21:18:10 local time CHINA
* Garment makers determined to cut a dash with own clothing lines:
PINGHU is China’s biggest clothing export center, though its role in garment production doesn’t appear on the labels of merchandise it makes for global brands like Armani, Adidas and North Face.
The city, which turns out one of every 100 garments made in the world, is trying to change that image and produce its own lines of brand names.
The move has been prompted by shrinking profit margins as a global economic slowdown damps orders from abroad, especially from the giant European market. At the same time, cheaper labor in countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia is encroaching on Pinghu’s market dominance.read more.
20:18:10 local time VIET NAM
* Garment sector remains biggest hard currency earner:
The garment and textiles sector remains the country’s biggest hard currency earner with export revenues of 6.6 billion USD in the first half of the year.
Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Textiles and Garment Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong said at a June 20 meeting that the sector has maintained stable growth despite the world’s largest textile and apparel markets, including the US , the EU and Japan facing many challenges, particularly when the price of their export orders slumped. read more.
* Garments remain VN’s top export item:
Garment export revenue is estimated at US$7.5 billion in the first six months, up 6% against the same period last year, making it Vietnam’s top export item.
Garment export to the US accounts for 51% of the total export volume, followed by the by the EU with 16%, Japan 13%, the Republic of Korea 6%.
The competitive advantages of Vietnamese garments in the European market still remain high. Though the market’s demand fell by 5%, Vietnamese enterprises only suffered from 1.5% decrease in contract number, said Deputy Director of Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong. to read. & read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 22/6 .
* Over 175,000 people applied for unemployment insurance:
The number of workers who applied for unemployment insurance is rising. By the end of May 2012, besides 175,000 workers who applied for receiving unemployment insurance, over 155,000 others were being monthly paid unemployment insurance.The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs said that in the first half of 2012, around 734,000 people got jobs, including 39,000 going overseas to work.
Compared to 2011, labor relations have been improved remarkably. The number of labor conflicts and strikes dropped sharply, with 179 strikes in January-May period, a reduction of 170 cases year on year. The number of industrial accidents also decreased, with 35 cases and 54 deaths.
By May 20, over 175,000 workers applied for unemployment insurance while over 155,000 others were being monthly paid with this kind of insurance. In addition, around 4,000 workers were paid unemployment insurance once. read more.
* Nation commits to better employment policies:
Viet Nam has committed to giving bigger emphasis to employment policies by ratifying the International Employment Policy Convention (known as Convention 122) last week.
The convention, convened by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1964, requires member countries to pursue “an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment”. read more.
20:18:10 local time THAILAND
* Wacoal mulls Thailand exit:
Keeping abreast of Myanmar market
ICC International Plc, the distributor of Wacoal lingerie, is looking into establishing a production base in neighbouring countries in the near future to resolve labour and wage problems in Thailand. (…)
The company has already opened a new factory in Tak’s Mae Sot district bordering Myanmar in a bid to resolve problems with labour shortages and rising wages.
* Thailand Monitors Closely Euro Zone Crisis:
Thailand is closely monitoring the impact of the Euro Zone crisis on its economy, especially the export and garment sectors.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said today her economic ministers were analysing the situation and preparing measures to cope with the impact should it occur.
“We don’t know yet if the country’s economic growth would be affected by the Euro Zone crisis. At the moment, the country recorded better growth after experiencing massive floods last year,” she told reporters, here. read more.
20:18:10 local time CAMBODIA
* Macau-owned factory workers on strike for third day:
Police and military forces were deployed as workers at M & V International Manufacturing Ltd went on strike Thursday for a third day.
The workers are demanding bonuses of $10 for transport, $3 in addition to seven existing bonuses and 4,000 riel for working on Sunday or a public holiday.
Worker and factory representatives agreed to two of the demands last Saturday and the factory was supposed to respond to the third on Tuesday.
The Macau-owned factory is located in Kampong Chhnang town and employs about 4,000 workers to make sweaters.to read.
* Hong Kong-owned factory deploys soldiers against workers:
Ford Glory (Cambodia) Manufacturing Ltd has deployed two military parachutists to intimidate 100 striking workers, a union leader said Wednesday.
The unionist, who asked not to be named, said the two soldiers from Brigade Number 911 were associates of the company’s administrative manager Dang Lort.
He said the intimidated workers went back to work but disagreed with the military tactics.
