in the news on-line, 19 july 2012

17:59:56 local time map of china CHINA

* Adidas to close its only factory in China:

Sporting goods and apparel maker Adidas AG is closing its only company-owned sportswear factory in China later this year to streamline manufacturing, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Sabrina Cheung said in an email China remained a key market for sourcing goods for Germany-based Adidas with more than 300 supplier partners in the country.
The Suzhou Adidas factory employs about 160 workers who were notified of the closure a few months ago and who will receive a benefits package, Cheung said.
The sports apparel industry is becoming increasingly competitive amid China’s slowing economy, with Adidas, Nike Inc
and Converse competing against up-and-coming Chinese players such as Li Ning Co Ltd, ANTA Sports Products Ltd, 361 Degrees International and China Dongxiang (Group) Co Ltd. read more. & read more.

* Adidas to open 600 more stores:

Adidas Group China, a unit of German sports clothing manufacturer Adidas AG, is continuing its aggressive push into Chinese lower-tier cities with the planned opening of up to 600 stores.
“We plan to open 500 to 600 stores in lower-tier cities by the end of the year,” said Colin Currie, managing director of adidas Group China. read more.

17:59:56 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* PH factory output slightly up in May:

Philippine  factory output in May 2012, as measured by Volume of Production index (VoPi), slightly went up, recording an annual increment of 3.1 percent, according to the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Tuesday.

The NSO noted the three-digit growth in production output of footwear and wearing apparel, 124.7 percent; transport equipment, 118.2 percent; and furniture and fixtures, 103.4 percent. read more. & read more.

16:59:56 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Foreign investment in garments declines:

The country’s textiles and garment sector is seeing a decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the past several years, and the sector is being held back by its reliance on imports of raw materials, according to the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association.

FDI in the sector has fallen from an annual average of US$460 million during the peak period of 2000-08, to an annual average of $450 for the last three years, and the number of FDI projects has also decreased during the past three years.
Total registered capital from foreign investors in the sector for 2009 and 2010 was at $185 million and $169 million respectively. The figure was about $450 million last year.
The Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said FDI capital pumped into the sector remained low due to the negative impacts of the global economic crisis.
read more.

* H1 textile and garment export growth slows:

Vietnam’s textile and garment exports maintained their growth during the first half of this year, rising 8.7% on the same period last year to US$6.8bn, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Trade & Industry.

However, this is considerably below the year-on-year rise of 30% posted in the first half of last year.
The slowdown in growth is blamed on a reduction in orders from major export markets, including the EU whose orders slumped 20% compared to last year.
Looking ahead, exports to Vietnam’s major markets will continue to slow in the second half of the year, according to Mr Pham Xuan Hong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (Vitas).
Meanwhile, the footwear sector enjoyed better growth, with exports rising by 17% over the same period in 2011 to US$3.5bn – although the number of export orders has also fallen. to read.

* Esquel Garment Factory under construction in Hoa Binh:

The ground-breaking ceremony for a US$25-million garment factory (Esquel Hoa Binh) was held in Luong Son Industrial Park, Hoa Binh province on July 17.
This is the third project invested by Esquel Garment Manufacturing Company, after the two others in Binh Duong and Bien Hoa, close to Ho Chi Minh City. Hoa Binh Company is the major contractor of the project.
The factory is scheduled for completion in February 2013 and will generate 2,800 jobs for local people. to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/7.

16:59:56 local time map of laos LAOS

* Regional integration sparks job concerns:

Final year university students are very concerned about job security in Laos once the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is established in 2015, allowing the free flow of labour within member nations.

They worry that the good jobs available in the country will be taken by skillful workers from other countries including Singapore and the Philippines.
Meanwhile more Lao labourers could be forced to leave their country to seek employment in neighbouring Thailand. read more.

16:59:56 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Thailand upgrades anti-trafficking, migrant programs:

The Thai Labour Ministry has announced a consolidation of agencies designed to combat human trafficking and improve migrant workers’ conditions.

Deputy Permanent Secretary Songsri Bunba said that coordination in the past was poor because five departments had worked without integration, according to an article in The Nation on Tuesday.

