in the news on-line, today, 11 july 2012

09:13:45 local time map of china CHINA

* Small firms in Zhejiang confront ‘life or death’ struggle to survive:

With export markets in the grips of a global slowdown, domestic wages rising and bank financing hard to come by, China’s smaller, mostly privately-owned businesses are struggling to survive.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Zhejiang Province southwest of Shanghai, one of the nation’s cradles of small enterprise.

The province is home to an estimated 3 million small and medium-sized businesses, which are generally defined as companies with under 300 employees.

“It’s not just a bottleneck we’re facing; it’s a matter of life or death,” said Andy Jin, the second generation of what started as family-owned textile business in Tonglu County.

Jin said the business once ranked among China’s top 500 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), making apparel for global brands such as Burberry and Guess. In 2006, his father, sensing that such manufacturing was going to hit tougher times, sold the clothing factory and the family became garment industry middlemen.
read more.

* Rate of wage hikes slows as does GDP:

Workers in more developed areas such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong received double digit wages increases last year although the growth rate of their pay declined slightly, according to Tuesday.

The news portal gathered information from 23 provincial and municipal-level statistics bureaus, which had released average salary information in 2011. It found that workers in Fujian Province had the biggest pay increases at 19.4 percent. Their wages also had the fastest growth rate, which was 5.5 percentages points higher than in 2010. read more.

* Socialist market economy turning point for China- People’s Daily:

Good education, housing, medical care and insurance are within the reach of more Chinese since the adoption of a market economy, according to a Tuesday commentary in the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The formation and improvement of China’s socialist market economy has reshaped the lives of 1.3 billion people and exerted an influence on the future of the whole world, wrote Ren Zhongping.

In the past 20 years, the most populous nation has become the world’s second-largest economy and has stood among middle-income countries in terms of its per capita gross domestic product, Ren said.

China turned itself from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market and became the world’s biggest exporter and a member of the World Trade Organization, Ren said.
read more.

* China’s proud new luxury brands on the rise:

For many years designer Guo Pei drew inspiration for her luxury clothes collections from travelling abroad, but recently she decided to focus solely on China’s culture.

The bubbly 44-year-old’s move brought her company into a small but growing and increasingly influential club of luxury Chinese brands that are having success by focusing on their country’s centuries-old heritage.

Guo’s 2012 collection draws inspiration from China’s imagery and folklore – red and gold dresses covered with scales to mark the Year of the Dragon and other clothes with hand-embroidered hems and sleeves.

“After 2008 I realised how proud I was to be Chinese. In my last collection that is what I wanted to express. I wanted to speak about my country: its culture, its people,” said Guo, perfectly groomed in an organza white dress.

China has in recent decades become known as the workshop of the world, with tens of thousands of factories pumping out cheap products for shops globally sporting a ‘Made in China’ label that often evokes poor quality. read more.

* Li Ning projects profit drop:

It is time for Li Ning Company to resume sponsorship of high-end sports events and adjust its brand positioning to establish a clear image in both domestic and overseas markets, analysts said Tuesday, after the firm denied reports of bankruptcy of an overseas subsidiary.

Li Ning Monday denied a report that its Spain subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy, saying only a licensee was involved and it will have limited effect as Spain contributed a minute portion for the brand’s revenue.

“Li Ning should work harder to forge partnerships with high-profile sporting events or organizations like its tie-up with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA),” Chen Shixin, a sports brand observer at Hangzhou -based market portal, told the Global Times Tuesday.

The company announced in June that it would become the CBA’s sportswear sponsor for five seasons till 2017. read more.

09:13:45 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* International Women’s Alliance recognizes exemplary women in the struggle:

Four women from different parts of the world were recognized as “Women of Valor” during the first general assembly of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) held in Manila early this month.

The four women were honored for their “decades-long service to the people and for their indispensable contribution to the struggle for women’s liberation and in moving forward the people’s struggles for national and social liberation, sovereignty and self-determination.”

One of them has been working against racism and discrimination against migrant workers. Another is waging a battle against occupation of Palestine by US-Zionist regime. Two others, who came from the marginalized sectors, are leaders of mass movements in Argentina and the Philippines. (…..)

Icon of women’s struggle in Argentina

Cleila Iscaro, 83, is a revolutionary woman from Argentina.