The unionist said the factory management was linked to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and that the two soldiers risked ruining the party’s name.
Ford Glory, located in Trea village in Stueng Meanchey commune in Meanchey district, employs about 500 workers to make baby garments, coats, knitted shirts and pants. to read.
* US says Cambodia has ‘weak’ framework for migrant workers:
– Cambodia has a weak framework for migrant workers despite last year’s sub-decree governing companies that recruit people to work abroad, the US State Department said.
“Overall, Cambodia’s laws and regulations governing recruitment, placement, and protection of migrant laborers abroad remained weak,” it said in an annual report on human trafficking released Tuesday.
“They lacked clear delineation of responsibilities of recruitment agencies and government authorities during the recruitment process,” the report said. “They did not detail suitable controls or monitoring of agencies to avoid abuses, prevent corruption, and enforce criminal penalties.” read more.
* Garment workers’ strikes pay off :
The determination of 3,000 garment factory workers in Kampong Chhnang province’s M&V factory has finally paid off.
Workers will return to the factory floor today after management finally agreed to their four-point list of demands yesterday, after initially refusing to budge.
Noun Sam Ol, deputy president of the Free Trade Union at M&V, said yesterday that the factory agreed with the workers’ demands after representatives of the factory, union and labour department officials negotiated yesterday morning.
“The company agreed to give US$5 for transportation and accommodation, $2 for attendance bonus, $2 more for working on holidays and Sundays, and the last point is workers can work overtime from Monday to Friday morning,” she said.to read.
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
* To read in the printed edition of theCambodian Daily:
4. Report shows rise in garment labor disputes. read more.
* Minimum salary bill to be submitted to Burmese Parliament:
A bill to set a minimum salary and benefits for private sector employees will be submitted to the upcoming Parliament on July 4, according to a Parliament official.
During the recent strikes in the garment industry in Rangoon, a minimum wage and salary was drafted by the Ministry of Labour, the officials told Eleven Media Group last week. Their recommendtion formed the basis for the settlement of several strikes, when its salary recommendations were accepted by workers and employers.
The minimum salary for workers in industrial zones was temporarily set at 56,700 kyat (about US$ 65) per month after the strikes. read more. & read more.
Burmese workers in the garment industry in Rangoon are among those who have gone on strike for higher wages. Photo: myanmargarment.net
19:18:10 local time BANGLA DESH
* Workers stage rowdy protest:
Several thousand readymade garment workers staged a rowdy protest, torching and vandalising vehicles in Chittagong city yesterday following the death of a fellow worker in a road accident.
Thee RMG workers and seven policemen were injured during a chase and counter-chase between law enforcers and the protesters.
A speeding minibus bound for Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) ran over Pintu Das, 35, a sewing supervisor of Anwar Dress Makers, in Double-Mooring area around 7:40am when he was on his way to work on a bicycle, witnesses said.
His fellow workers and locals rushed Pintu to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH), where doctors declared him dead, said Jahirul Islam, sub-inspector of CMCH Police Outpost.
As the news spread, garment workers of the factories in the area came out and blocked Sheikh Mujib Road, causing suffering to city dwellers. read more.
* Apparel makers exploring market and investment potentiality in China:
Country’s apparel manufacturers have set their eyes on China to explore both the market and investment potentiality. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop bilateral trade was signed between BGMEA and Ningbo Yinzhou Textile and Garment International Chamber of Commerce when a ten-member delegation headed by the President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin visited China during June 9-11. The MoU focuses on development of networking among businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors of both countries, steps to remove trade barriers, assistance to transfer technology and raise human skill. read more.
* BGAPMEA gets authority to issue UP to members:
The country’s apparel accessories producers’ association will get the long-awaited authority of issuing Utilisation Permission (UP) soon for its members.
“We are negotiating with the authorities concerned to get permission to issue UP from BGAPMEA for last 10 years. But we are not getting it though a circular was issued in this connection,” Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) president Rafez Alam Chowdhury told the FE.
Finance Minister AMA Muith Thursday ordered the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to transfer the authority to issue UP to the BGAPMEA.
The bonders of the BGAPMEA needs UP for imported raw materials adjustment against its different export orders.
He said: “NBR issues the UP to the exporters but the garment accessories makers have to waste time and money and face hassle. To ease the procedure we demanded the authority of UP.” read more.
