in the news on-line, today, 27 june 2012

21:01:23 local time map of china CHINA

* China amending labor law to protect ‘contractors’:

Lawmakers on Tuesday started to read a draft revision of the labor contract law that aims to prevent employers from exploiting workers by improperly classifying them as contractors.
The bill was submitted for its first reading at a bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday.
The number of independent contractors has increased rapidly since the labor contract law was revised in 2007 to provide better protection for employees, said Uzhitu, vice-chairman of the NPC Finance and Economic Committee.
Serious problems have emerged, as many employers tend to hire contractors long-term to replace employees, with some companies using contractors to complete the majority of their work, he said. read more.

* Shoemakers search for survival strategies:

A worker at a shoe factory in Shaoyang, Hunan province. China had an output of more than 13 billion pairs of footwear last year, according to China Footwear Industry Association. Photo:China Daily

Some look inland for lower costs, others build brands to add value
Rising costs and sluggish overseas demand are testing Chinese shoemakers’ ability to maintain profits.
While some have moved to inland cities to take advantage of lower costs, others have enhanced their technology or “own brands” to achieve higher added value.
Zhang Huarong, who established Huajian Group in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in 1996, has been moving the company’s manufacturing operations to inland cities such as Ganzhou in Jiangxi province and Xiangcheng in Henan province in recent years.
“Low labor and land costs as well as the favorable policies offered by the local government attracted us to Ganzhou,” Zhang said. read more.

* Westward ho! for China’s processing trade:

Workers make wigs for export at a factory in Huaying, Sichuan province. Export-processing enterprises in the eastern region are moving to the country’s central and western regions to reduce their labor and land costs. Photo:China Daily

Even though coastal cities in East China have long been the center of the country’s processing trade, more and more such operations are being driven by increasing costs and sluggish overseas demand to move to the country’s central and western regions.
In China, “processing trade” is a term generally used to refer to the practice of importing raw materials or components needed to manufacture a product and then re-exporting the finished product after Chinese businesses have processed or assembled them. It plays an important role in the country’s foreign trade and gets a listing to itself in trade statistics, separate from that for “general trade”.
read more.
& read more.

* Carpet giant invests in Nantong plant:

US-based Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer in terms of output and sales, broke ground Tuesday on a new carpet tile facility in Nantong, Jiangsu Province. The factory is scheduled to open in July 2013, the company announced.
Shaw is expected to produce more than a million square meters of carpet tiles in the first year of operations at its Nantong center, which will later reach an annual production capacity of 5 million square meters.
The company has spent over $40 million in the Nantong project, according to Jeff Galloway, the company’s director of global operations. to read.

* Top brands fail tests for quality, city finds:

Some well-known international brands such as Vero Moda and H&M failed quality tests, city authorities said yesterday.

Brands such as New Balance, Edc by Esprit and Mogg Pink were also on the list for quality problems including color fastness, fiber content and pH index, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said. read more.

21:01:23 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* PHL labor market weak, employs 5.5 million children :

The Philippines continues to suffer from a weak labor market despite its 6.4-percent growth in the first quarter of 2012, a senior economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
It also contends with millions of Filipino children who have been forced to trade school for tools in life-threatening work, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).
According to Norio Usui, ADB Philippine country officer, slow poverty reduction and failure to create new jobs are indicators of the prevailing weak labor market in the country. read more.

20:01:23 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vinatexmart stores to double this year:

Vietnam Garment and Textile Fashion Trading Ltd. Co., the owner of the supermarket chain Vinatexmart, is planning to double the number of its supermarkets this year compared to the original target for the year.

Speaking to the Daily, Duong Thi Ngoc Dung, general director of Vinatexmart, said the target set by Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) as the mother company was to open some 20 supermarkets this year, raising the total to around 80. Luckily, with a deep price fall in the property market, Vinatexmart can now speed up its expansion by doubling the target, she added.

Dung said the leasing price has dropped by around 50%, and this is the chance for the firm to expand its Vinatexmart network. The firm has now leased some places with the shortest leasing term of 15 years and an area of 700 to 1,000 square meters. read more in  BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/6.