For migrant workers, the process should begin with quotas granted by authorities from neighbouring countries, followed by job placement and the issuance of work permits, registration of workplace and employment, and explanations of workers’ social security welfare conditions. Workers should be well informed of their working conditions and pay rates, said the official. read more.

16:59:56 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Tai Yang agreement still not reached:

Negotiations to end the weeks-long strike at Tai Yang and Camwell factories in Kandal province again broke down yesterday, leaving workers threatening another mass march into the capital and bosses declaring all talks over.

Management and union representatives met with officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs in an attempt to resolve the crisis over seniority bonuses that has resulted in as many as 4,000 workers striking at the Ang Snuol factories since June 25.

Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said the factory had failed to offer more than US$70 per year in seniority bonuses for workers, despite their original demands for $170.

“The meeting to find a resolution this morning failed,” she said. “If we get nothing [by Saturday], we will march to Prime Minister Hun Sen to again ask him to help.”
read more.

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

1. Cambodia’s GDP is revised. read more.

17:59:56 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Cooperatives Contribute To National Economic Development:

National-level celebrations to honour the International Day of Cooperatives will be organised on July 21st. However, the global event is scheduled on the Saturday of the first week of July.

July 21st was chosen for the national-level celebrations to commemorate the registration of the first cooperative in the country – ‘The Federated Malay States Posts and Telegraph Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society,’ which was registered in 1922, Taiping in Perak.
Today, this cooperative is known as ‘Koperasi Kakitangan Telekom Malaysia Berhad’ or Kotamas.

This national-level event is held to acknowledge the cooperatives’ movement which has contributed to the country’s economic development.
According to the Malaysia Cooperatives’ Societies Commission (SKM) Executive Chairman Datuk Md Yusof Samsudin, the ‘Hari Koperasi Negara’ (HKN) is a platform to enhance the operations of cooperatives in line with the National Cooperatives Policy.
This has also been set up to create collaboration among these cooperatives.
read more.

17:59:56 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

*MARKET MOVING- Manufacture Industry Gives Promising Growth:

Manufacture industry in the first semester of this year has managed to increase 6.13%, higher than last year growth of only 5.9%, making the Ministry of Industry optimists this year’s growth target of 7.1% could be achieved.

“The improved domestic market is still able to sustain the decline in exports to several country that become the main goal,” said Ministry of Industry Secretary General Ansari Bukhari after opening Jak-craft 2012, Tuesday (17/7).
He said the industry performance in the first 6 months of the year was mainly underpinned by growth in the cement industry as well as food and beverages. Meanwhile, steel and textile sectors recorded a slowdown due to a number of problems.

Apart from the raw materials shortage and industrial gas prices soaring, the industry’s growth slowdown was due to prolonged financial crisis in some area such as European Union and United States.
So far, 42% of Indonesia’s textiles are exported to the US and about 20% were absorbed by EU markets. Ansari said the government cannot predict when the performance of the industry will recover. read more.

15:59:56 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Top RMG buyers worried at unrest:

Share views in a rare meeting in Dhaka, finalise a letter to PM for solution

The world’s top buyers of Bangladeshi garment products yesterday gathered in Dhaka to share their concerns over persistent labour unrest in the industry and to finalise an SOS message to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Buyers from about 19 leading brands, including Walmart and Gap, appear deeply troubled at the conditions of the garment and textile sectors and the prospects of their business in Bangladesh.
“Industry disruptions and worker grievances are now impacting our ability to direct businesses to Bangladesh.” It was the unanimous view of the representatives, who attended the unprecedented meeting at Walmart’s Gulshan office in Dhaka in the morning.
Never before have readymade garment buyers been so united in making their concerns known in the hope that they will be addressed by the Bangladesh government. They were compelled to take the initiative as labour unrest has recently gone from bad to worse and the world economy continues to dip.

The brand leaders decided to take a united step soon after the latest spat of violence in Ashulia last month, two and a half months after the forced disappearance of labour leader Aminul Islam, said a source close to the buyers.
The discussion lasted over two hours, a great deal of which was spent on workers’ wages, an issue the buyers identified as the main reason behind the unrest, a meeting source told The Daily Star, wishing not to be named.
The buyers also finalised a letter to be sent to the PM, the draft of which The Daily Star has managed to obtain.

