in the news on-line, today, 6 july 2012

21:24:22 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Philippines to persuade Uniqlo for setting up garment unit:

n order to persuade Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. to set up its apparel production factories in Philippines, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is helping the company to develop a market for its Uniqlo brand clothing in the country.
Philippine Trade Undersecretary, Cristino L. Panlilio, said that presently most of the products of the Japanese firm are produced by its partner manufacturing firms in China and other Asian countries, but the Philippine government is optimistic that the firm would soon consider setting up its garment production factories in the country, after achieving significant sales in the domestic market. read more.

20:24:22 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Unskilled workers leave big cities for the countryside:

Unskilled laborers have become unemployed in the enterprises’ campaign to lay off workers to cut down expenses. Meanwhile, trained workers are still lacking.

Doan Kim Chi, a worker of a garment company in Binh Chanh district in HCM City, when returning to the home village on Tet holiday, complained to her relatives that her income had decreased sharply because of few orders. Chi feared that she would have to leave the job when the enterprise lays off workers. If so, she would have to return to the countryside.

In the last two years, Chi earned enough money to feed herself and remit home to the husband and children. However, her income has dropped dramatically since the beginning of the year since the company could not obtain orders from partners.

“The company recently has been slow in paying salaries. Meanwhile, everything is expensive in such a big city like HCM City. I have never seen such big difficulties,” she said. read more.

* Pilot job network set-up for disabled:

Young people with disabilities are offered free sewing courses at Job Training Centre 20-10 under Ha Noi Women’s Association. The capital city has set up a network involving rehabilitation centres, vocational training schools and enterprises to help handicapped people find jobs. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

A network of hospital rehabilitation centres, vocational training centres and potential employers has been set up in the city in the hope of finding permanent work for the disabled.
Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of Ha Noi’s Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department, said 10,000 out of the 90,000 disabled people wanted to earn their own living, but found it hard to overcome society’s discrimination.
Hung said the network, which was inaugurated on Wednesday, would serve as a fishing rod to help them find a stable life.
Nguyen Duc Thang, the head of Employment Department under Ha Noi Employment Introduction Centre (HEIC) claimed it would enable handicapped people aged between 16 and 50 to receive consultancy and health services, go through a rehabilitation process and participate in job-skill training courses. read more.

20:24:22 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ministers outline measures to counter effects of euro-zone crisis:

Economic ministers have outlined measures across six areas to counter the intensifying impact of the euro-zone crisis, as associated risks remain significant despite the agreements reached by European Union leaders last week.

After a meeting chaired yesterday by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that despite a clearer solution emerging from the EU summit, the euro-zone crisis would remain heated for some time, now that Slovakia has become the sixth euro country to seek a bail-out.(….)
lProviding assistance to specific industries: The textile/garment, jewellery and electronics industries have been hit hard by the euro-zone crisis. The Export and Import Bank of Thailand has been assigned to extend liquidity worth Bt100 billion, aside from the export credit insurance facility worth Bt40 billion. read more.

* Network demands release of detainees:

The Network of Family members and People affected by Article 112 was launched yesterday to demand the unconditional release of those detained under the lese majeste law.

Somyot: Former editor has had bail rejected

The group also wants lese majeste suspects to be treated fairly when applying for bail and to receive access to proper medical healthcare.
Sukunya Prueksakasemsuk, wife of lese majeste detainee Somyot, said the network was launched by about 10 people, including relatives of people charged with violating Article 112 _ known as the lese majeste law _ and those who have formerly faced lese majeste charges.
It was launched at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand yesterday.

Somyot was charged with lese majeste over two articles published in the now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine which he edited.
The former labour leader was arrested last April and his bail requests have been rejected repeatedly since. read more. & read more.

* Wage boost irks employers:

More than 80% of employers are unhappy with the government’s 300-baht minimum daily wage policy, the Labour Ministry says.
Employees had also complained that their quality of life had worsened since the government implemented the policy on April 1, Songsri Boonba, deputy permanent secretary for labour, said.
She was speaking after a meeting of the Central Wage Committee (CWC) on Wednesday.
The committee discussed the results of two surveys presented at the meeting.
read more.

