in the news on-line, 17 july 2012

16:02:54 local time map of china CHINA

* Wen warns of economic problems facing China:

China should brace itself for still more economic woes ahead even though the country’s growth rate remains above target, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his latest pledge on maintaining economic stability.

Aside from the issue of the economy during a three-day inspection tour in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, that ended yesterday, Wen invited six child survivors of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake to have dinner with him, encouraging them to face their future with confidence.

During a meeting with senior government officials from Henan, Hunan, Guangxi, Sichuan and Shaanxi at the weekend, Wen said: “The economic growth rate is still within the government target range set at the year’s beginning, and stimulus policies are working to land the country on the route toward stabilization. read more.

* Wage growth falters amid slowdown:

Trend to continue as companies feel squeeze on profits, experts suggest

Wage increases, in percentage terms, fell dramatically last year and the trend will continue as economic expansion slows, experts said.
The annual income of workers categorized as non-private sector, those in State-owned enterprises, collectively owned businesses and enterprises funded by foreign investment, stood at 42,500 yuan ($6,660) in 2011, a rise of 14.3 percent from a year earlier. read more.

16:02:54 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* NEDA chief pushes revival of local industries:

The country’s socioeconomic planning chief is pushing for the revival of local industries, saying that this is key to achieving the Aquino administration’s economic growth target of 8.5 percent by 2016.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan said that at present, Philippine economy is heavily reliant on the services industry.
He said what should happen is the revival of local industries, which have been killed by high power costs and some of the country’s free trade agreements.

“Many of these jobs could be opened up by a growing industrial sector. That’s why we want to see the industry revived because if you look at the experiences of our neighbors, it is the generation of jobs that absorb many of these unskilled workers in rural areas,” Balisacan told reporters in a recent briefing.
He said that many unemployed Filipinos go to the services sector when in fact, they can find more gainful opportunities in the local industries.
Some of the local industries Balisacan wants revived include the textile, garments, steel and agriculture. read more.

* Manufacturing likely pulled back in June:

Manufacturing activity in June likely pulled back sharply from the two-year high recorded the month before, according to the Philippine Institute of Supply Management.

The purchasing managers index for manufacturing dropped to 55.02 last month from the 59.80 in May and the 57.5 in June of 2011. Despite the decline, last month’s index was still above the growth threshold. (…)

Of the 12 manufacturing sectors, one – textiles and wearing apparel, shoes, accessories and bags – dropped below the growth threshold. “This sector has been facing difficulties in raw materials supply,” Fontanilla said. read more.

15:02:54 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Protection too costly for many Myanmar workers:

Many Myanmar migrant workers have to live without real legal protection because they cannot afford the inflated fees charged by some agents for nationality verification.

“All the fees related to the process in fact should not exceed Bt2,000 per person, but we have found that most workers pay at least Bt5,500,” said Kyaw Zaw Linn, the Samut Sakhon location coordinator of the Migrant Justice Programme. He has also worked for the Human Rights and Development Foundation.

About 700,000-800,000 Myan-mar people have completed the nationality verification process in Thailand and become registered migrant workers, who are entitled to many legal rights and protection, he said.

“But many other migrant workers have no chance to get such protection because they cannot scrape up the fees,” he said. read more.

* Historical bias against neighbouring nations a burden for migrant workers:

Social activist Adisorn Kerdmongkol, a key person at the Migrant Working Group (MWG), was among five people just named as outstanding human rights defenders by the Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Foundation. He answered questions by The Nation on Sunday’s Pravit Rojanaphruk about the plight of migrant workers in Thailand. Excerpts:

What do you think of the Labour Ministry’s considering a policy to force pregnant migrant workers back to their home countries to deliver their babies?

It reflects the bias of the Thai state towards migrant workers. It also only sees them as labour and a burden to Thailand and fails to see them as human. read more.

* BOI focuses on Myanmar, VN, Indonesia ahead of AEC:

Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam are the three new magnets drawing foreign investors, so the Board of Investment (BoI)’s promotion plan is focusing on those countries in the lead-up to the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“The office has to shift its focus from promoting investment in the Kingdom to the region. The AEC’s seamless trade will encourage more Thai enterprises to go abroad, particularly in Asean, which is the strong growth region amid the gloomy global economic trend,” Vasana Mututanont, deputy secretary-general of the BoI, said last week.(….)

The fast growing world economy and free-trade markets will lead more Thai companies to establish a foothold overseas. The BoI, which is involved in beyond Thailand’s borders, while keep domestic investment privileges for puling industries up the value-added ladder.
It is regularly organising overseas missions aimed at a specific industry, such as garment and textiles, agricultural and food, automobile and motorcycle parts, construction, and tourism and service. It is conducting a training course to develop more Thai investors as multinational firms. From January-April, the BoI successfully trained 73 Thai firms in doing business offshore. read more.