20:01:23 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Pregnancy send-home plan upsets:

Activists have called the Labour Ministry’s proposal to send pregnant migrant workers back to their home countries a basic violation of human rights.

Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap has proposed that migrant workers who are in an early stage of pregnancy should be sent back to their home countries to deliver their babies, returning to Thailand to resume their work after giving birth.

The minister said this would prevent human trafficking and child labour.
read more. & read more.

20:01:23 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* A Career Forum for Job Seekers Concluded:

The French-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCFC) has just concluded its three-day (June 22-24) Career Forum in the presence of its Chairman Mr. Eric Mousset at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh.
Representatives from the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, the Embassy of France in Cambodia, international institutions, national and international organizations, private companies and some 15,000 people participated in the event, said Mr. Eric Mousset.
Mr. Eric Mousset also said the forum is a good opportunity for entrepreneurs and employers to seek better human resource, and to graduated students and professionals to learn more and seek better jobs in the competitive job market.
read more.

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:

Garment worker demonstrations pay dividends. read more.

19:31:23 local time map of myanmar BURMA-MYANMAR

* Famoso workers wait on arbitration panel decision:

EMPLOYEES at a Mingalardon Industrial Zone garment factory returned to work last week pending a decision by a Ministry of Labour arbitration body on their requests for a pay rise.
Workers from the Japanese-owned Famoso factory went on strike on June 8, demanding an increase in basic pay from K14,500 a month to K30,000.
About 400 workers were allowed to return to work on June 20, despite earlier warnings from management that any employees who continued the strike after June 16 would be fired, a labour rights activist helping the workers said.

Workers from the Famoso garment factory in Mingalardon township, Yangon.
Pic: Yadanar

* Thein Sein calls for a minimum wage and worker protection:

Burmese President Thein Sein on Monday outlined the government’s focus to provide a new minimum wage and its efforts to bring economic development to average workers in rural and urban areas.
At a two-day Social Protection Conference in Naypyitaw, jointly organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and Ministry of Labor and resident UNICEF officials, programs to reduce poverty and economic security were discussed.

In his speech, Thein Sein said, “The basic need of every citizen is comprehensive health care as well as income security or in other words job security. This requirement calls for opportunities such as the access to education and social security. The government has been enacting new laws, amending the existing ones and revoking out-of-date laws as necessary to promote rights of workers and farmers and holding workshops on the establishment of a universal health insurance system for low-income rural people. We are in the process of enacting a law to fix minimum wage for workers to enjoy basic social rights they deserve.” (…)
A garment worker in a Rangoon Industrial Zone said that some workers have received a salary of around 30,000 kyat [about US$ 35], not including overtime.
read more.

* Burma to extend migrant workers’ passports:

Burma will extend the issuance of temporary passports for registered migrants in Thailand by the end of this year, according to Burmese local media.
Since 2009, provisional passports have been issued to about 700,000 out of 2 million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. An estimated remaining 500,000 are undocumented, said 7-Day News.
The passports are part of the process to allow Burmese migrant workers to work and travel legally in Thailand.
A migrant worker in Thailand can earn a daily minimum wage of 300 baht (US$ 9.5) compared to as low as $1 a day in Burma. read more.

 19:01:23 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Apparel orders fall as EU debt crisis lingers:

Garment exports from Bangladesh to its largest destination in the Eurozone have been facing a slowdown as the cautious EU buyers are deferring or placing reduced number of orders due to a prolonged debt crisis there, said major exporters.
With the persistent crisis in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, the overall purchasing power of the consumers in the entire Eurozone has also declined.
Apart from a demand drop, the buyers are also offering lower prices, the exporters said. read more.

