10:06:54 local time CAMBODIA
* Arrest of bloodied union worker sends message to visiting dignitaries as to the state of freedom of expression in Cambodia:
Press Release –
Phnom Penh, 11 July 2012
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) condemns the beating and arrest of a peaceful demonstrator, Long Panha, by the authorities today at Wat Botum in Phnom Penh. Mr. Long, an employee of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), was taking part in a peaceful demonstration by employees of the Tai Yang (recently renamed Tai Nan) factory who had gathered in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park early this morning with the intention
of walking to Wat Botum to submit a petition to the Cabinet of Prime Minister
Hun Sen calling for a resolution to an ongoing dispute with the factory.
Today’s protest was the latest in a series of protests that have held since 25 June by the workers from the factory who are calling for, amongst other things, higher levels of compensation than that offered by the factory for the severance of their contracts following the change in the factory’s name. At around 7am, approximately 500 workers from the factory gathered in the capital’s Freedom Park. After an hour of speeches from individuals including CCU President Rong Chhun, the workers moved to walk towards Wat Botum to submit their petition. They were immediately surrounded by a force of between 200 and 300 military police in riot gear who had been waiting nearby and were prevented from leaving the freedom park. After a short
stand-off, it was agreed that twenty representatives would be permitted to leave the Freedom Park and to deliver the petition at Wat Botum.
After submitting the petition at Wat Botum, the twenty representatives – a group that included Rong Chhun and Long Panha – refused police requests to vacate the adjoining public park, explaining that they wanted to rest for a short time after walking across town. Police and military police surrounded Rong Chhun as the workers tried to usher him from the area, fearing that he would be arrested. In the melee that followed, a mixed group of police and military police turned on Long Panha, beating him viciously across the head with batons. He was pulled to the ground and held in a prone position, blood gushing from his face, before being hauled by his arms and legs into the back of a nearby police van which sped him from the scene to the office of the Phnom Penh Police Commissariat. At the time of writing, Mr. Long remains in police custody.
Responding to today’s events, CCHR President Ou Virak commented:
This incident represents yet another shameful attempt by the Phnom Penh authorities to silence peaceful protestors in an effort to present a picture of stability in
the country to visiting dignitaries. In attacking Long Panha in this manner, the authorities have succeeded in giving visiting representatives from the countries of ASEAN as well as from China, Japan, South Korea and the United States a very clear example of the consequences that peaceful protestors in this country face, when they gather together to call for fair and equitable treatment.
* Police let 20 worker representatives petition Hun Sen:
Authorities allowed 20 representatives of about 500 factory workers petition Prime Minister Hun Sen Wednesday after they were refused permission to hold a march, sources said.
The sources said the workers, led by Cambodian Confederation of Unions President Rong Chhun, had gathered earlier at Freedom Park where they scuffled with police led by Phnom Penh Police Commissioner Touch Narong.
At a meeting at Phnom Penh City Hall Tuesday, authorities decided to let the confederation present the petition to Hun Sen on behalf of workers at Taiwanese-owned garment factories Tai Yang Enterprises and Camwell Mfg Co.
The workers are seeking at least $305 in annual bonuses from the two companies which are said to have been merged into an affiliate known as Tai Nan (Enterprises) Cambodia Co.
They are also seeking $15 in rental and transport allowances, $15 for milk for mothers who have just delivered and $15 in other bonuses each month.
Some 4,000 workers from the Taiwanese companies in Kandal province attempted to march on Phnom Penh last week but were prevented from entering the capital by police.
Tai Yang Enterprises employs some 3,500 workers to make jeans, pants and shorts. Camwell has about 2,400 workers making the same products. to read.
* Bloody crackdown on garment strike in Phnom Penh:
A union employee representing striking workers from a factory that supplies Levi’s and Gap was left a bloodied mess near Wat Botum yesterday after police allegedly attacked him.
According to rights groups, police set upon Long Panha, of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), who was among a group of 20 unionists who had marched from a protest in Freedom Park to deliver a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
A video posted on YouTube yesterday shows police armed with sticks and shields forcing Panha to the ground before carrying him by his hands and feet to a police truck while blood dripped from his face. read more.