The letter, a copy of which will be given to the embassies of all countries represented by the buyers, is due to be sent to the prime minister by the middle of next month. Prior to that, the buyers plan to hold a series of meetings with the labour and commerce ministries as well as with two garment exporters associations.
Concerns as well as suggestions for an inflation adjustment to the wages were tabled in yesterday’s rare meeting, in the hope that the highest office will act promptly to tackle the crisis methodically.

“As significant buyers of apparels and textile products from Bangladesh, our companies have been observing with great concern the current garment factory worker unrest,” began the letter to the PM. “Unrest among the workers in this sector is seen as risk among our companies and could cause damage to the reputation of Bangladesh as a reliable sourcing market.”
Signatories of the letter also include H&M, Carrefour, Tesco, JC Penney, Nike, MARKS & SPENCER, mothercare and Levi’s. read more.

15:29:56 local time map of india INDIA

* Bonded (child) labour in Indian garment industry draws global attention:

Recent publications of SOMO and the India Committee of the Netherlands have significantly contributed to the fact that in Europe, the USA and The Netherlands steps are being taken against the large-scale child labour in the South Indian textile and garment industry. Both a number of garment brands as well as the Dutch, European and American politicians are now starting to take some action against bonded (child) labour in South India which is known as the ‘Sumangali Scheme’.

In the ‘Update of Debate and Action on the Sumangali Scheme’, SOMO and ICN describe new developments and actions that have been taken since the publication of the reports ‘Captured by Cotton’ in May 2011 and ‘Maid in India’ in April 2012.

The ‘Sumangali System’ implies that – mostly – girls are getting a contract for thee years against very low wages of which the largest part is paid as a lump sum at the end of the contract period, if they stay for three years. They are forced to work very long days under unhealthy working conditions (cotton dust!) The girls live in hostels and have hardly or no contact with the outside world, even family members. The victims are mostly Dalit (‘outcaste’) girls who are discriminated and are extra vulnerable for exploitation.

A number of joint initiatives of a quite large number of garment brands, unions and (other) civil society organizations – including the US-based Fair Labor Association, the Dutch Fair Wear Foundation, the British Ethical Trading Initiative and the European Business Social Compliance Initiative – are now starting to tackle the issue. It is a first beginning of which the results still have to be seen in practice.
About the brand C&A the update mentions that one of their suppliers – Sumeru Knits – will not work anymore with spinning mills that use the Sumangali Scheme from August 2012. C&A also supports the work of local organizations to get girls out of the spinning mills and into school or vocational training.

Members of the European Parliament of thee different political groups – liberal, conservative and social democratic – have raised the issue with Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the EU, Catherine Ashton. They requested her to raise the issue with the Indian government, develop a joint plan of action with companies and demand full supply chain transparency from the European garment industry.
The government of the USA in her recent Trafficking in Persons Report 2012, presented by Hillary Clinton, mentions that forced labour may be present in the Sumangali Scheme in Tamil Nadu. An American delegation recently visited spinning mills and victims of Sumangali in South India. The Dutch Parliament recently adopted a motion requesting the government to come to an agreement with the garment sector on full supply chain transparency and eradication of child labour in the textile supply chain.

Local organizations in South India are reporting limited improvements in the labour conditions of Sumangali workers. Some suppliers have shortened the contract period to one year. Other have somewhat improved the wages and increased the freedom of movement for the young workers.
The Minister of Labour of Tamil Nadu publicly denounced the Sumangali Scheme and publicly announced that he would form a new committee to fix a minimum wage, now non-existent, for spinning mill workers. Very worrying however is the increased trafficking of boys aged 13 to 18 from Bihar in North India who are put to work in the Tamil Nadu textile industry.

The Update focusses on:
– A few hopeful signs of change in the Tamil Nadu garment industry;
– Increasing number of migrant workers in the industry, including from Bihar and Rajasthan;
– Denial of child labour by Factory Inspector while police raids discover workers under 14;
– Political responses in Europe and the USA;
– Steps taken by garment brands and multi-stakeholder initiatives;
– New reports and the media on ‘Sumangali’;
– The role of caste and the position of Dalit girls.
Update of Debate and Action on the Sumangali Scheme’(July 2012)
Maid In India ( April 2012)
Still Captured by Cotton (March 2012)
Captured by Cotton ( May 2011)

14:59:56 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Looms’ shutdown: ‘Hunger strike if operations not resumed’ :

Workers will besiege power looms and announce a hunger strike for an indefinite period if loom owners were not directed to resume operations, loom workers threatened on Tuesday.