Garment workers are busy at a factory in Ashulia. An economic gloom in the European countries casts a shadow on Bangladesh’s exports of apparel items.Photo: STAR

* 3 killed in boiler blast at factory:

At least three people were killed and five others injured in a boiler explosion at a cloth processing factory in Narsingdi town yesterday.
The boiler exploded around 7:30am at M/s Mokbul Hossain Bhuiyan Calendar and Finishing Mill at Shahaprotap. Al Amin, 25, a worker was killed on the spot, said Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Narsingdi Model Police Station.
Broken pieces flew over an area of 1km. Abul Hashim, 12, a student of a nearby madrasa, and Begum, 45, wife of Enamul Hasan, of an adjacent house, died as some of those struck them hard, the OC said. Police recovered the bodies and sent them to Narsingdi Sadar Hospital for autopsies. read more.

* PVHC to import more apparels from Bangladesh:

Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, (PVH Corp), a US apparel company, has expressed interest to import more readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh.
A PVHC delegation, led by its senior vice-president of global human rights and social responsibilities Marcela Manubens, showed the interest when they met President Zillur Rahman at Bangbahabn on Monday.
During the meeting, Marcela Manubens apprised the President that her company has been importing readymade garments from Bangladesh since 1975 and is keen to take more in the days to come. Marcela also said her company is keen to work to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the workers engaged in the garment sector of Bangladesh.
Welcoming the delegation, the President called upon the international buyers to import more readymade garments and other world-class products from Bangladesh considering the competitive prices.
“The Bangladesh government offers various incentives to international buyers for increasing its export volume,” he said. Chairman of Beximco Limited Sohel F. Rahman and secretaries to the President’s Office were Present. to read.

* Bangladesh NBR wants to hike tax on RMG sector:

Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR) has proposed to increase tax on the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector to make the rate equal to that paid by other sectors in due course of time.
Last year, Bangladesh exported apparels worth US$ 18 billion, accounting for nearly 75 percent of the country’s overall exports. However, the clothing sector’s contribution to the nation’s exchequer is low compared to other sectors, as the garment sector enjoys modest tax rates. read more.


* RMG workers on work abstention in Ashulia:

Workers of a garment factory went on a work abstention at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, Tuesday morning demanding pay hike and attendance bonus.
Around 1500 workers of Fahmi Industries Limited in Burir Bazar area started the agitation around 8:00am, Mokhlesur Rahman, inspector of Ashulia Industrial Police, said told The Daily Star.
After police mediated, the garment authorities sat with the workers around 12:30pm to reach a peaceful resolution to the demands, the inspector said.
The meeting was continued till 1:00pm when the report was filed.
The workers of the factory staged the demonstration five days after workers of more than 300 RMG factories in Ashulia returned to their job following an unrest and shutdown since June 11. to read.

* RMG workers rally for pay hike in Ashulia:

Workers from the readymade garments industry in Buribazar, Ashulia, rallied on Tuesday demanding a rise in their pay.
Sources said that about 1,500 factory workers of the Fahmi Group came to its premises in the morning and begun a sit-in on factory premises.
Workers said the management completed the worker’s salary sheet for this month on Monday, but they believe that there is no rise in the salary of any workers, despite the commitment.
Their demands include a rise in monthly salary, a per-day attendance pay hike, a tiffin fee hike and bonuses.  read more.

* US had no hand behind Bangladesh’s RMG unrest-US official:

Charge d’ affaires of US Embassy in Dhaka Nicholas Dean on Tuesday said the USA had no hand behind the recent labour unrest in Bangladesh’s garment sector.
Nicholas said this in the wake of reported remarks by a minister that an influential country was behind the labour unrest in industrial belt Ashulia.
Terming Bangladesh as long-time development partner of the USA, Nicholas said his country does not support anarchy and terrorism, and wants to see peace and stability in Bangladesh.
He was talking to journalists after attending a function near Chittagong port, marking the handover of food grains provided by the US government.
The US government provided some 60,000 metric tonnes of food grains for Bangladesh in aid under ‘Food Programme for Peace’. to read. & to read.