15:02:54 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Tai Yang boss refutes name change allegations:

Garment worker Ba Chhorvorn stands in the sweltering heat inside the small concrete brick room she calls home in Kandal province.

Across the road is her workplace, a supplier to Levi’s and Gap, which her boss describes as the “five-star hotel of garment factories”.

Worlds apart but just metres away, Chhorvorn’s accommodation is anything but glamorous.

“My two sisters and I live here,” the 25-year-old Tai Yang factory worker says as co-workers gather around her on the thin linoleum that covers a slab of uneven cement.

“We just sleep on the floor, because the landlord doesn’t provide beds and we can’t afford to buy any,” she says, surrounded by sewing machines the women use to supplement their meagre wages.
Garment worker Ba Chhorvorn stands in the sweltering heat inside the small concrete brick room she calls home in Kandal province.

Across the road is her workplace, a supplier to Levi’s and Gap, which her boss describes as the “five-star hotel of garment factories”.

Worlds apart but just metres away, Chhorvorn’s accommodation is anything but glamorous.

“My two sisters and I live here,” the 25-year-old Tai Yang factory worker says as co-workers gather around her on the thin linoleum that covers a slab of uneven cement.

“We just sleep on the floor, because the landlord doesn’t provide beds and we can’t afford to buy any,” she says, surrounded by sewing machines the women use to supplement their meagre wages. read more.

* Unions urge contract action:

Unions will urge the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) to crack down on employers using fixed-term contracts to threaten workers, they said yesterday.

About 50 unions gathered to discuss fixed-term contracts, which they say deprive workers of benefits and the right to unionise.

Choun Mom Thol, president of Cambodian Union Federation, said that he had sent a letter to Labour Minister Vong Sauth, president of the Labour Advisory Committee, suggesting he confront the issue at the committee’s next meeting.

Seng Sakada, director-general of the Ministry of Labour, said he was aware of the issue. to read.

* Rival unions’ workers displeased with pact:

More than 100 Free Trade Union of Cambodia supporters gathered in front of the union’s office to express their discontent with a deal struck between the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union and their employer, Puma supplier Thai Pore Garment Manufacturing, FTU officials said yesterday.

FTU representative Sath Sam Oun said that the 100 workers began their strike on Friday after C.CAWDU had accepted, as the majority union, a settlement that met four demands on behalf of the entire factory’s roughly 800 workers – despite some 100 of them represented by the FTU.

The FTU said the deal failed to secure a key demand: that workers be paid a bonus included in the Labour Law for being given inadequate notice that their factory was changing its name to “Star Light”, and moving out of the capital to Kandal province, despite notice having been given in May. read more.

* Registered business numbers increased:

The number of businesses registered with the Ministry of Commerce climbed by more than 10 per cent year on year during the first half of 2012, ministry data showed.

Officials credited the government’s piecemeal efforts to institute a transparent investment policy and gross domestic product growth, as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s main pitch to the international business community: political stability.

The ministry approved 166 companies in the year through June, totalling 1,694 officially recognised businesses in the Kingdom.

“This proves that [companies] trust us because they can earn profit with their businesses. We have a lot of duty-free [agreements] with many countries in the world – like the EU,” the ministry’s Secretary of State Ok Boung said yesterday.

“Now I noticed there are a lot of garment and footwear factories opening, especially ones from China, Japan and Korea. We also see the investment in the agricultural sector, which is also being invested in by our local investors.” read more.

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

1. Unions urge contract action. read more.
2. Workers, boss a world apart. read more.

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

3. Wage rise in China ease ecoomic slowdown. read more.

14:32:54 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Thai factories discuss to operate in Myanmar:

Some Thai factories inundated during last years’ flood are now discussing about possible functioning in Myanmar.
The managements of these factories conducted negotiation with the responsible persons of railway and industry ministries of Myanmar to set up factories in some Myanmar towns such as Myawadi, Hpaya Thone Zuu, Hpa-an, HteeKhee-Khtee-Kha, MoneHtaw-MoneHtar and Mese of four states such as Kayin, Kayah, Mon and Shan, as well as Thanintharyi Region.

The agricultural-based factories and garment factories, as well as the Baby Corn Thailand will also establish the factories in Myanmar. read more.

* Ministry enacts protest by-laws:

THE Ministry of Home Affairs last week introduced by-laws that allow peaceful demonstrations and processions, seven months after the law was promulgated.

The long-awaited by-laws will enable protesters to apply for permission to conduct rallies peacefully and while the law is not without its critics it is considered an important step in Myanmar’s political development. read more.

