in the news on-line, today, 29 june 2012

22:00:54 local time map of china CHINA

* 10 pct of China’s imported garments substandard:

About 10 percent of China’s imported garments last year failed to meet quality standards, according to an announcement by the country’s quality watchdog on Thursday.

The imports were found to lack clear instructions in Chinese, have weak color fastness and abnormal amounts of fiber and formaldehyde. They also failed PH tests, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement. read more.

22:00:54 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Uniqlo to stop buying ‘mulesed’ Australian wool:

Japanese apparel giant Uniqlo will stop buying wool from Australian suppliers, who practice ‘mulesing’ of sheep, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific, has said.
 Mulesing is a procedure in which farmers cut large chunks of skin and flesh from sheep’s backsides, often without giving any painkiller, using instruments resembling gardening more.

21:00:54 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vinatex IPO plan unravels:

Vietnam’s largest state textile-garment group faces a tough ask to go public on schedule in late 2012.
Vinatex is in high gear to be able to finalise the group and some member firms’ equitisation schemes in late 2012, according to a Vinatex source.
The source also revealed that 80 per cent of Vinatex member units had taken the move which brought upbeat business figures in post-equitising era for not a few of them. For instance, in 2011 Nha Be Garment reported dividend rate from 18-25 per cent and VND65 billion ($3.1 million) pre-tax profits.
Four limited liability and several member units under Vinatex are reportedly in the legal setup stage to climb onboard the equitising bandwagon together with parent company Vinatex. read more.

* Bright prospects for Vietnam-EU relations:

Vietnam and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in Brussels on June 27, opening a new chapter in bilateral relations.
Relations between Vietnam and the EU have developed dynamically since the two sides established diplomatic ties in November 1990. The EU is one of Vietnam’s key partners in various areas, from politics-diplomacy and development cooperation through to trade-investment, and science-technology, as well as in addressing other global challenges. (….)
Meanwhile, the EU has strong demand for a wide range of products, such as rubber latex, handicrafts, footwear, garments, seafood, coffee, tea, and pepper which are all Vietnam’s highly competitive commodities. read more.

* Vietnam reboots SOE equitization, taking cautious steps:

The government of Vietnam has decided to restart the state owned enterprise (SOE) process, even though it has anticipated big difficulties.
The Ministry of Finance has announced that 93 SOEs are planning to be equitized this year, emphasizing that equitizing SOEs is one of the great efforts made by the government to reshuffle the state owned economic sector.
However, Jonathan Pincus, a senior economist of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, has warned that the SOE restructuring would hardy succeed if it depends too much on equitization.
He said that in many cases, the equitized SOEs still do not have to compete with others in the market and do not have to change the corporate governance way, while they still live under the name of SOEs.
He has also warned that the equitization program would face big difficulties as the stock market keeps falling down, while investors’ interest in securities investments has decreased. read more.

21:00:54 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* BIFF & BIL launched:

In spite of a drop to some major markets, Thailand hopes to drive exports of fashion merchandise including garments, footwear and leather goods by 5 per cent this year from US$7.8 billion (nearly Bt250 billion) last year.
As part of the plan, the 30th Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair 2012 (BIFF & BIL) kicked off yesterday at Impact Muang Thong Thani. They run until Sunday.
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol said this event featured more than 700 booths and showcased a comprehensive range of products from about 500 companies under the “Asean Integration: Success and Beyond” theme.
The fair is expected to attract 40,000 local and foreign visitors and generate more than Bt700 million in immediate sales. to read in Briefs The Nation June 28, 2012

* Thai Wacoal puts Bt5mn into Myanmar joint venture:

Thai Wacoal has invested US$160,000 (Bt5.1 million) to set up a joint venture named Pattaya Myanmar Co to expand its textile supply chain to Myanmar.
Pattaya Myanmar Co is a producer and distributor of finished garments. Its production base is in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone 2 of Hlaing Tharyar township, Yangon.
The company said in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday that the joint venture had total registered capital of $800,000. The stakeholder structure consists of Thai Wacoal with 20 per cent, Thai Wacoal’s major shareholders with 20 per cent, Saha Group with 30 per cent and an unconnected company with 30 per cent. Pattaya Myanmar is expected to start operating this year. read more.