Iscaro belongs to a working class family. In 1943, she was forced to work in a textile factory at the age of 15. Her father and brothers were workers in the construction industry. Through her family who embraced the cause of the Russian Revolution, she became enlightened to the ideas of communism. Being communists, her family suffered from police raids, imprisonment and torture when she was growing up.
read more.

08:13:45 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Nghe An licenses 24 projects in first half:

The Nghe An provincial Department of Planning and Investment recently granted licenses to 24 domestic investment projects valued at a total of more than VND1.08 trillion.
These newly-licensed projects are in the mineral, industrial, commercial and medical sectors, and forestation.
Two FDI projects on garments and textiles and electronic components worth US$30.5 million in total were also approved.

Agencies, sectors and authorities in Nghe An are continuing to improve the business and investment environment through “one-stop-shop” mechanisms, hoping to attract more FDI projects. The province expects to attract six more FDI projects with total registered capital of US$100-120 million in 2013.
Nghe An will focus on project quality, investor experience, and the local socio-economic development plan, giving priority to hi-tech projects that will create jobs for many workers. to read.

* Vietnam considers setting up super-ministry to supervise SOEs:

The proposal to set up a general department in charge of managing and supervising capital at state owned enterprises, which the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has made to the government, has raised controversy.
Economists believe that supervising the use of state’s capital at SOEs is a very important and urgent task for now, especially after a lot of problems have been found at big economic groups.

However, the model of such an institution in charge of managing and supervising SOEs suggested by MOF, has not been applauded by the economists. It’s still unclear about the apparatus of the institution. Meanwhile, in many cases, the key does not lie in the organization, but in the apparatus and the way the institution operates. read more.

08:13:45 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Public nominate Somyot for human rights reward:

Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund Prize for Outstanding Human Rights Defenders.

On 11 July, Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund will give out Somchai Neelapaijit Award to honor and support outstanding human rights defenders. Dr Charnvit Kasetsiri, former Rector of Thammasat University, will be the President of the Ceremony.

This award has started with an open nomination of the general public. There were more than 20 individuals and organizations that were nominated for the award. The Committee of Somchai Neelapaijit Fund shortlisted five individuals out of which one will be given this award. The rest will be given certificates in recognition of their works. The five names include individuals and organizations that are known publicly as well as those who work behind the scene. They all have recognizable records in the fight for rights in the judicial system, labor rights, community rights, and others.
read more.

08:13:45 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers fight for their union:

More than 300 workers from Horus Industrial Corp, a factory that makes sportswear for Puma and Nike in the capital’s Meanchey district, continued their six-day strike yesterday, demanding the reinstatement of workers and union officials who were sacked in June.

Federation Union for Cambodia Workers president Huy Sambath said Horus discriminated against members of the union, which had only recently been formed, and had crushed it after discovering its leaders’ identities.

“They sacked the union officials after we sent a letter informing the company of the names of those union officials,” he said, adding that the firings had been the last straw that prompted workers to strike.

About 300 workers from Horus Industrial Corp, a factory that makes sportswear for Puma and Nike, protest yesterday in Meanchey district. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
read more.

* Union boss accused of strike incitement:

The president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions has been summonsed to Kandal Provincial Court to answer incitement and defamation allegations levied against her by the owner of the strike-plagued Tai Yang Enterprise factories.

The court complaint comes ahead of major negotiations today in the seemingly irresolvable dispute between thousands of workers at the Tai Yang factories, which supply Levis and Gap, and factory officials.

“KiKi Wang, the company director-general, filed a complaint against the president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, who led the workers to hold the illegal strike that caused the factory to lose more than US$10,000 per day,” Tai Yang Enterprise administrative manager Ou Meng Hour said yesterday.

Hour said his company had never had problems, but Yang Sophorn, president of CATU, incited the workers to illegally strike for the past 14 days, causing a massive profit loss.

CATU’s claims that “thousands” are striking and that the company has abused workers’ rights are simply untrue, Meng Hour protested.  read more.

09:13:45 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Industrial Sector Production Declines 5%:

Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) said the industry sector declined 5% during the first semester of 2012 compared to the same period last year.