THE ASHULIA GARMENT WORKERS STRIKE:
* Ashraf blames ‘foreign stooges for RMG unrest’:
Awami League general secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said, real workers were not involved in the recent incidents in the garment sector.
He blamed the stooges of an influential country for instigating the workers to cripple the economic backbone of Bangladesh. Syed Ashraf was speaking as the chief guest at the extended meeting of the Dhaka City Awami League in the city.
Awami League general secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam today said the situation in Myanmar has been created to foil the ongoing trial of the war criminals. read more.
* Workers feel the pinch:
Many garment workers in trouble-hit Ashulia have left for home or in search of jobs elsewhere, as they remain without income for the shutdown of more than 300 factories in the industrial belt.
It all started a week ago when a labour unrest flared at apparel units in Ashulia over demands for pay hikes. Nearly 5 lakh workers are employed at garment factories in the industrial zone.
Workers say they cannot afford to stay in Ashulia when the factories are closed.
“We have no alternative but to leave. We cannot afford to live here without any earnings. Many have already left,” said Sagar Hossain, worker of a garment factory at Nishchintapur in Ashulia.
Sagar went to the Dhaka-Tangail highway to see off his two colleagues. read more.
* Bangladeshi clothes factory shutdown ends after four days:
A four-day shutdown at more than 300 Bangladeshi clothes factories ended on Thursday after workers called off violent protests over pay, officials and witnesses said.
A long closure at the factories, which represent around 8 percent of the country’s garments manufacturing base, would have further threatened its biggest export earner, demand for which has already suffered as a result of the global economic downturn. read more.
* RMG factories in Ashulia reopened after week of turmoil:
Garments factories in Ashulia started their operations from Thursday morning after the latest four days of shutdown ordered by factory owners.
The RMG workers have joined their respective workplaces peacefully since 8:00am Thursday, owners and police sources said.
The law enforcers are patrolling the area to avert any untoward situation.
Earlier, the decision to reopen the shut units was taken on Wednesday at a meeting between labour minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and leaders of two apex bodies of apparel sector owners– Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), at the labour ministry on assurance that the government would ensure security of the garments factories. read more.
* Garment factories at Ashulia reopen today:
Garment manufacturers Wednesday agreed to reopen the closed factories at Ashulia from today (Thursday) following government’s assurance of providing enough security.
The decision was taken after a tripartite meeting of apparel owners, workers’ representatives and high-ups of the labour ministry at the secretariat in the afternoon.
“We’ve decided to reopen our factories from tomorrow (Thursday). So all owners are requested to resume production there,” BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters after the meeting.
Urging workers to join their duties, labour minister Khandaker Mosarraf Hossain said the closed units will be reopening from Thursday. read more.
* Owners reopen RMG factories:
All the readymade garment factories in Ashulia industrial belt reopened Thursday after a four-day closure following a labour unrest.
“The factories have reopened from 8am [Thursday]. The workers have returned and joined work peacefully,” Deputy Director of Ashulia Industrial Police Foyezul Kabir told bdnews24.com.
He said there were no reports of any chaos since morning so far.
But, Kabir said, law enforcers have been kept on alert as additional police have been deployed in the area. read more.
* All but one Ashulia units reopened- BGMEA:
The President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said almost all the readymade garment factories in Ashulia industrial belt resumed operations after a four-day halt.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said this in a meeting between Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and representatives of several business associations at the Ministry of Finance on Thursday.
“Only one factory is facing problems. The workers did not join work even though that factory was opened. Discussions with the owners on the issue are ongoing,” he told Muhith at the meeting.
The BGMEA chief said the factory, The Rose Dresses Ltd at Jamgarha, was being observed. “We hope the stuation in Ashulia will get normal by Thursday.” read more.
* Employers’ Federation demands control on house rents in Ashulia:
Bangladesh Employers’ Federation yesterday urged the government to regulate house rent rate in the Ashulia industrial belt, citing it as one of the compelling factors for the ongoing garment labour uproar.
“House rents in Ashulia go up every 3-4 months, which is one of the reasons behind the unrest,” said Md Fazlul Hoque, president of the federation.
Seeing great demand for houses in the labour-intensive belt, landlords are exploiting the situation, the BEF chief said in a press briefing in Dhaka. read more.