* Activists urge rethink over pregnant migrant workers:

Activists yesterday called on Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap to withdraw his proposal to send pregnant migrant workers home.
The measure will do more harm than good for the country’s human rights record, the activists told a seminar held by the Thai Journalists Association yesterday.
Participants from labour, child and health advocacy groups said they were not convinced by Mr Padermchai’s assurances that female workers could return to work in Thailand after giving birth to their children at home.
The minister said the measure would help protect migrants’ children against underage exploitation. read more.

20:24:22 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Migrant abuse claims skyrocket five fold:

Complaints of rights violations of migrant workers had increased more than 500 per cent in the first four months of 2012 compared with the same period last year, rights group Adhoc said yesterday.

The number of individual victims of rights violations, mainly migrant workers in Malaysia and Thailand, had increased by nearly 650 per cent, the group said in its report on the situation of migrant workers, obtained by the Post yesterday.

“Forced overwork, little or no rest time, untreated illnesses, torture, severe physical assault, underpayment, threats [of] being jailed, being forced to continue to work illegally and the cut-off of relationships with family members” were the main violations migrant workers suffered, Adhoc said.

“They are in a job, and they have the right to be treated with dignity and communicate with their family – this is their human right,” Chuon Chamrong, head of the women’s section at Adhoc, said.
read more.

* Union leaders to meet minister after march on capital halted:

Some 4,000 workers from two Taiwanese-owned garment factories in Kandal province marched on Phnom Penh Thursday but were prevented from entering the capital by police.

As police blocked the striking workers, Sat Sathu, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, was seen negotiating with union leaders Rong Chhun and Yang Sophorn.

Both were offered a meeting with Labor Minister Vong Soth later Thursday. Rong Chhun, president the Federation of Cambodian Unions, accepted the offer, while the workers decided to stay put pending the outcome of the discussions. read more.

* Clash thwarts union’s march:

Garment workers from factories owned by Tai Yang Enterprise Co in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district clash briefly with riot police while attempting to march into Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Police clashed with strikers as thousands of garment workers from factories that sell to Levi’s and Gap were blocked as they marched from Kandal province towards the capital yesterday, union representatives said.

The 4,000-strong group’s march, as threatened by Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions president Rong Chhun earlier this week, was thwarted after just 90 minutes, according to May Soph-eaktra, secretary-general of the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU).

“The workers walked along the sidewalk, but police and Labour Ministry officials blocked them from going any further,” he said, adding that several workers had received minor injuries when the two groups clashed.

The workers, from factories owned by Tai Yang Enterprise, have been on strike since June 25 in a quest for travel, accommodation, performance and maternal bonuses. read more.

* Unions reject bonus bargain:

Union leaders yesterday rejected a proposal from Cambodian garment makers to provide US$9 a month for a worker’s housing and transport fees, demanding an additional $1.

The benefits were announced last week after unions said they would lead a large-scale protest in August in a bid for higher salaries.

Unions will meet footwear and garment manufacturers on July 11 to once again discuss the requested benefits, Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said after yesterday’s meeting.

Nang Sothy, co-chair of the Government-Private Working Group on Industrial Relations, said the negotiations were made on the behalf of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

About 700 garment and footwear factories, employing some 650,000 workers, operate in Cambodia, Nang Sothy said. The monthly minimum salary for a worker is $66 with another $7 attendance bonus.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, told the Post previously that the strikes would slow the Kingdom’s garment manufacturing industry. to read.

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

1. Road blocked as strike escalates. read more.
2. Strike wounds slow to heal. read more.

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

3. 3,000 factory workers block road; protests set to continue. read more.

21:24:22 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Exporters ‘not well informed on forex policy’:

The Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) is welcoming, with some caveats, a Bank Indonesia regulation requiring exporters to deposit foreign exchange earnings in local banks, a Kadin member says.

“We have no problem with the regulation. However, we often have issues with local banks that have yet to properly introduce the regulation and its mechanism to exporters,” Kadin member Ade Sudrajat, who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), said during a discussion with Bank Indonesia in Jakarta on Thursday.

Under the central bank’s regulation, exporters must deposit their foreign currency earnings with local banks within 90 days of receiving payments. read more.

* Revision of Decent Wage regulation is in process:

Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar stated revision on Living component in the calculation of the minimum wage is still in the process and negotiations between workers, employers, and government are still ongoing.