* Cambodia’s garment manufacturers, union leaders reach agreement on wage hike:
Cambodia’s garment and footwear manufacturers on Wednesday agreed to add 10 U.S. dollars to the monthly wage of the workers in the country’s garment and footwear industries.
The agreement between the manufacturers and union leaders was reached under the negotiation of Minister of Labor Vong Sauth.
According to the deal, the manufacturers agreed to provide 7 U. S. dollars a month for house rent or transport fee and another 3 U. S. dollars as attendance bonus for garment and footwear workers.
The wage hike negotiation was made after the unions warned late last month that they would stage a large-scale protest in August to demand salaries hike.
Nang Sothy, co-chair of the Government-Private Working Group on Industrial Relations, said the negotiations were held at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The country has about 700 garment and footwear factories, employing some 650,000 workers.
With the increased amount, from Sept. 1 onwards, a worker will receive the monthly minimum salary of 73 U.S. dollars plus 10 U.S. dollar attendance bonus.
The garment industry is Cambodia’s largest foreign exchange earner. Last year, the sector exported products worth 4.24 billion U.S. dollars, up 25 percent from a year earlier. to read & to read.
* Ministry, factories strike deal:
About 600,000 workers in the lucrative garment and footwear industries, roughly 95 per cent of the sector’s work force, will soon take home an extra US$10 a month, the Ministry of Labour said yesterday.
Barely an hour after a protest involving garment workers at the capital’s Freedom Park erupted into violence (see story on page 3), the ministry announced at about 11am it had struck a deal with employers to pay workers the bonuses beginning Sept 1.
Minister of Labour Vong Sauth said employees would receive a transport or accommodation bonus of $7 per month and $3 per month on top of their existing attendance bonus.
“First, the employers agreed to provide $9 per month, but on behalf of the government, I asked the employer to add $1 more,” he said. read more.
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
10:06:54 local time VIET NAM
* TPP talks tough for Vietnam over yarn-forward issue:
Several Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations support the yarn-forward principle set by the U.S., while others, including Vietnam, disagree.
Prior to the beginning of the 13th TPP round of negotiations last Monday, one of the two relevant parties must make concessions on the issue of the origin of textiles and garments exported to the U.S. so that TPP negotiations can continue to proceed.
This round of talks is taking place in San Diego, California and will conclude tomorrow. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the topic of textiles was discussed last Friday.
Before the round began, two senior trade officials of the U.S. came to Vietnam and Malaysia last month to promote TPP negotiations in the field of textile and garment, says World Trade Online, the website of Inside U.S. Trade, which provides exclusive information about the policy-making process of the U.S.
Particularly, Gail Strickler, assistant U.S. trade representative for textiles, discussed with her counterparts in Vietnam and Malaysia over market access, rules of origin and relevant issues on textiles to accelerate TPP negotiations.
Accompanying her was Doug Bell, assistant U.S. trade representative for trade policy and economics. Bell is the coordinator for TPP negotiations on agro-products, industrial goods and textiles.
Data from the early warning website of the Vietnam Competition Authority shows that of the eight countries joining TPP negotiations with the U.S., Vietnam, Peru and Malaysia are the three biggest garment exporters to the U.S, with respective turnover of US$3.78 billion, US$680.6 million and US$318 million in 2011.
Vietnam is currently the second biggest garment exporter to the U.S. after China.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/7 .( -2nd item)
* Ministry speeds up work to stimulate production:
Helping enterprises clear inventories and maintain production would be a focus of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s action plans in the coming months, said Minister Vu Huy Hoang at a meeting in Ha Noi yesterday.
The ministry was considering the application of bartering among enterprises, in addition to stimulating demand by speeding up disbursement of projects financed by the State budget in such industries as building materials, cement, iron and steel, sanitary ware and electric devices.
Employees of garment producer Toyotsu Vehitecs Vietnam at work. — VNA/VNS Photo Quach Lam
* To dye naturally :
Minority communities in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong collect wild barks and branches from deep within the forest to make traditional brocade dyes
Minority villages across Vietnam’s most remote mountainous areas have supported themselves for generations on the craft of weaving brocade.
All it takes is cotton yarn and dyes.