* Incentives to workers may quell discontent in RMG sector:
The recent violence in Ashulia has brought the important lifeline of our economy to a halt. This brings many questions to the fore. Of them, one calls for a straightforward answer: Why does a sector, that has long proved its worth in getting our economic wheel moving, have to meet this fate?
It is not that this chaos began yesterday, it has been happening intermittently for years. We understand how very important it is to stop the disorder immediately. The reason is simple-it is a national issue, causing an oversize loss not only to this sector but also to the country as a whole. (…)
Last but not least, we should change our attitude of looking down upon garment workers. It has been very common for the better-off citizens to treat garment factory workers like ‘untouchables’. This definitely does not escape their notice. They feel humiliated. We must not forget that their toil has been keeping our often sluggish economy alive for long.
We do not have time to dilly-dally. We must take the necessary measures immediately to put an end to this ongoing dispute in a sector that is so vital. It can wreak havoc for certain if this goes on for another week. read more.
* 25pc Ashulia RMG units set to be sick:
Garments factories in Ashulia, reopened on Thursday after a 10-day closure resulted from labour unrest since June 11. Garments workers joined their factories peacefully on Thursday amid very tight security measure, though the presence was slightly lower than the normal period as many went to their native homes following the closure. But, industry insiders said, at least 20-25 per cent factories out of 350 located in the area would turn financially sick very soon as those failed to realise export orders due to workers agitations and sudden factory closure.
“Many exporters in the area may turn bankrupt very soon after suffering huge losses,” said Shafiul Islam, president of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association).
According to him, the apparel sector suffered two types of losses, financial and image crisis. “For sure we have incurred tremendous image loss already.”
* Ashulia factory shutdown ends:
RMG workers joined their works in Ashulia on Thursday, four days after the owners closed their factories, although the demand for their wage hike is yet to be met.
The owners decided to resume production in their factories in Ashulia on Wednesday after Labour Minister Khandaker Mosarraf Hossain assured them of foolproof security in a meeting at the Secretariat.
Md Fayzul Kabir, deputy director of Industrial Police 1, told UNB that most of the workers joined their respective factories in a peaceful manner.
“With the workers back to their factories, the situation in Ashulia is normal today, although the full presence of the workers can’t be ensured before Saturday,” he said, adding that some of the workers had left for home during the four days closure.
UNB Savar correspondent says: Although workers spontaneously joined the factories, they are resolute to pursue their demand for wage hike.
Shafiqul Islam, an ‘operator’ of a factory who joined his work today, told the correspondent that his family cannot survive in Ashulia without a wage hike.
read more. & read more.
* RMG factories re-open:
Garment factory workers on Thursday morning rejoined work amidst heavy security in Ashulia industrial zone as the owners re-opened their readymade garment units after a four-day closure in the wake of a weeklong labour unrest.
Many workers, however, remained absent on the
first day with an eerie calm prevailing in the workers’ neighbourhoods at Ashulia in Savar. Workers said that a large number of workers had already left for their homes, fearing arrest and also being uncertain about the re-opening of factories.
read more. & read more.
* Ashulia back to life:
Production resumed in garment factories at Ashulia yesterday after a four-day shutdown, but the presence of workers was thin.
Factory owners say many workers have gone to their village homes or are in search of jobs elsewhere following the shutdown of about 300 units in the wake of labour unrest over pay hikes.
On the first day at work after the shutdown, many workers did not return to the factories of the leading manufacturer, Ha-Meem Group, that employs 14,000 workers for its Ashulia operations, company officials said.
The group’s seven units there make an annual turnover of $200 million, according to officials.
“However, normalcy is returning to our factories,” AK Azad, managing director of the group, told The Daily Star. read more.
* Statement CCC on Bangladesh:
CCC is gravely worried about the violent repression of garment workers and their labour leaders in Ashulia in Bangladesh.
On June 11th, thousands of garment workers took to the streets demanding a pay hike. Instead of increasing the wages, the factory owners closed down over 300 units, leaving the workers with no prospect to an income. Since then, 25 people have been arrested and many have been wounded during severe clashes with the police and union leaders are fearing brutal treatment by the intelligence agencies in Bangladesh. Although the factories have reopened again, the demand for higher wages remains a pressing issue and the level of repression unacceptable.
International companies should understand after years of wage-related protest that low wages are the root cause for the ongoing unrests. The legal minimum wage rate remained on the same level since the raise in 2010, while living costs have spiraled and workers have been demoted to lower positions to avoid a pay hike.
