coming general secretary of IndustriALL explained.
Poverty wages have a devastating impact on workers, in Cambodia thousands of malnourished workers have fainted in the last 2 years and in Bangladesh workers are being forced to survive on a dollar a day.
The two-day conference will evaluate the global campaign to date and map out a strategy to defend low-paid textile and garment workers by building a global living wage campaign. read more.
17:52:53 local time CHINA
* New policies to level balance of trade:
Tariffs expected to be lowered on raw materials, daily necessities and technology
Recent government policies that are expected to lower the tariffs on some raw materials, daily necessities and advanced technology machines and parts have sent positive signals, a senior economist said.
“Such measures have indicated a significant shift in the country’s trade policy from the long-existing exports-oriented approach to one that favors imports, from trade surplus to trade balance,” said Liang Da, an economist with the National Bureau of Statistics.
A circular entitled Advice on Strengthening Imports and Promoting a Balanced Development of Trade was recently published by the State Council.
China’s volume of imports grew at an annual rate of 16.4 percent on average between 1979 and 2010, 0.8 percentage points lower than the growth rate of exports.
For example, the textile and clothing industry, with its exports taking up more than 30 percent of total world exports, carry a high tariff on imports. The prices of some high-end products such as designer goods are much higher domestically than they are overseas. read more. & here. & read more.
* Space economy to boom in China:
The successful launch of the Shenzhou Ⅸ spacecraft indicates China’s economic infrastructure and technology have made great progress and the country is ready to explore aerospace economy, reported Economic Information Daily on Monday.
The aerospace economy boasts unusually wide industry range, containing almost every industry from energy, steel, new materials, electronics, machinery, and communications to space clothing and space food, which involve the textiles, garment processing, agricultural products and food processing industries.
* China Garment Export Rose 2.5%, Textile up 1.4% from Jan. to May:
Of which, the garment export from Jan. to May reached 52.57 billion USD, rising 2.5% year over year; textile export reached 38.07 billion USD, down by 1.4%.
* China’s Chic and Wealthy Snubbing Popular Luxury Brands?:
17:52:53 local time PHILIPPINES
* Save Act Bill Coverage Trimmed:
The Philippines has agreed to reduce to five years from the original ten years the effectivity period for its proposed zero-duty garment and textile trading with the US as part of the government’s last ditch effort to pass the “Save Our Industries” bill by the US Congress by September this year.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio told reporters the reduced number of years covered under the proposed bilateral sectoral preferential trading agreement was part of the scrubbing and fine-tuning of the proposed Philippine legislative measure “Save our Industries Act”, which seeks to revive the country’s garment manufacturing industry and the US textile industry. read more.
16:52:53 local time VIET NAM
* Minimum wage insufficent- survey:
A survey conducted by the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions concluded that the average salaries of workers in 90 private companies in 10 cities and provinces, including Ha Noi and HCM City, are not enough for them to make ends meet.
The survey stated that 33.7 per cent of the workers have to work extra hours to have enough money to cover their family expenses. They either work extra hours for their companies or work other part-time positions to earn extra money.
Other numbers illustrate poor living conditions for these workers: over 60 per cent of them do not have the time or money to go to movies, concerts or travel, and 17.5 per cent do not have enough money to cover medical expenses.
Dang Quang Dieu, director of the institute said that there was a huge gap between the new minimum wage and the minimum living standard. The minimum wage of VND1.05 million (US$50) only accounts for around 55-60 per cent of the minimum living standard. read more. & read more.
* Vietnam exporters warned of more trade barriers ahead:
Vietnamese exporters will have difficulties increasing shipments next year as many countries are set to introduce more trade barriers to protect domestic industries, a government’s trade agency said.
Last year brought a global rise in protectionism around the world, thesaigontimes.vn reported, citing findings from the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency.