18:31:23 local time map of india INDIA

* Child labourers turn entrepreneurs:

A group of seven teenaged girls, who toiled as labourers in brick klins as child labourers in North 24 Parganas district, have stitched up a new life for themselves by going into the tailoring business.
“The idea for a tailoring business came to us after we joined a vocational training programme a few months ago,” 16-year-old Fazila Khatun, one of the girls, said.
Khatun recalled that her life earlier was limited to mixing soil, making mud balls, moulding, carrying heavy wet bricks for drying and finally putting them into the furnace.
She was one of the 40 girls of Majlispur, which is notorious for using child labour in brick kilns, who were given basic tailoring skills by an international NGO.
read more.

* Karuna seeks PM’s intervention over textile debt restructuring:

DMK chief M Karunanidhi today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct RBI to issue necessary notification for the Rs 35,000 crore debt restructuring package for textile industry announced by the Centre last month, saying any further delay would lead to a large number of textile units and SMEs becoming non-performing assets (NPAs) by June 30. “Though the Finance Ministry announced the package on May 29, 2012, the Reserve Bank of India is yet to issue a notification which would enable individual banks to consider the applications of the textile units which need restructuring facility,” Karunanidhi, whose party is a key ally of UPA, said in a letter to Singh. He said the notifictaion was “essential” to avoid NPA as most of the textile units had already availed the first restructuring facility announced in 2009. Karunanidhi said Tamil Nadu accounted for one-third of the country’s textile business and the survival of several lakhs of workers, handloom weavers, cotton farmers and garment workers depended on the performance of the textile industry in the state.
read more & read more. & read more.

* FIASWI urges textile firms to take benefit of R-TUFS:

Textile entrepreneurs, particularly the powerloom and textile processing unit owners in India’s textile hub of Surat, have been urged by the Federation of Indian Art Silk Weaving Industry (FIASWI) to benefit from the restructured Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (R-TUFS) that the Ministry of Textiles has approved for 2012-13.
A circular issued by Textile Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, on June 15, 2012 stated that on May 18, 2012, the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) under R-TUFS decided to continue R-TUFS for 2012-13. read more.

* Tantra aims to be T-shirt ‘super-specialists’:

Steve Jobs once famously said that ‘you should find what you love to do, then do it’. We love to make T-shirts. We love to tickle, communicate, humour and re-arrange mind-sets, via copy or art. We are artists and writers first, and we use the T-shirt as a canvass, to carry our message.

Tantra was the first company in India to look at the humble T-shirt as an important brand category. When we started in 1997, the field was barren, and filled with monotonous and self-flagellating ‘logo’ Tees.

Suddenly, here was an upstart with funny images, talking to, and not talking down. For the first time, a T-shirt brand spoke the language of currency. You could wear us, like us, write to us, and be our friend. read more.


* Worker’s stir intensifies at Asarwa Mills, production loss 80%:

With workers from all shifts joining strike, Asarwa Mills witnessed over 80 per cent production loss as on Saturday. The total workers striking from work is estimated to be over 800 at the textile mill.

Earlier, just a day after workers called for strike at Ashima’s textile plant, over 600 workers at Asarwa Mills also abstained from work on Friday. In last one week, workers from three textile mills in Ahmedabad called for strike, all demanding 40 per cent wage hikes from their respective employers.
“We had called for strike on Friday, joining workers of other textile mills in strike and had demanded a flat 40 per cent hike in our wages. However, by now almost all workers have joined us, thereby impacting over 80 per cent of production,” said Dinesh Patel, leader of the striking workers at Asarwa Mills which manufactures cotton and man-made fibre yarn at its plant in the Asarwa are of Ahmedabad.
read more.

* Textile mill workers to intensify stir for higher wages:

Underpaid textile mill workers of Ahmedabad will intensify their agitation from Wednesday seeking wage hikes and reinstament of sacked workers.

“We want the Ahmedabad Textile Mills’ Association (ATMA) to nullify their decision to sack striking workers, pay Rs 1600 as an interim relief to mill workers and compensate wages since June 4.

Unless we hear from them by this evening, we will intensify our agitation from Wednesday and not relent until our demand of 40% wage hike is implemented with immediate effect,” said Yashpal Jaiswal of Arvind Ltd. Jaiswal is leading the strike at Arvind Ltd that since June 4 has brought near 8000 workers on streets of more.