* Number of unemployed jumps 76% in single year:

The unemployment rate rose by 76% year-on-year, from 204,000 in May 2011 to 359,000 in May 2012.The figure last month was 0.9%, compared with 1% in April.
Based on the level of education attained, 152,000 of the unemployed were new university graduates holding bachelor’s degrees, 84,000 had secondary-school education, 49,000 high school, 48,000 elementary education and 26,000 with no education at all.

The unemployed in May with a bachelor’s degree rose by 77,000 from the same month last year, according to the National Statistical Office.
The office reported that 157,000 of the unemployed last month were people who have never been employed. Of the 202,000 who have been employed before, 83,000 were from the production sector, 81,000 from the service and trade sectors and 38,000 from the agricultural sector. read more.

21:00:54 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Striking workers at Hong Kong company reject court ruling:

Some 200 striking workers from Hong Kong-owned Ford Glory Cambodia (Manufacturing) Ltd paraded outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court Thursday to reject its ruling that they return to work.

Sam Soeun, head of the National Labour Union of Cambodia, said workers could not accept the ruling by Judge Duch Kimsan as their demands for better working conditions were not met.

About 300 workers from the factory have been on strike since Wednesday last week. Located in Steung Meanchey commune in Meanchey district, Ford Glory employs 476 workers to make baby garments, coats, knitted shirts and pants.
to read.

* Divide over factories’ fixed contracts in Cambodia:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has defended its member factories that use fixed-duration contracts (FDCs), saying it is unions and not workers that oppose their use.

Secretary-general Ken Loo said many factories employed garment workers on such contracts, not only because it is legal to do so, but because workers want it this way.

“Some of these are at the request of the workers,” he said, adding that in some factories, all workers are on FDCs. “It’s the unions that don’t want them.”

This was hardly evident during the second day of a forum involving almost 100 unions and the International Labour Organisation yesterday, when testimonies from union representatives spoke of the difficulties workers, especially those in the garment sector, face under these contracts. read more.

* Garment makers gear up for IPOs:

Two foreign-owned garment manufacturers will submit disclosure documents to Cambodia’s capital market regulator next month, the companies’ underwriter Phnom Penh Securities Firm Plc. said yesterday.

The initial public offerings for the two private companies, expected by the end of the year, should boost action on the Cambodia Securities Exchange. read more.

22:00:54 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* TRISULA to increase consolidated revenue after acquiring TRISCO:

Performance of PT Trisula International Tbk, a manufacturer and distributor of garment, is predicted to be forced by the acquisition of PT Trisco Tailored Apparel Manufacturing.
President Director of Trisula International Lisa Tjahjadi said Trisco donation in last 6 months of this year could reach 30% of the consolidated income.
“The contribution of Trisco’s revenue was about 30%, while the contribution of retail industry was 25%,” he explained after the listing of Trisula in Jakarta, Thursday (06/28/2012).
Throughout the first six months of 2012 the company expected to reap sales worth IDR126 billion. The amount was only 21% of the company’s target at year-end of IDR600 billion.
As for the June’s net profit this year is estimated to reach IDR8 billion. The amount is only around 26.67% of the year-end target of IDR30 billion. (T03/TW)
to read. 
&read more.

20:00:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Bangladesh to build dormitories for female RMG workers:

In order to solve the housing problem faced by female garment workers in ready-made garment (RMG) industrial areas like Ashulia, the Bangladesh Government has decided to build dormitories for these workers.

The Government has directed the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) to carry forward the task.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) has already acquired one acre land in Ashulia for the purpose and has submitted a proposal to the Bangladesh Bank seeking financial assistance in this regard. read more.