The trend is expected to continue in 2013 as importing countries attempt to deal with domestic economic problems, the report found. (…)
In May, the World Bank reported that Vietnam had managed to reduce its current account deficit from 4.1 percent in 2010 to 0.5 percent of its GDP last year, mainly due to strong export earnings. The bank said key labor-intensive manufacturing exports such as garments, footwear, and furniture continued to grow this year.
* Exporters face tough months ahead:
In the first five months of the year, Vietnam’s export revenues reached US$42.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 24.1 per cent. However, things may not go smoothly in the coming months even in sectors considered to be the country’s biggest export earners, experts say.
The textiles and apparel industry, for instance, exported goods worth over US$1.1 billion in May. It was the third consecutive month that the industry saw a decrease in export revenues. read more.
16:52:53 local time THAILAND
* Workers negotiate pay increase in Mae Sot:
Workers at the M Apparel Co. Ltd in Mae Sot, Thailand, have successfully negotiated a pay increase and better working conditions with assistance from the Labour Protection Office and the MAP Foundation.
The Yaung Chi Oo Worker Association negotiated a pay increase to the rate of the new minimum wage for all workers, including migrant workers. However, migrant workers are sometimes denied such increases and are paid lower wages, said worker sources.
Thailand increased the minimum wage for the region on April 1. Workers went on a strike on May 15, which lasted 21 days. According to the law, they are now entitled to a minimum wage of 226 baht (US$ 7.1) per 8-hour working day, excluding overtime. Prior to the new law, the minimum wage was 162 baht per day.
Workers said that prior to the successful negotiation, most workers were earning 60-100 baht per day, which included overtime with no days off. to read.
16:52:53 local time CAMBODIA
* Women slow to climb Cambodia’s market:
Women’s economic roles in Cambodia have made slower progress than in many other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, World Bank economists said yesterday.
The region as a whole has seen tremendous gains in the way of gender equality during the past 20 years, but increasing wages and education for women should be a policy priority for Cambodia, according to the economists and a World Bank report issued yesterday.
The report identified gender equality as a contributor to higher productivity and income growth. read more.
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
H&L Apparel workers to return. read more.
17:52:53 local time INDONESIA
* Trisula Sets IPO Price at Rp300 per Share:
Garment and textile company PT Trisula Internasional has set its IPO price at Rp300 per share, at upper bound as set before. The lower bound was set at Rp250 per share.
At this price, the company will raise total proceeds of Rp90 billion. It plans to offer 300 million shares, representing 30% of its issued and paid-up capital, through the initial public offering (IPO). read more.
* Adidas Offering foodcoupons??:
Offering foodcoupons?? Really? Adidas ignores demands of factory workers during first meeting EVER with the union. But they obviously feel the pressure from all of us. Keep pushing! read more PT Kizone update.
15:52:53 local time BANGLA DESH
* Reopen factories:
Demand RMG workers
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, reports UNB.
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.
* 1,000 Sinha Garments workers sued:
At least 1,000 readymade garments (RMG) workers were sued, in connection with the clash involving the workers of Sinha Garments and police in the Kachpur area on Saturday. Harun-or-Rashid, officer-in-charge of Sonargaon Police Station, told The Independent that industrial police (Narayangonj Zone) sub-inspector Yousuf Ali had filed the case on Saturday late night against 10 named and 1,000 unidentified garments workers. All of them were charged with assault on police and looting their weapons.
“We’ve arrested seven workers of Sinha Garments on charges of vandalising public property and obstructing police in discharging their duty,” he added.
read more. & read more.
* RMG Violence: Garment workers call for discussions:
Garment workers’ organisations on Sunday voiced grave concern over the shutdown of factories by the owners and called for discussion to resolve the problem.
Production in nearly 300 units has been suspended as the authorities on Sunday shut down the factories for an indefinite period, following a call by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Saturday.
The decision to close down factories is illogical, as the closure will leave chances for vested quarters to worsen the dispute between workers and owners and unleash more anarchy among the workers, said a press release of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre (TUC) on Sunday. read more.