14:02:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* RMG workers in N’ganj block road for wage arrears:

Several hundred workers of a garments factory agitating for realisation of their arrear wages on Monday blocked road at Dapa area on Dhaka-Narayanganj old road disrupting traffic.
Witnesses said traffic on the busy road halted for almost an hour, causing a huge tailback on both sides of the spot due to road blockade put up by workers of Hamid Fashion.
Fatulla thana police rushed to spot and dispersed the protesters, restoring traffic movement after an hour.
Sources said that some terminated workers of the factory of Hamid Fashion at Fatulla organised the demonstration to realise their arrear wages.
The factory owners on July 10 declared a lay off and paid the workers up to current month’s wages.
But the agitating workers demanded festival allowance and others financial benefits as per labour law.
Officer-in-charge of Fatulla police station Abdul Motin said that the workers were demanding their lawful arrear as they worked at the factory for a long time. to read.

13:32:54 local time map of india INDIA

* RBI for debt recast of textile units on a case-by-case basis:

Rejecting across the board restructuring of loans for the cash-starved textile sector, the Reserve Bank has asked banks to consider debt recast for the industry on a case-by-case basis.

Banks have been advised to look at debt recast on a case-by-case basis and special window will be provided for restructuring, official sources said. The special window will be provided by all the banks to the textile sector between August 1 and October 30, 2012, sources said.

The Finance Ministry has asked banks to consider stressed loan accounts in the textile sector for restructuring, including second restructuring, so that viable loan accounts are revived and the financial health of the units are restored. read more.

* TUFS for textile sector to stay:

Stating that the UPA government was working on a package for powerloom and silk sectors, Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma announced that the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) for the textile sector would be continued in the XII Plan with an allocation of Rs.15,886 crore.

Talking to journalists after inauguration of ‘Tex Trends India 2012’ here, Mr. Sharma said a decision had been taken to continue with TUFS in the XII Plan with an estimated outlay of about Rs.15,886 crore. The outlay for TUFS in the XI Plan was Rs.12,000 crore. Under the scheme, government provides subsidies to the industry for modernisation by installing new machinery and adopting upgraded technology. It is a very popular scheme among the textiles segments such as spinning, cotton ginning and pressing, garments and weaving. read more.

* How cotton caught on:

A journey into the global history of cotton textiles reveals at each step how significantly it eventually led to the door of Industrial Revolution. India pioneered cotton cultivation more than 5000 years ago and dominated the field singularly almost for 1500 years till Peru joined. After thousands of years this fascinating and unmatched agro consumer product emerged as the prime mover to the globalisation of the textile trade during a defining phase (1200-1850 AD). Cotton challenged wool, linen and silk in Europe and later primarily wool in North America heralding its dominance as the most important natural fibre. read more.

* India to continue textile subsidy scheme:

The Indian government will support the textile industry by continuing its Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) for next five years.

According to Indian media reports, after the inauguration of Tex-Trends India Expo held in the capital city, New Delhi, Anand Sharma, India’s Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister announced today that Indian government will continue its popular TUFS scheme in the 12th five year plan period (2012-2017), which began this April.

Government of India has estimated an outlay for this scheme to be US$ 3.17 billion (Rs. 15, 886 crores) for the 12th five year plan period. This is $ 777.2 million (Rs. 3,886 crores) more than the allocation done during the 11th Five Year Plan that ended in March 2012. read more.

13:02:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Save the textile industry:

Pakistan’s textile industry, one of the largest in the world, is the mainstay of our economy, and a major contributor to our foreign-exchange earnings and creation of new jobs, but is struggling due to the critical shortage of energy supply. Despite the presence of many natural resources, we are unable to generate sufficient energy due to a lack of political will, bad governance and administrative inabilities.

Shortages of electricity and gas have forced hundreds of units to shut down in a country with an already crippled and debt-ridden economy, with an unknown number of units about to suffer the same fate. Foreign importers whose export orders are not met within a specific time period divert their orders to other countries like India and Bangladesh. The result is that every year the country loses export orders worth millions of dollars. Surprisingly, this issue is still left unresolved due to the government’s refusal to recognise that the textile industry is being forced to operate at a level well below its capacity. read more.

map of Asia

CHINA
* Wen warns of economic problems facing China
* Wage growth falters amid slowdown

PHILIPPINES
* NEDA chief pushes revival of local industries
* Manufacturing likely pulled back in June

THAILAND
* Protection too costly for many Myanmar workers
* Historical bias against neighbouring nations a burden for migrant workers
* BOI focuses on Myanmar, VN, Indonesia ahead of AEC

CAMBODIA
* Tai Yang boss refutes name change allegations
* Unions urge contract action
* Rival unions’ workers displeased with pact
* Registered business numbers increased
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Unions urge contract action.
2. Workers, boss a world apart.
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
3. Wage rise in China ease ecoomic slowdown

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Thai factories discuss to operate in Myanmar
* Ministry enacts protest by-laws

BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers in N’ganj block road for wage arrears

INDIA
* RBI for debt recast of textile units on a case-by-case basis
* TUFS for textile sector to stay
* How cotton caught on
* India to continue textile subsidy scheme

PAKISTAN
* Save the textile industry

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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