* Apparel makers urge govt to review BB’s directives:

Garment makers on Wednesday demanded for keeping the apparel sector out of the central bank’s new rules for loan classification, rescheduling and provisioning as the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector is passing through a critical time. Bangladesh Bank issued two circulars on the rules of loan classification, rescheduling and provisioning on June 14 stating that an ongoing loan operation will be classified in the event of non-repayment of any installment within three months, instead of the six-month duration now in effect. read more.

19:30:54 local time map of india INDIA

* Are mid-value brands fading in burgeoning apparel market?:

Is value a dirty word in the Indian apparel market? Mid-value brands in the $40-billion apparel market are seeing some rough times even as the industry is upbeat about growth.
The industry is rife with stories of brands such as Spykar, Lilliput and Gini & Jony that are either on the block are or are in the process of being sold.
It is very clear that Indian consumers are now spoilt for choice, both in offering and pricing. Therefore only a combination of smart pricing and high brand value will work, say analysts. read more.

* SME exporters enjoy 10% higher profits:

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engaged in exports earn up to 10% higher profits than their peers who sell to the local market. “A larger proportion of SME exporters have operating profit margins of more than 10% than their counterparts selling in the domestic markets,” according to a study of 1800 SMEs conducted by ratings agency Crisil. (…)
The analysis of SMEs in textile sector revealed that exporters have reported marginally better OPMs than peers serving local customers. This variation could be driven by the fact that a sizeable proportion of these exporters are garment manufacturers who undertake contract manufacturing for global merchandisers and brands. As a result they face intense price competition from countries having cheaper labour such as Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. read more.

* India-EU to conclude trade talks by November:

The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma met the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Mr. Karel De Gucht at Brussels and reviewed the status of India-EU Bilateral Investment and Trade Agreement (BITA) negotiations.
Both sides agreed on a roadmap to conclude the negotiations by October-November this year. Minister Sharma said that “after a number of rounds of negotiations, issues of concern to both sides have been identified. We must devote our energies to addressing these issues as expeditiously as possible. India is keen on a successful and balanced outcome of the negotiations at an early date.” read more.

* DMK chief urges PM to expedite textile debt restructuring:

Seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention over textile debt restructuring, DMK Chief M Karunanidhi urged him to direct RBI to issue necessary notification in respect of Rs. 350 billion textile debt restructuring package that the Centre announced on May 29, 2012.
Substantiating the call, the DMK Chief said any further delay in issuance of the notification would result in loans availed by a large number of textile units and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) turning into non-performing assets (NPAs) by June 30. read more.

 * Small firms feel slowdown pinch, cut jobs:

Keshav Dewangan, a third-generation handloom worker, recently lost his job as a a textile power loom unit operator in Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) The reason: the recent slowdown in the US and Europe and its cascading effect on India’s textile sector. Dewangan had never imagined that something called “slowdown” would hit the unit so badly and make him jobless.

“We never heard that due to some economic problem far abroad, our power loom unit here have to bear the brunt,” Dewangan told HT.

According to a latest Labour Bureau report, employment contracted in handloom and powerloom, leather, metal, gems and jewellery segments, mainly dominated by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), due to various factors, with slowdown at the forefront (see graphics).

Another report prepared by the Apparel Export Promotion Council has mentioned that the textile sector has been hit hard due to slowdown, with a large number of people losing jobs in last two years. read more.

* A stitch in time saves a day’s wage:

“Some marks…,” says S. Elizabeth Rani, referring to the label on the shirts she irons all day. Asked if she meant Marks & Spencer, she nods, “That’s the one.”
Even as several customers spend a considerable amount on clothes of international brands made by people like her, she gets a pittance. “With barely Rs. 3,000 in hand, I need to pay my rent, buy food, spend on commute, and save enough to send back home,” says the Tirunelveli native, who came to Chennai 10 years ago in search of a job. read more.