* Workers’ protest continues after closure of factories:
Violent protests by RMG workers in Ashulia demanding pay hike continued for the seventh consecutive day Sunday despite closure of factories Saturday.
Apparel manufacturers are now worried about their shipments.
In the face of continuous labour unrest over the demand for wage hike, the owners, after an emergency meeting on Saturday, decided to close down factories, which came under frequent attack by the protesters, in the trouble-hit area.
Tens of thousands of apparel workers, being infuriated by the closure of the factories, went on the rampage to protest the shutdown on Sunday.
“The unrest has caused a major headache to the owners as it will definitely significantly increase our shipment cost,” said Siddiqur Rahman, managing director of Sterling Group, located in Ashulia.
He said the owners will have to send shipments by air to maintain schedule as the global retailers will not accept any excuse for delayed delivery.
“Many owners will have to incur huge financial loss for their failure to maintain time table for the shipment due mainly to the repeated disruptions in production,” he said.
* Bangladesh exporters count US$10m loss a day:
The apparel industry of Bangladesh 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 4,500 taka (US$54.91) a month, and pays 1,000 taka ($12.20) per month for her one-room shanty. Her landlord now wants 1,400 taka ($17.08). read more. & read more.
* Ashulia calm on 2nd day of factory closure; 11 held:
After seven days of labour unrest, the situation in Ashulia looked normal on the second day of closure of all garment factories in the industrial belt today (Monday).
Meanwhile, police in their overnight drive arrested 11 people in connection with the labour unrest in the area.
Production in over 300 units remained suspended for the second day today as the authorities shut down the factories for an indefinite period.
Law enforcers were seen patrolling Jamgor, Narsinghapur, Baipile, Shimultola, Unique and other adjoining areas to fend off further trouble.
So far, four cases were filed against 15000 RMG workers and 15 BNP men in connection with the violence over the last three days. read more.
* RMG workers demand reopening of factories by June 20:
Garment workers on Monday demanded reopening of the factories in Ashulia and Kanchpur areas by June 20, and solution to the current standoff through discussions.
Addressing a press briefing organised by the National Platform to Protect Garment Workers and Industries, union leaders said the factory owners have taken a suicidal step, not only for the owners, but also for the industry as a whole, by declaring the factories closed instead of meeting the logical demands of the workers.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Ashulia quiet, 15 arrested:
The Ashulia industrial zone, where the readymade garment workers demonstrated for a week demanding better wages, is calm after five days of violent protests.
Traffic moved without snags since Monday morning on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway which workers had blockaded for the past five days.
Police arrested 15 people since early hours of Sunday in connection with the case filed over demonstration and vandalism during the weeklong unrest. About 500,000 people work in the Ashulia industrial zone on the outskirts of Dhaka, making clothes for companies such as Tesco and Walmart. read more.
* Dhaka RMG factory owners express solidarity with Ashulia owners:
Readymade garment factory owners in Dhaka on Monday expressed solidarity with the owners of Ashulia area and handed over a symbolic key of their factories to the BGMEA president, M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin.
They authorised the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president for taking any decision if any unusual incident erupts in their factories like Ashulia.
Sayed Fazlul Ahsan Shamim handed over the symbolic key of the Dhaka factories to the BGMEA president. to read.
* 15 RMG workers arrested over unrest at Ashulia:
All the 350 readymade garment factories at Ashulia remained closed for the third consecutive day on Monday, with the police arresting 15 more workers continuing it raid of their messes.
The police raids only increased workers’ anxiety though the Ashulia industrial zone remained calm and peaceful on Monday after witnessing five days of demonstration by workers for better wages.
Police in overnight raids until Monday morning arrested 10 workers for their alleged involvement in the labour unrest in the area that forced owners to shut down all the 350 factories at Ashulia.
On Monday morning the police arrested five more workers on the same allegation.