Once again, the Bangladesh government responds by increasing the level of repression and has instigated investigations into union and labour right organisations instead of engaging into negotiations to ensure wages meet the cost of living. And while all factories have been reopened, factory owners still refuse to reopen negotiations on minimum wages. read more.
* An Appeal to Michael Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart:
Press Wal-Mart to take the right and moral stand.
Please sign. Urge your friends to forward the Bangladeshi workers’ appeal to all their friends and family members.
Time is running out. Five hundred thousand garment workers, mostly women, are locked out. It is very likely that the Bangladeshi police will attack the workers, shooting rubber bullets and wielding clubs.
Please act! Wal-Mart is widely recognized as Bangladesh’s biggest buyer. Ask Wal-Mart to support the workers’ modest demand for a raise of 6.3 cents an hour. Please sign this petition to Wal-Mart’s CEO Michael Duke, and share it widely.
Read more — 500,000 Workers Strike in Bangladesh: Ask Wal-Mart to Help
18:48:10 local time INDIA
* Workers at Arvind’s voiles plant join ongoing strike:
Over 1,500 workers at the Raipur plant of Ankur Textiles Ltd, the voiles division of textile company Arvind Ltd, went on strike on Monday demanding wage hike, and thereby taking the total number of striking employees at Arvind to over 5,000.
“We were waiting for Arvind to take some steps for its Naroda plant and were hoping things would turn similar for us in terms of pay hike. However, we have now joined with the striking workers at Naroda, and are demanding a 40 per cent hike in wages from Ankur Textiles,” said Jignesh Patel, a workers’ union leader at Ankur Textiles.
* Cotton blooms as mills compete to buy more:
Prices of Bt and Surabi cotton varieties increased as spinning mills lined up to buy more.
“Good competition was seen at the Bhoodapady Regulated Marketing Committee among buyers, mostly spinning mill from Coimbatore, Annur, Avinashi and Madurai. They bought cotton at a higher price this week,” said Mr A. Subramani, Superintendent, Bhoodapady Regulated Marketing Committee on Wednesday.
* RIL to sell textiles business, appoints NM Rothschild to manage the sale:
India’s largest private sector company, Reliance Industries, has decided to sell its oldest business, textiles, along with its iconic brand `Only Vimal’ in an effort to exit loss-making businesses. The Mukesh Ambani company has hired NM Rothschild to manage the sale, a top official directly involved with the sale said.
The textile business sale, which includes its Naroda factory, is expected to be concluded by the end of the year. The business was set up by the founder-Chairman of the group late Dhirubhai Ambani along with his brother Ramniklal Ambani way back in 1966. However, since then the group has diversified into energy and petrochemical businesses to become India’s largest company with an annual turnover of Rs 85,000 crore. Its textile business contributes less than Rs 2,000 crore to the group’s revenues. (…)
The group’s top management is also unhappy with the frequent labour trouble at the Naroda factory. In April this year, RIL’s Naroda factory employees went on strike, seeking a 60 percent rise in wages. Although the Ambanis have an emotional connect with the business, the Only Vimal brand is being sold to sweeten the deal, the source noted. read more.
* 27 mn living in a world of slavery, bonded labour continues in India:
Up to 27 million people are living in slavery around the world, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton estimated as the US unveiled its annual report into human trafficking.
But the report showed that as governments become more aware of the issue, instigating tough new laws and programs to help victims, progress is being made in wiping out what it called the “scourge of trafficking.” (…)
On India, the report states that the country is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.
India, however, has maintained its position at tier 2, which it climbed to in 2011. Tier 2 is defined as a country whose government does not fully comply with the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. read more.
18:48:10 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka’s Timex & Fergasam to setup ‘green’ units:
18:18:10 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile exports drop by 30% due to energy shortage-APTMA:
Mr Mohsin Aziz, Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has feared that the textile sector exports have dropped by over 30% in 2011-12 due to energy shortage in the country.
Commenting on the unprecedented fall in textile exports in the month of May 2012, he said the textile exports in the month of May 2012 suggest that overall textile would hardly cross the $12 billion mark this against projected $16 billion. Although in the extreme crisis month, the exports remained much below over a billion dollar from $800-900 million, he said, adding: With gas supply we cross over $1 billion last two months but we should have cross $1.3 billion.read more. & read more. & read more.