* No end to mill workers’ strike:

The strike by textile mill workers continued on Monday after a meeting between managements, the labor department, Ahmedabad Textile Mill’s Association (ATMA) and Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association (TLA) representatives failed to produce a result. The meeting had officials from Arvind, Ashima and Asarawa Textiles mills.

The striking workers are demanding interim relief and the reinstating of sacked laborers, but the meeting ended with TLA members being asked to get a mandate from the workers to represent them. Under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, TLA is the representative and bargaining body for textile workers in Ahmedabad.

Demanding a 40 per cent hike in wages, more than 6,000 workers from Arvind, Ankur, Ashima and Asarawa Textile mills have struck work. It all started on June 4 with Arvind Mill’s Naroda plant workers deciding to abstain from work. The situation became critical as workers shunned TLA and decided to go on strike alone.
read more.

* Textile strike fire may spark inferno:

The workers’ strike raging in four textile companies might engulf others as labour leaders have given an ultimatum to Ahmedabad Textile Mill’s Association (ATMA).

The workers on Wednesday told ATMA to accept their demands of granting interim relief and taking back sacked workers. Otherwise, the leaders warned, they will take the strike to several other textile mills.

“Our demand till now has been falling on deaf ears as neither Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association (TLA) nor ATMA has moved to address our concerns,” said Yashpal Chauhan, a representative of the striking workers. “We have given an ultimatum to ATMA through TLA to give us in writing that they will agree to our demands.” read more.

18:01:23 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Ban raw, semi-finished leather exports- PLGMEA:

Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) has urged the Ministry of Commerce to immediately ban exports of raw, pickle, wet and dry blue and crust hides, skins and split leather from the country.
PLGMEA Patron-in-Chief, Fawad Ijaz Khan said exports of raw and wet blue hides and skins from the country are subject to a duty imposition of 20 percent, but to avoid paying this duty exporters are mis-declaring wet blue leather as crust leather, which is unfortunate. read more.

* Export of crust leather : Any ban, duty will dent leather export- traders:

Any decision of imposing a ban or regulatory duty on export of crust leather by the Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would dent the second largest export sector of the country.
Imposing a ban on export of crust leather is against the joint declaration or agreement already signed by the related associations, Pakistan Leather Garments manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA), Pakistan Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA), Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association (PFMA) and Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA).
According to the accord, all of them agreed specifically not to raise demand for putting any kind of restriction on export of crust and finished leather at individual end.
read more.

map of Asia

* China amending labor law to protect ‘contractors’
* Shoemakers search for survival strategies
* Westward ho! for China’s processing trade
* Carpet giant invests in Nantong plant
* Top brands fail tests for quality, city finds

* PHL labor market weak, employs 5.5 million children

* Vinatexmart stores to double this year

* Pregnancy send-home plan upsets

* A Career Forum for Job Seekers Concluded
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily
1. Garment worker demonstrations pay dividends

* Famoso workers wait on arbitration panel decision
* Thein Sein calls for a minimum wage and worker protection
* Burma to extend migrant workers’ passports

* Apparel orders fall as EU debt crisis lingers
* 3 killed in boiler blast at factory
* PVHC to import more apparels from Bangladesh
* Bangladesh NBR wants to hike tax on RMG sector
* RMG workers on work abstention in Ashulia
* RMG workers rally for pay hike in Ashulia
* US had no hand behind Bangladesh’s RMG unrest-US official

* Child labourers turn entrepreneurs
* Karuna seeks PM’s intervention over textile debt restructuring
* FIASWI urges textile firms to take benefit of R-TUFS
* Tantra aims to be T-shirt ‘super-specialists’
* Worker’s stir intensifies at Asarwa Mills, production loss 80%
* Textile mill workers to intensify stir for higher wages
* No end to mill workers’ strike
* Textile strike fire may spark inferno

* Ban raw, semi-finished leather exports
* Export of crust leather : Any ban, duty will dent leather export- traders

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2