 “Everything is still in the process. It’s tripartite meeting is still going on. We’ll see the results of Apindo and union agreements,” minister said when met at the building Kemnakertrans here on Monday.
The Indonesia Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) states that they reject the addition of four components in the calculation of KHL for not being in accordance with their expectations and threatened to hold a massive rally on 12 July if their aspirations are not accommodated. read more with other Media Updates – Better Work Indonesia.

19:24:22 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* BEPZA sees growth in exports, investments:

Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) saw a significant growth in exports and highest ever yearly actual investments during the just-concluded financial year (FY) despite the global economic meltdown and the euro zone crisis, data showed.

According to the BEPZA statistics, it achieved an astounding growth of 13.88 percent in exports and 8.31 percent growth in actual investments over the same period of a year ago. (…..)

“The cheap, highly productive and trained workforce has also prompted the foreign investors to reassess their investment strategies and plan for relocating their investments to Bangladesh,” Rahman added. read more.

* Efficient logistics will help Bangladesh RMG exports:

Effective trade logistics will give Bangladesh a competitive edge in exports of readymade garments (RMG), says a new report, “Consolidating and Accelerating Exports in Bangladesh”, released by the World Bank.
The report predicts that garments, which now constitute three-fourths of Bangladesh’s total exports, will continue to dominate the country’s exports, but encouraging diversification will help guard against shocks and maintain export growth in the longer term. read more.

 18:54:22 local time map of india INDIA

* Lure of jobs lands children in a mess:

When 34 boys fled the Government’s Children Home for Boys at Royapuram here last week, and most of them were rounded up soon after, it appeared to be just another breach of security in such institutions. However, a deeper probe has brought to light a thriving child trafficking racket that runs across Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

An investigation by The Hindu revealed that a group of nine children from Motihari, a small town in the East Champaran district of Bihar, was behind the escape bid. They had been brought to Chennai for “a better life and more opportunities.” The children, in the 13-18 age-group, were lured away from their impoverished parents with promises of employment.

The nine were rescued by Childline, an organisation working for the welfare of children in need of protection, near the Chennai Central Station last week. Childline staff said the children were starving when they found them. A few of them have since been reunited with their families, according to the Superintendent of the Royapuram boys’ home.

They were being taken to Tirupur to work as labourers in the textile industry. The middlemen used a 21-year-old man from Motihari who works in Tirupur to take the children to Chennai. read more.

* “Strategic plan” for labour welfare:

The Union Labour Ministry under Mallikarjun Kharge seems to be waking up to the fast growing labour problems in the country, which need to be attended to urgently. The Ministry claims to have evolved a five-year “Strategic Plan” to deal intensively and extensively with problems of organised and unorganised labour.

It is also significant that, for whatever reason, the Ministry has cared to prominently display its 47-page long Five-Year Strategic Plan (FYSP) on its website last month. Even as a delayed action if the Ministry’s performance matches its professions, it may help it neutralising its critics accusing the Ministry to have remained paralysed due to the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II Government’s corporate-centric anti-labour policies. (…..)

There are other reasons for being sceptic about the Ministry’s “strategy” to deal with the seriousness of the labour situation. Reports show that industrial growth is declining so also growth of exports due to eurozone crisis; thousands have been rendered jobless in the Textile Industry; even land under agriculture is decreasing and above all there is the miserable plight of the Rupee – all these point out that the Labour Ministry’s Strategic Plan is more phoney than real. read more.

* Knitwear Club writes to CM against checks:

The excise and taxation department’s announcement to adopt strict measures like checking bill books at shops and business premises has not gone well with the industry in the city. Members of Knitwear Club have written to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to intervene in the matter.

In their letter, the club’s office bearers including chairman Vinod Thapar, president Darshan Dawer and secretary Narinder Miglani have brought to the CM’s notice that knitwear industry in Punjab is significant in shaping its economy and the country’s trade and that the over-100 years old hosiery industry has enjoyed the status of “mother industry” of Punjab.

“Knitwear industry is facing problems from different departments and the recent announcement made by excise and taxation department of sale tax officers and inspectors being given unprecedented powers is one such glaring example,” read the letter. According to the announcement these officers will regularly sign bill books after checking the purchase and sale in shops or business premises. “The department has left no stone unturned to harass the industry and intervene directly to frustrate them,” said Thapar. read more.