* Ludhiana knitwear industry takes up issues with CM:

The knitwear industry in Ludhiana, a textile and hosiery industry hub in India’s Punjab state, has written to the state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal apprising him of the problems faced by the knitwear industry and asking him to take suitable steps for boosting the industry.
The knitwear industry in Ludhiana is over one hundred years old and enjoys reverence and status of mother industry of Punjab. In spite of being the major revenue generator, the knitwear industry is facing several problems like shortage of labour, high cost of raw materials and electricity, increase in bank interest rates, etc, Knitwear Club wrote to the CM. read more.

* Workers of four more A’bad mills may join strike today:

The efforts of textile mill owners and the Textile Labour Association (TLA) to convince labourers to call off the ongoing strike went in vain on Tuesday.
In fact, on Tuesday, workers threatened to extend the strike and involve more mills in their agitation. Yashpal Jaiswal who has been leading workers’ protest, issued an ultimatum of Tuesday night to textile mills to fulfill all their demands failing which four more mills will go on strike from Wednesday.
Jaiswal said that workers of Arvind’s three other mills — Arvind Intex (which is also known as Nagri Mill) at Gomtipur, Ashoka Spintex at Naroda and Arvind’s denim plant at Santej along with labourers of Soma Textile will join resume strike from Wednesday morning. read more.

* Apparel makers foresee supply crunch:

Apparel manufacturers fear there would be a supply crunch in the coming festive season, as workers at some leading mills in Ahmedabad are on a strike. These manufacturers, who start procuring fabric for the festive season at this time of the year, are already facing problems in procurement.

“We have already been affected due to the current slowdown. Going forward, if the strike continues, there is a huge possibility that there will be a supply crunch in the market, especially during the festive season,” said Rahul Mehta, president of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India. read more.

19:00:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan govt overturns plan to cut gas supply to industry:

The Pakistan government yesterday overturned a decision of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to cut gas supplies to the industry in Punjab from five days to four days a week.

Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain issued directions to the gas company to reverse its decision on the intervention of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma). The SNGPL had notified the gas for the industry in the province on the pretext of creating room for increasing supply of the fuel to the independent power producers (IPPs).

The industry including textile, fertiliser and power sectors in Punjab remained without gas for 200 days during the current fiscal year. The Punjab government estimates a GDP loss of 2-3 per cent to the provincial economy because of energy shortages, which have sparked violent protests by industrial workers in many cities.
read more.

* Cotton growers advised to focus on better management of crop :

Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) has advised the cotton growers to focus on better management of the crop as effects of 16 percent water shortage in the canals of the province are visible on the crop.

A spokesman of the department in an advice issued here on Wednesday urged the cotton growers to adopt the method of ‘water scouting’ to inspect the crop situation and then irrigate the fields. He advised the growers to inspect the field from three different places in the morning. to read.


map of Asia

* 10 pct of China’s imported garments substandard

* Uniqlo to stop buying ‘mulesed’ Australian wool

* Vinatex IPO plan unravels
* Bright prospects for Vietnam-EU relations
* Vietnam reboots SOE equitization, taking cautious steps

* BIFF & BIL launched
* Thai Wacoal puts Bt5mn into Myanmar joint venture
* Number of unemployed jumps 76% in single year

* Striking workers at Hong Kong company reject court ruling
* Divide over factories’ fixed contracts in Cambodia
* Garment makers gear up for IPOs

* TRISULA to increase consolidated revenue after acquiring TRISCO

* Bangladesh to build dormitories for female RMG workers
* Apparel makers urge govt to review BB’s directives

* Are mid-value brands fading in burgeoning apparel market?
* SME exporters enjoy 10% higher profits
* India-EU to conclude trade talks by November
* DMK chief urges PM to expedite textile debt restructuring
* Small firms feel slowdown pinch, cut jobs
* A stitch in time saves a day’s wage
* Ludhiana knitwear industry takes up issues with CM
* Workers of four more A’bad mills may join strike today
* Apparel makers foresee supply crunch

* Pakistan govt overturns plan to cut gas supply to industry
* Cotton growers advised to focus on better management of crop

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