Apindo Chairman Sofyan Wanandi said the most declined industry were steel and textile sectors. “The decline was mostly caused by the declining sales in domestic and foreign market,” he told Bisnis, Tuesday (10/7).

Decline in the steel sector was due to hampered raw materials supply. While for the textile industry, the decline in demand caused textile export to decline. “in textiles, we also lose competitiveness with imported goods.”  read more.

* Cultural evolution on show at JakCloth 2012:

Torn skinny jeans, old-fashioned glasses and band shirts; it looks like 1990s America has invaded Jakarta’s pop culture scene.

What older generations may consider degenerate, local “punks” have adopted in something that resembles the West in past decades. The culture consists of a certain atmosphere of hard rock, darkened denim, skateboards and vividly rebellious graphic T-shirts.

These elements permeated this year’s Jakarta Clothing Expo, called Summerfest, encompassing the pop culture of this generation. (….)

Independent clothing has changed the Indonesian clothing industry, and Summerfest has given these stores the opportunity to display their revolutionary impact on Indonesian pop culture. The designs themselves are, however, not necessarily innovative but rather what many would refer to as “avant-garde”. The more prominent pattern among the selection of clothes is its grunge-like style, and that most of the apparel appears somewhat brooding. read more.

07:13:45 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* US firms won’t take risk to buy Bangladeshi garments- Mozena:

US Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan Mozena on Tuesday said many American companies have raised their concern of buying ready-made-garment products from Bangladesh after the killing of a labour leader.
“US companies want to buy products from Bangladesh because Bangladesh is a good country, good products, good people, but they are very concern about labour issues, safety at work place and freedom of association in Bangladesh,” he said.
These companies will not take risk of their reputation, he said while speaking at a Meet-the-Press organised by the Jatiya Press Club.

Mozena said the labour issue and the killing of garment union leader Aminul Islam in early April, is an issue of considerable concern and tremendous disappointment as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) has filed a petition with the US authorities raising their concern and pressing for suspending Bangladesh’s access to GSP facilities.
read more.
& read more & read more.

* FDI growth trend:

We are indeed happy to note that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country touched the highest mark last year rising by 24.42 per cent to $1.13 billion despite a host of infrastructural and political adversities. A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) also says that the biggest portion of FDI went to the garment sector while the second and third biggest ones went to the banking, and power and gas sectors respectively. All these are good news which undoubtedly shows the tremendous resilience of our economy as well as our work force. read more. & read more.

* Rehabilitate people living on hill slopes:

Speakers here at a roundtable yesterday stressed coordinated initiatives of government and non-government organisations and law enforcement agencies to rehabilitate the people living on risky hillsides in Chittagong and to discourage habitation there.
The meeting titled “Mass killing in landslide: prevention and our task” was arranged by Prothom Alo at Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) auditorium.
The low-income group people could be rehabilitated on 25 acres of land, whereas right now they are occupying around 525 acres of hilly land in the city, suggested the speakers.
“A lot of garment workers are living on the hill slopes,” he said, adding that the garment owners should construct dormitories for their workers. “It may reduce the rush of the poor workers to the hills.” read more.

* Bus kills Hamim Group GM:

An official of Ha-Meem Group, a leading garment maker, was killed as a bus ran over him at Palashbari area of Ashulia in the city Tuesday morning.
The deceased Moktar Hossain, 45, son of late Asgar Ali, hailed from Orakanda of Rajbari sadar upazila, was General Manager (Production) of Hamim Group.
Quoting locals police said the victim was waiting for his official vehicle to go to office at Palashbari bus stand on Nabinagar-Kaliakoir road when an Abdullahpur-bound bus ran over him from behind leaving him dead on the spot around 8:35am.
Angry locals vandalised the bus after the accident.
On information, police rushed to the spot and recovered the body bringing the situation under control.
Badrul Alam, a sub-inspector of Ashulia police station, told The Daily Star that they seized the bus.
He, however, said driver and helper of the bus managed to flee the scene.
A case was filed in this connection with Ashulia police station. to read.

06:43:45 local time map of india INDIA

* Textile industry to tap new markets for export growth:

The textile industry is hopeful of meeting the revised enhanced export target by tapping into new markets.Despite demand slowdown, the Government had fixed textile export target at $40.5 billion (about Rs 222,750 crore) for this fiscal against $33 billion (Rs 180,000 crore) achieved last year. The export target includes apparel, handicrafts and carpets.