* Goa was birthplace of Indo-Western garments- Wendell Rodricks:

Veteran designer Wendell Rodricks has carried the sartorial legacy of Goa to a new level by documenting it in “Moda Goa” – a first-of-its kind pictorial and illustrative fashion chronicle of the state. He says Goa was the cradle of Indo-Western couture.

“Goa was the birthplace of Indo-Western garments,” Rodricks told IANS in an interview. The book, “Moda Goa” (HarperCollins-India), which he describes as his tribute to his state, takes a look at the factors that shaped Goa’s distinct garment style.

“The Portuguese, who were the first colonisers in 1510, brought with them Western clothes. We took some 80 garments traditional to the Portuguese Malacca Strait – where the Portuguese had married the Chinese,” he said. read more.

* DRI busts ‘Rs 1000-cr’ hawala racket in Ludhiana:

(1 Indian crore = 10 million)
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) claims to have busted a hawala racket in Ludhiana in Punjab, allegedly involving laundering of at least Rs 1,000 crore through different channels. The racket was exposed after a Ludhiana-based exporter allegedly used inflated bills to misuse a duty drawback scheme run by the Union Ministry of Finance and gained incentives worth Rs 60 crore.

Acting on intelligence inputs, the Delhi zonal unit of DRI found that the businessman was using “fake inflated bills” to get incentives of the drawback scheme while exporting “substandard” readymade garments, said DRI officials. They said the exporter, who runs several export firms in Ludhiana, was sending garments to the United States and Middle East countries by allegedly inflating the cost of the exported garments. to read.

* End of season sale offers perk up retail apparels sales:

Hit by 10 per cent excise duty and rising cotton prices, apparel retailers across the country raised the average selling prices of products by 8-10 per cent in April. As this affected sales and stocks piled up, retailers are offering discounts as high as 50 per cent, double than that of what was offered last year.

Unlike previous years, the end-of-season-sale in apparels has begun a good three weeks ahead of schedule. Retailers and manufacturers say that inventory has piled up owing to a steady rise in prices in the past three months. Sales have dropped almost 20-30 per cent.

Apparels, which is one of the fastest selling categories on the retail shelf, have been seeing a slump ever since the price hike came into force. According to some retailers and manufacturers, margins are under severe strain too, owing to high finance charges, labour and production costs, among other things. read more.

* Run up in cotton futures likely:

Cotton (kapas) futures on NCDEX may trade on the higher side as production is expected to fall sharply this year. Most farmers have shifted from growing cotton to other remunerative crops such as guar, castor, pulses and millets.
Cotton sowing has fallen from 1.5 million hectares to 1.3 million hectares for the kharif season 2012-13, according to the Union Ministry of Agriculture. Cotton production is expected to decline by 7.8 per cent to 32.2 million bales in the fiscal 2012-13, said CMIE.

Sowing in Gujarat, one of the largest cotton producing states, is trailing at 0.95 million hectares as of July 2. It was at 1.2 million hectares in the same period last year, said the Agriculture Department of Gujarat. Sowing in most of the other cotton growing States has also fallen. In Punjab, it was 60,000 hectares, Rajasthan, 54,000 hectares, and Haryana, 59,000 hectares. read more.

* Indian cotton prices rebound on increased demand:

Cotton prices in Indian markets are on a rise owing to increased demand from spinners and textile mills.
 On July 4, the benchmark Shankar 6 variety of cotton was trading in Gujarat at Rs. 34,500 per candy of 356 kg each. In the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, the price was quoted at around Rs. 33,500 per kg, while it was in the range of Rs. 35,000-35,300 in south India.
 “The prices of cotton have increased by Rs. 2,000-2,500 per candy during the last fortnight,” informed Mr. Paresh Valia of Asha Cotton Industries to fibre2fashion.
read more.

* Water shortage forces Grasim to shut M.P. plant:

Nagda unit, making staple fibres & chlor-alkali, will re-open when catchment areas get rain
Water shortage may force Grasim Industries to suspend operations at its Nagda plant in Madhya Pradesh from Wednesday.
The Aditya Birla Group company has already cut production of viscose staple fibre (VSF) and halved output of Chlor-Alkali from the rated capacity of 258,000 tonnes a year.
In a press release, the company said it had to curtail production due to the delay in the onset of monsoon and the consequential water shortage. “The plant is likely to be closed on July 3,” it added. read more.