According to Ro Ong K’Pek, a brocade weaver in B’no C Hamlet of Lat Commune in Da Lat Town’s Lac Duong District, local people traditionally used only yellow, green and orange-brown after the main color— white — for dyeing brocade. Later, they developed other colors such as black, black green, blue, red, and indigo.
People make the dyes with a variety of wild natural ingredients, usually including the trunk wood, roots, bark, leaves, fruit, seeds, flowers and tubers of native plants and trees. Most families have their own special techniques for making the dyes.
11:06:54 local time INDONESIA
* Textiles with batik motifs banned in Solo fashion:
The organizing committee of Solo Batik Fashion IV has banned the presence of printed batik products and textiles bearing batik motifs at the event, to be held at the Bundaran Gladag traffic circle in Surakarta, Central Java, July 13-15.
Chairman of the organizing committee, Djongko Rahardjo, said that the annual event was designed to provide a medium for designers of hand-made and stamped batik products.
“Only batik products produced according to the correct batik making process are allowed to join the event,” Djongko said on Wednesday. He said the measure was taken as a way of respecting the cultural legacy, while at the same time educating people that batik is not the same as textile products bearing batik motifs or printed batik products. read more.
* Decree revised to lift wage of low-income workers:
In a move to boost the welfare of labor, the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry has revised a guideline normally used to determine the minimum wage for low-income workers.
The decision, however, met opposition from labor unions, which considered the revision to be not sufficient enough to strengthen their economic position. At the same time, employers also protested the revision, saying they had not yet given their approval. read more.
09:06:54 local time BANGLA DESH
* Apparel factory to sell rice, flour to workers:
Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razzak said Wednesday that the government will nominate all the apparel factories as food dealers to provide rice and flour at subsidised prices to the apparel workers.
The workers will be entitled to ‘fair price card’ to purchase some essentials. But since such card arrangement is time consuming, the government has decided to distribute rice and flour to the apparel workforce before the holy month Ramzan sets in, the minister said.
The nominated dealers of each factory will provide each worker five (5) kg rice a week or 20 kg a month or 10 kg rice and 10 kg flour a month against their Identity Cards of individual’s factory, he said.
The minister made the comments at a meeting on “Implementation of Fair Price Card for the RMG Workers” at his office in the city on Wednesday. read more.
* Bata strikes deal with JITA:
Bata Shoe Company (Bangladesh) Ltd. recently signed an agreement with JITA Business, a joint venture social business of Care International and danone.communities.
This initiative will support the ongoing Rural Sales Program (RSP) of Bata Shoe Company (Bangladesh) Ltd., which has been running partnering with Care Bangladesh for last six years as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for sustainability to improve the lives of rural destitute women and their families.
Muhammad Qayyum, managing director of Bata Shoe Company (Bangladesh) Ltd. and Nick Southern, chairman of JITA Bangladesh, signed the agreement at a function held at the JITA Offices in the city. Ruhul Amin Molla, head of NRSD of Bata Bangladesh and Saif-Al-Rashid, CEO of JITA Bangladesh were also present on the occasion. to read.
* Govt jute mills earn Tk 1,000 crore from export in FY:
Though the export earning by public jute mills exceeded Tk 1,000 crore in the just past 2011-12 fiscal, the sale of jute products in the local market during the period marked a sharp fall.
“Although jute goods export to Arab-African countries is showing a downtrend over the last couple of fiscal years, the total volume of export by BJMC jute mills increased during the last fiscal, thanks to the expansion of market in Asia,” BJMC director (marketing) Md Shamsul Haque told UNB on Wednesday. read more.
* BB assures apparel leaders of loans under new policy:
The new policy for classified loans will not create any problem in running the business, said a top central bank official Tuesday. Businesses will be eligible for getting new loans in case of special mention account (SMA) and substandard, Bangladesh Bank (BB) deputy governor S K Sur Chowdhury said. Besides, the central bank will hold meeting with all the banks’ top executives on July 16 in this regard, he added. Sur Chowdhury made the observations during a meeting with leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) in the BB conference room in the city. read more.
* BD exports hit record $22.9bn on apparel sales:
Strong apparel sales helped boost Bangladesh’s exports to a record $22.92 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30 but the garment industry is expecting a slowdown in the current quarter.
Clothes exports climbed 43 percent to more than $17.9 billion, Export Promotion Bureau data showed on Tuesday.