Hundreds of workers of units on Jhang Road earlier demonstrated against the lockout of power looms by owners. The looms that have suspended operations are in Bao Wala, Saddar and Thikriwala areas.
The protesters were carrying banners and placards and chanted slogans against of the closure of looms.
They said loom owners had suspended operations to avoid increasing workers’ wages by 17 per cent, the rate agreed between owners and the administrations in recent round of negotiations.
The protest was led by Labor Qaumi Movement leader Mian Abdul Qayyum.
Traffic at Faisalabad-Jhang Road remained suspended for several hours due to the demonstration. to read.

* Agreement between Employers of Power Looms and Workers union CBA  Faisalabad:

According to mr.Nadeem Parwaz, General Secretary PTGLWF -Pakistan Textile, Garments and Leather Workers’ Federation, there is an agreement, after three months extensive negociations, between Employers of Power Looms and Workers union CBA Faisalabad (affiliated PTGLWF).

According to the agreement the Employers has accepted the demands of workers regarding issuance of Social security and employees old age cards and wile regularly pay the contribution of the workers according to law.
Another Point which was agreed by the parties is enhancement of wages
up to 16 percent at gross wage.
The agreement is effective on 16-07-12 to 15-07-13 (one year) and it concerns about 2000 workers.
The agreement was signed in presence of govt officials espacialy from
Labour Department.
This is an achievement when Power Looms workers most disadvantage group
in Pakistan and are deprive from their basic rights.
The new agreement will definetly improve the working condition of the
workers. (by editor.)

FAISALABAD: A power loom worker busy in his routine work in a local factory. -APP

* Record cotton exports- Country exports 50 percent more bales in FY 2011-12:

The country exported a record number of 1.5 million cotton bales in July to June 2011-12, which is 50 percent more as compared with 1.0 million bales exported in July to June 2011, besides the textile sector also bought the highest number of bales, exporters said on Monday.

More than 1.5 million cotton bales were exported with proceeds of more than $425 million during July to June 2012, said Pakistan Yarn Merchant Association member and exporter Ghulam Rabbani.
Around 1.0 million bales were exported the previous fiscal year with proceeds of $18 million to $19 million.
He said Far East countries and China were the major importers of the produce that stood at around 1.0 million bales.
Indian traders bought around 200,000 bales of light grade and after blending the grade they export it to European countries through Heimtextil Frankfurt International Fair in Germany. read more.

* European Parliament likely to approve trade package in Sept:

European Parliament is likely to approve the much awaited trade package for Pakistan in September 2012 as the EU’s committee for International Trade (INTA) has cleared the package meant for flood affectees of 2010, official sources told Business Recorder.
The package includes 33 products of non value added textiles, 23 products of textile garments, eight products of home textiles, four products of value added leather, three products of footwear, two products of raw leather, one product of ethanol and one product of vegetables. read more.

map of Asia

* Adidas to close its only factory in China
* Adidas to open 600 more stores

* PH factory output slightly up in May

* Foreign investment in garments declines
* H1 textile and garment export growth slows
* Esquel Garment Factory under construction in Hoa Binh

* Regional integration sparks job concerns

* Thailand upgrades anti-trafficking, migrant programs

* Tai Yang agreement still not reached
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Cambodia’s GDP is revised

* Cooperatives Contribute To National Economic Development

*MARKET MOVING- Manufacture Industry Gives Promising Growth

* Top RMG buyers worried at unrest

* Bonded (child) labour in Indian garment industry draws global attention

* Looms’ shutdown: ‘Hunger strike if operations not resumed’
* Agreement between Employers of Power Looms and Workers union CBA Faisalabad
* Record cotton exports- Country exports 50 percent more bales in FY 2011-12
* European Parliament likely to approve trade package in Sept

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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