in the news on-line, 24 july 2012

20:13:16 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s manufacturing sector faces cost challenges:

Adidas China said on July 18 that the company will close its last self-owned factory in China – a wholly-owned subsidiary in Suzhou Industrial Park – by the end of the year. Its competitor Nike shut down its only shoe factory in China as early as March 2009.

MNCs close self-owned factories in China amid rising costs

Like Adidas and Nike, many U.S. and European multinational corporations have been relocating their production facilities to Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and Bangladesh, in recent years. The main reason is that labor costs are much lower in these countries than in China.

A foreign institution said in a research report that Chinese textile workers take home an average monthly wage between 188 euros and 300 euros, while their counterparts in Bangladesh and Vietnam earn only around 80 euros and less than 120 euros, respectively, a month on average. The labor cost in China is now more than twice that of these Southeast Asian countries. read more.

19:13:16 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garment exporters face downturn:

Textile and garment producers were struggling from a lack of export contracts and market difficulties due to the ongoing public debt crisis in the EU, said the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas).

Sai Gon  Garment Co workers make garments for export.  — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

Deputy chairman of Vitas Pham Xuan Hong said that only large textile and garment exporters had received contracts for the third quarter. Many small-and medium-sized producers had been forced to narrow production due to a lack of demand.

Hong said that consumption demands in the EU had decreased sharply in past months, and export orders had fallen roughly 20-30 per cent over the same period last year.
According to the General Statistics Office, the industry growth rate was only 8.7 per cent in the first half of the year, much lower than the rising rate of 30 per cent last year.
If the situation continued, textile and garment producers would be forced to make workers redundant, and roughly 20 per cent of them would lose their jobs, Vitas said.
read more.

* Making footwear materials domestically remains a thorny problem:

Making materials domestically instead of importing materials for domestic footwear production has always been a hot topic on economic forums. However, it has become more burning than ever, when Vietnam is conducting negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Vietnam is making every effort to be able to enjoy the preferential tariff for its footwear exports under the framework of TPP, once the agreement is signed, because footwear is a very important industry of Vietnam which brings high export turnover and create jobs.

Making footwear products with domestically made materials is one of the main requirements Vietnam has to satisfy in order to enjoy the preferential tariffs. Meanwhile, it is really a really difficult task for Vietnam.

Nguyen Duc Thuan. Chair of the Vietnam Association of Leather, Footwear and Handbag also warned at the conference of the footwear enterprises held in HCM City on July 19 that once TPP agreement is signed, there would be the provisions on the compulsory percentages of locally made contents in footwear products. Preferential tariffs for the TPP’s members would be applied only to the products with reasonable localization ratios. read more.

* 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.

19:13:16 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Pregnant illegal workers to be allowed to give birth- Employment Dept:

Under a proposal by the Department of Employment, illegal female migrant workers who become pregnant while working in Thailand will be allowed to stay on and give birth here.

Their newborns would be allowed to stay legally with their mothers, director general Prawit Khiangphol said Monday.
Under existing regulations, such women are repatriated to give birth in their countries before returning to work, leaving their children at home. Prawit did not say when the change would be put into practice.
The government eventually plans to allow female migrant workers whose nationalities have been verified and who are allowed to work in Thailand to give birth here and receive full maternity assistance under the social security scheme.
Children born to such mothers would be certified by the embassies of their parents’ home countries and allowed to stay with their parents until they return home at the end of their employment contracts. to read.

19:13:16 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers ditch factories for fields:

Garment workers exit a factory following a shift in Choam Chao commune in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Sunday. Photograph: William Kelly

At some point during the planting season this year, Pheap Srey Ngoun will leave her garment factory floor for a rice paddy in Cambodia’s Prey Veng province.

Like many fellow garment workers she will leave her position, with permission from the factory, to lend a hand to her parents in the field. Splitting time among rural and urban life is commonplace in cultures such as Cambodia’s, which straddles a fine line between tradition and modernity.

But not all employees at garment factories – the Kingdom’s number one earner of foreign exchange – ask for leave. During the planting season that runs from May to August, and the harvest in November and December, factories see up to 20 per cent of the workforce head home unannounced to sow or reap the grain.

“Some of the population that has moved to the city is still very much linked to life in the countryside,” said Mona Tep, director at the Society of Human Resource Management & Productivity, which trains Cambodians for work in industries such as manufacturing. read more.

* US big brand boycott called for by workers:

Some 100 workers, along with the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, delivered a letter yesterday to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh asking Americans to boycott clothing made by Tai Yang Enterprises.