Bangladesh’s low labour costs have helped it join the global supply chain for low-end textiles and clothing.
Officials have said the record exports reflected the decision by some retail chains such as European-focused Esprit Holdings to shift production to Bangladesh from China, where labour costs are rising.
Bangladesh’s total exports surged 41.5 percent during July-June, exceeding the target of $18.5 billion. The June total, $2.38 billion, was the highest ever monthly export figure. read more.
08:36:54 local time INDIA
* Garment shops observe bandh against hike in VAT:
The day-long strike of Assam Textile Merchants’ Association (ATMA) left the busy Fancy Bazaar area deserted on Tuesday with all garment shops in the market remaining closed. Even stores of other market areas here and other parts of the state also downed shutters during strike hours.
The ATMA called the bandh to protest the state government’s decision to impose an additional VAT of five per cent on textile products. The association has asked the government to revoke the decision as it would affect the local textile industry and the distributors of garments here badly.
“Assam is not a garment manufacturing state, it is only a distribution hub. At present, textile dealers, wholesalers and retailers of the surrounding states procure their requirements from Assam. In this process of distribution, the textile trade generates indirect employment and revenue for the state. read more.
* FTA with EU to boost India’s textile & apparel exports:
08:06:54 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA to place demands before PM today:
A high-level 16-member delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to place it’s charter of demands before Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday and will urge upon the government to direct the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for industry-specific interventions, including regionally competitive interest rate, to generate growth and employment in the country.
APTMA delegation will place its demands through a detailed presentation on the way forward for textile industry. APTMA delegation will brief the PM about fast eroding competitiveness of textile industry in the region due to short supplies of electricity and gas. read more. & read more.
* Record cotton export in last FCY:
Cotton export during the last fiscal year has made history despite on the whole a shortfall seen in Pakistan’s exports, Geo News reported.
Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association’s member, Ehsanul Huque told Geo News that a record 1.5 million bales of cotton were exported previous year that fetched $425 million in foreign exchange.
Pakistan also imported 1 million bales of cotton valued at $320 million from China, India and other countries.
Despite Sindh and Punjab heavy rains losses of crops estimated at 2.5 million bales of cotton in the previous fiscal year, Pakistan produced 14.80 million bales. Cotton production during the current fiscal year is expected to be over 15 million bales.
* Textiles in desperate need of govt support:
The 22 members delegation of the APTMA, representing all regions under the leadership of Chairman APTMA Mohsin Aziz, along with Zonal Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, is setting up a five days camp in Islamabad to resolve the issues of the textile industry with the government, revealed the Spokesman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).
While in Islamabad, the APTMA delegation would call on the President, the Prime Minister, the ministers for the Textile Industry, Water and Power and Petroleum and Natural Resources.The spokesman reported that as many as 57 textile mills, the prime users of electricity on independent feeders, with a load of 135MW, had been subjected to six to eight hours of industry load shedding, causing layoffs in a shift for the last 60 days. He said that the government had asked the APTMA to cooperate in dealing with the severe energy shortage. It had, but at the cost of laying off 150,000 workers, he observed. The APTMA delegation would call on the Minister for Water and Power with the plea that the textile mills on independent feeders should be exempted from load shedding. read more.
* Cotton market: upward trend persists despite strong phutti arrivals:
Despite strong phutti arrivals, prices maintained an upward trend on the cotton market on Tuesday, dealers said. The official spot rate was unchanged at Rs 6100, they said. In the ready business over 3000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 6100-6400, they said. read more.
* Cotton market: spot rate down to Rs 6,000 amid rains in Sindh:
Official spot rate fell modestly amid moderate trading on the cotton market on Wednesday, dealers said. The official spot rate was down by Rs 100 to Rs 6000, they said. In the ready business, over 5000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 6100-6300, they said. The prices of seedscotton in Sindh were at Rs 2675-2700, and in Punjab rates were at Rs 2800-2850, they said.
Monsoon rains may delay picking operations in the field and this factor may bring down trading activity, dealers said. Cotton belt of Sindh received first monsoon rains, which is beneficial for the crop, they said.
Naseem Usman said that new rains of Monsoon started in many parts of Sindh, particularly in cotton belt, which is beneficial for standing crop. read more.