Inaugurating the National Garment Fair on Monday in Mumbai, Ms Kiran Dhingra, Textiles Secretary, said though the Textile Ministry is concerned over the demand slowdown in major western countries such as the US and Europe, new markets like Latin America, Africa and West Asia have good potential.

“After sops were announced in the FTP, exporters have responded positively and based on it we have revised this year’s textiles exports target upwards from $38 billion to $40.5 billion,” she said. read more.

* Textile bandh to oppose VAT imposition today:

The Assam Textile Merchants’ Association (ATMA) has called a day-long textile trade bandh in the state on Tuesday against the government’s decision to impose five per cent value added tax (VAT) on textiles.

“Commoners will be the worst sufferers of the government’s decision to impose 5 per cent VAT on textiles. Though Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Nagaland, Goa and Delhi had imposed VAT on textiles in the past, they decided to withdraw their decision after the move badly affected textile business. Various organizations across the state have supported us and we urge the Assam government to revoke its decision”, Subhkaran Maloo, the president of ATMA, told the media here on Monday. read more.

* No relaxation for textile debt recast:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will not allow any special dispensation for loans to be restructured by banks for the textile industry, as only 20 per cent of units in the sector are under stress.
Industry representatives are to meet finance ministry officials on Friday to discuss the debt recast issue. read more.

* FTA with EU soon, to benefit textile exports:

In a move that could improve the weakening sentiment in the Indian textile industry, the government is set to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) by the end of the current calendar year.
Revealing this on the sidelines of the 55th National Garment Fair organised by the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), Kiran Dhingra, secretary, ministry of textiles, said, “We hope the FTA with the EU would be signed by November– December.” read more.

* Liquidity-easing measures- mixed view in Tirupur:

High cost of funds a big problem for sectors like textiles
Bankers’ joint requisition to Reserve Bank of India on Monday asking for liquidity-easing measures in the forthcoming monetary policy review is been viewed in a mixed manner by Tirupur Inc.
A cut in the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and also in the short-term bank rates, as sought by the banks, will definitely be a boon to cash-starving sectors like apparel industry and to seekers of home/ vehicle loans. read more.

* Puducherry textile workers urge CM to secure aid for mills:

Textile workers in Puducherry have asked Chief Minister N Rangasamy to secure a Central Government package to strengthen three local textile mills operating under the Government of Puducherry.
The Puducherry-based Textile Labour Union said the three textile mills – Swadeshi Cotton Mills, Sri Bharathi Mills and Anglo French Textile Mill, provides livelihood to several workers, and are also a source of revenue for the government.
In a press release, the Union President D Ravi suggested that the CM should move a resolution at the forthcoming Budget session to push the Centre to sanction a grant of five billion rupees for upgradation of the three textile mills. to read.

* Indian apparel sector anticipates good festive season:

After witnessing flat sales growth in the summer season, the Indian apparel sector is expecting the sales to bounce back during the upcoming festive season.
“In the first half of 2012, the mood was very nasty. The summer season, on a like-to-like basis over the last year, was very flat. But now, I am seeing positive signs and I expect the clothing sector to grow by 5-10 percent year-on-year in the festive season,” Mr. Rahul Mehta, President, The Clothing Manufacturers’ Association Of India (CMAI), told fibre2fashion.
Giving reasons for his positive outlook, he says, “The economic conditions are often dictated by mood rather than reality and the mood of the country appears to be changing. The Prime Minister taking over the Finance Ministry has given positivity to the entire mood. There are also expectations that FDI in multi-brand retail will be allowed. Moreover, there are expectations that there will be reduction in interest rates.”
“I also do not foresee any supply crunch during the festive season as the workers’ strike in some textile mills in Ahmedabad has ended. Hence, I anticipate a fairly good festive season ahead,” he adds. to read.