* India’s apparel sales plummet in FY12:

Impacted by poor exports, India’s ready-to-wear market grew by a meagre five percent during last fiscal to be a Rs. 1,100 billion market, compared to 15 percent year-on-year growth achieved during 2010-11.
 Last fiscal, India exported apparels worth around Rs. 700 billion, according to the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI).
 The deceleration in growth is because the EU and the US, which account for about 70 percent of India’s organized garment exports, are facing financial crisis, said CMAI President Mr. Rahul Mehta.
 Liberal imports from Bangladesh and other countries are also impacting the growth of India’s domestic apparel industry, he added. read more.

* Magic carpets:

Magic carpets An Indian employee checks reels of thread on a carpet weaving machine at a factory in the Bari Brahmana industrial area of Jammu on Tuesday. According to recent local newspaper reports, the Jammu and Kashmir State Government has proposed setting up four carpet production centers to give a boost to the industry, which they envisage will constitute a platform for economic development for much of the population in the Himalayan state. Photo: AFP

18:24:22 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Recommendations finalised to save textile sector:

Textile Ministry seeks exemption from load sheddingThe Ministry of Textile Industry has finalised recommendations for saving the textile sector from the negative impact of power and gas load shedding, seeking complete exemption from load shedding, freezing power tariff for at least six months and changes in rates of duties.

According to a brief of the Ministry of Textile Industry presented in the National Assembly’s (NA) Committee on Textile Industry’s meeting, the above agenda items relate to energy crisis for which briefing will be made by the respective departments. There is no agenda item relating to this ministry in this meeting. However, in the last meeting of the NA Standing Committee on Textile Industry held on May 23, 2012, inter-alia the following two decisions related to the ministry were taken, the committee unanimously recommended that a comprehensive report be submitted in the next meeting on the suggestions and proposals of the representatives of association on the crises of power. read more.

* Cotton cess increased to Rs 50 per bale:

The federal government has approved a cess of Rs 50 per bale, replacing the current rate of Rs 20 per bale with the condition of a functional restructuring of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) with All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) poised to occupy all senior positions. The PCCC, established under Cotton Cess Act, 1923, is engaged in cotton research and development.

It operates through funds generated by cotton cess levied on each cotton bale exported or consumed by the industry. The Rs 20 cess per bale has been effective since July 1, 2006. Official documents obtained from Ministry of Textile Industry revealed that in a meeting of PCCC held under the chairmanship of the then Minister of Food and Agriculture on December 21, 2010, it was decided to increase the cess rate from Rs 20 to Rs 50 per bale from January 1, 2011. This decision was endorsed by all more.

map of Asia

* Philippines to persuade Uniqlo for setting up garment unit

* Unskilled workers leave big cities for the countryside
* Pilot job network set-up for disabled

* Ministers outline measures to counter effects of euro-zone crisis
* Network demands release of detainees
* Wage boost irks employers
* Activists urge rethink over pregnant migrant workers

* Migrant abuse claims skyrocket five fold
* Union leaders to meet minister after march on capital halted
* Clash thwarts union’s march
* Unions reject bonus bargain
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post
1. Road blocked as strike escalates
2. Strike wounds slow to heal
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily
3. 3,000 factory workers block road; protests set to continue

* Exporters ‘not well informed on forex policy’
* Revision of Decent Wage regulation is in process

* BEPZA sees growth in exports, investments
* Efficient logistics will help Bangladesh RMG exports

* Lure of jobs lands children in a mess
* “Strategic plan” for labour welfare
* Knitwear Club writes to CM against checks
* Goa was birthplace of Indo-Western garments- Wendell Rodricks
* DRI busts ‘Rs 1000-cr’ hawala racket in Ludhiana
* End of season sale offers perk up retail apparels sales
* Run up in cotton futures likely
* Indian cotton prices rebound on increased demand
* Water shortage forces Grasim to shut M.P. plant
* India’s apparel sales plummet in FY12
* Magic carpets

* Recommendations finalised to save textile sector
* Cotton cess increased to Rs 50 per bale

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
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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

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