Mostafa Kamal, second officer of Ashulia police station, confirmed the arrest of 15 workers without giving their identities.
He said that the arrested were sent to the court. read more.
* PM orders ‘fair price cards’ for RMG workers:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday ordered the authorities concerned to issue ‘fair price cards’ to the readymade garment factory workers in industrial belts near Dhaka city to provide rice at a subsidised rate in an effort to curb labour unrest.
The prime minister’s directive was issued at a weekly meeting of the Cabinet in the wake of the week-long agitation by workers demanding pay hike, which led to closure of all RMG units in Ashulia industrial zone on the outskirts of the capital.
Sheikh Hasina also asked state minister for labour Monnujan Sufian, who was a labour leader, to hold talks with labour representatives to defuse the current crisis, which has hit hard the export-oriented apparel sector, said a state minister after the meeting. read more.
* Labour leaders demand reopening of Ashulia factories:
Some say shutdown was a unilateral decision by BGMEA
Labour leaders yesterday demanded that all 300 garment factories in Ashulia be reopened soon.
The factories were declared closed by owners following labour unrest on Saturday.
Some leaders expressed concerns over the sudden shutdown of the factories because of ‘unilateral decisions’ taken by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
They urged the government to immediately resolve the ongoing issues by holding a tripartite meeting with representatives of factory owners, workers and government officials.
“Garment workers cannot lead a normal life due to the price hike of essentials, rising transportation costs and soaring inflation,” said Wazedul Islam, coordinator of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad. read more.
* Workers’ woes:
Saidul Islam, a knitting worker, always wanted his wife to be a housewife. He wanted her to stay at home and raise their only child, which was of foremost importance to both of them.
“I have been married for four years and living with my wife in Norshinghpur of Ashulia. I did not bother to send her to work to any factory as I had thought I would be able to afford my family’s all expenses,” he said.
His income has been deteriorating, the cost of living has been rising; to put it simply, he has been scrambling to make ends meet.
Last year he was earning between Tk 12,000 and Tk 14,000, but this year it fell down to Tk 8,000 to Tk 9,000.
So, earlier this month, he had to resign to the circumstances and reluctantly send his wife Shahana Akhter to work, at a garment factory in their neighbourhood. She now chips in with Tk 3,000 a month.
What is more unfortunate is that the couple had to send their son to Islam’s parent’s house in Pabna. They do not have anyone in the industrial belt to mind the three-year-old when they are away at work. read more.
15:22:53 local time INDIA
* Chinese textile firms keen to set up units in Gujarat:
China’s textile companies have evinced interest in setting up manufacturing units in Gujarat, a State Government official said here on Saturday.
Looking to partner with Gujarat-based companies, the Chinese companies have also shown interest in investing in infrastructure projects, heavy engineering and equipment, renewable energy and the auto sector.
Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in this regard are expected to be inked during the next Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2013. read more. & read more.
* Weavers to get subsidy for purchase of powerlooms:
Weavers belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, who purchase powerlooms would be given a subsidy of 90 per cent and those belonging to other categories a subsidy of 50 per cent, according to G.T. Kumar, Deputy Director, Handloom and Textiles Department. read more.
15:22:53 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka economy grows 7.9 percent in first quarter of 2012:
Sri Lanka’s economy has expanded by a healthy growth rate of 7.9 percent during the first quarter of this year, from the same period a year earlier, data released by the Department of Census and Statistics today showed.
The island nation’s economy has remained resilient to the external pressures of rising fuel prices earlier in the year and a turbulent global economy with industrial and services sectors contributing heavily to the economic growth.
The gross domestic product (GDP) has only marginally declined in the first three months of 2012 from an 8.0 percent in first quarter of 2011.
However, the main industrial sector, which includes textiles and garments, construction and manufacturing, grew 10.8 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 11.1 percent recorded in the same quarter of previous year. read more.