* Garment workers: paying the price for globalizing capitalism:

By Evie Soli and Loes de Kleijn
– I had these girls from Pondicherry coming over. They were young garment workers specialized in production of leather bags. For a day’s work they earned 40 to 50 Rs. I purposely took them to the mall. At entering the mall the security guard frowned at us; if it were not for me he would have probably showed them the door. I took them to the section of Hidesign and there they stood eye in eye with the product they had made in a shady factory in Pondicherry. I could see the shock in their eyes when we came to know the price of the bag; 4500 Rs. One of them reacted ‘we don’t even earn that much in a month, how can they do this?’
‘To me this demonstrated how India’s workers have become detached from the rest of India’s society; they are consumers like anyone of us, but they are unable to consume their own products’, says Geeta Menon, a women’s rights activist who we encountered in our quest to learn more about the garment industry in Bangalore. Since the 1970s Menon has been working for women’s rights all over India and its is through her involvement that she tries to connect the marginalization of women in the lowest classes of India’s society and women as most exploited in India’s growing unorganized labor sector. It is at the bottom of society that illiterate and uneducated women see no other choice for the survival of their families than to enter the garment sector. This sector is characterized by poor working conditions, low wages and immense working pressure. According to Menon, it is women at the bottom of the production chain that pay the price for globalizing capitalism:
 ‘Pressure on the workers has been intensified when manufacturers take on impossible deadlines due to increased competition. Working hours of 12 hours a day without proper rest have become normal, and on top of that workers are forced to work overtime. In many factories there is no sufficient access to toilets, toilet breaks are strictly limited and workers are not given time to eat. Consequently this is compromising their health, demonstrated by an ever counting increase of asthmatic disorders due to dust and fibers, increasing cases of kidney failure due to lack of toilet breaks, and an escalating number of suicides among workers. In addition, many workers report about sexual harassment at the workplace, meanwhile there are no facilities such as sexual harassment committees that can protect these women.’
read more.

06:13:45 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile export target missed:

The government would not be able to achieve the target of $15 billion set for textile exports for 2011-12, the National Assembly was informed on Monday.

In a written reply, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim listed four major reasons which hindered achieving the textile export target: decrease in cotton prices worldwide; non-availability of gas to textile units; shortage of electricity; and increase in cost of production due to inflation.

He further informed the assembly that exports to the tune of $8.6 billion were recorded from July 2011 up to March 2012, indicating that the target was not likely to be achieved.
The government had set the export target of $10 billion during 2010-11 which was surpassed by $4 billion, he said. read more.

* Pakistan earns $425 million from cotton export:

Pakistan has earned $ 425 million from export of cotton while $ 320 million was spent on importing the commodity during last fiscal year 2011-12. Well-informed sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that Pakistan exported 1.5 million cotton bales in 2011-12 worth $ 425 million. “About 1 million cotton bales worth $ 320 million have been imported from India, China and other countries.

In this sense cotton traders have added up to $ 105 million to the national exchequer during last fiscal year”, sources added.

The target set for cotton for 2011-12 was 15 million bales. Despite floods and severe rains in Punjab and Sindh, the production of cotton remained as high as 14.8 million bales. Although floods took a toll of about 2 to 2.5 million bales yet the country managed to sustain a reasonably good cotton production. read more.

map of Asia

* Small firms in Zhejiang confront ‘life or death’ struggle to survive
* Rate of wage hikes slows as does GDP
* Socialist market economy turning point for China
* China’s proud new luxury brands on the rise
* Li Ning projects profit drop

* International Women’s Alliance recognizes exemplary women in the struggle

* Nghe An licenses 24 projects in first half
* Vietnam considers setting up super-ministry to supervise SOEs

* Public nominate Somyot for human rights reward

* Workers fight for their union
* Union boss accused of strike incitement

* Industrial Sector Production Declines 5%
* Cultural evolution on show at JakCloth 2012

* US firms won’t take risk to buy Bangladeshi garments- Mozena
* FDI growth trend
* Rehabilitate people living on hill slopes
* Bus kills Hamim Group GM

* Textile industry to tap new markets for export growth
* Textile bandh to oppose VAT imposition today
* No relaxation for textile debt recast
* FTA with EU soon, to benefit textile exports
* Liquidity-easing measures- mixed view in Tirupur
* Puducherry textile workers urge CM to secure aid for mills
* Indian apparel sector anticipates good festive season
* Garment workers: paying the price for globalizing capitalism

* Textile export target missed
* Pakistan earns $425 million from cotton export

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

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