Surrounded by protesters, CCU President Rong Chhun said that the group was left with no other choice after authorities failed to find a suitable solution for the employees of the Levi’s and Gap supplier.

“We appeal to all American people to stop buying or using the products or clothes from this factory … [The US government] will not keep quiet, and they will put pressure to this factory,” said Chhun. read more.

* Workplace injury rate rises:


Garment factory workers cram into the back of a transport truck at the end of a day’s work in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district last month. Photograph: Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post

A spike in factory faintings contributed to a 65 per cent increase in the number of workplace injuries reported in 2011, a Ministry of Labour official said yesterday.

Leng Tong, director of the occupational health and safety department, said the ministry plans to introduce specialist safety committees in response to the 47 deaths and the more than 12,000 injuries that occurred in workplaces last year.
Although Tong could not provide a detailed breakdown of prevalent workplace injuries, he said faintings and traffic accidents involving commuting workers were widespread.
“We want to prevent labour injuries,” he said. “We know fainting is still increasing, as are traffic accidents – we’re worried.”
Tong said Cambodia had invited officials from Malaysia to train about 50 labour representatives over the next two weeks. read more.

* US looks beyond garments to deepen Cambodia trade:

The biggest US trade delegation to Cambodia in decades joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here as the two countries look to expand their economic relationship beyond exports of cheaply produced garments.

Executives from Google, Goldman Sachs and MasterCard were among the cast of US multinationals that attended the US-Asean Business Forum in Siem Reap on July 13 following Mrs Clinton’s stops in Vietnam and Laos.

“On the economic front, there is much more room for us to grow together, so we are working to foster economic activity in very tangible ways,” the secretary of state said at the US-Asean Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh.

Leading a delegation of more than 20 American companies to Hanoi in a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Mrs Clinton noted the trade relationship with Vietnam had grown more than twenty-fold since 2001 to US$22 billion last year.
read more.

18:43:16 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Workers fired for labour roles, says ILO:

An International Labour Organisation official has warned that a new labour laws need to be properly enforced, after workers alleged they had been dismissed for participating in fledgling labour organisations.

Mr Ross Wilson, the chief technical advisor on the ILO’s freedom of association project, said last week that “quite a big number” of workers who had been appointed executive members of newly formed labour organisations had been dismissed by their employers, in apparent contravention of the Labour Organisation Law approved by parliament in October 2011. A Labour Dispute Law was also enacted in March.

“They feel that [their dismissal] was related to the labour organisation activities and the law provides protection of all executive members of the labour organisations and their activities. So it’s really important that the law is [properly] enforced,” Mr Wilson told reporters at a press briefing at Traders Hotel on July 19.

He said that workers were also “concerned” that the arbitration body had not protected them from illegal dismissal, which had been most common at state-run industries. read more.

18:13:16 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* 50 hurt as RMG workers clash with cops in Ashulia:

Star file photo
Star Online Report

At least 50 people including policemen were injured when demonstrating workers of a garment factory clashed with law enforcers in Ashulia on Monday.

The agitating workers of Fashion Knit, who were protesting termination of their fellow workers, blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for one and a half hours from 8:30am and vandalised at least 10 vehicles.
At least 10 garment factories adjacent to Fashion Knit were declared closed for the day, fearing vandalism.
Moktar Hossain, deputy director of Industrial Police, said around 1,800 workers of the factory located at Jamgarah went on work abstention on Sunday demanding immediate removal of the company’s administrative officer and accountant.

The workers alleged that the two officials used to misbehave with them without any reason, the police official said.
But the authorities on the same day informed the workers that they would not remove the two officials from their posts, he said. read more.

* RMG unrest rattles Ashulia again:

Production hampered amid clash, vandalism, attack on factories

At least 50 people were injured and production at five ready-made garment factories in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, remained suspended yesterday due to clashes between police and workers.

The workers vandalised several factories in Jamgorah and around 15 vehicles, halting the traffic on Dhaka-Tangail highway for over two hours.
Around 1,800 workers of Fashion Knit Composite Limited had been staging a protest since Sunday demanding removal of its Administrative Officer Anisur Rahman and Accounts Officer Mehedi Hasan for their alleged misbehaviour with workers, said Moktar Hossain, deputy director of Industrial Police.

“However, the factory authorities refused to remove the officials and said those who were unwilling to continue their jobs were welcome to resign,” added Moktar.
When the workers went to the factory around 8:00am yesterday, they saw a notice saying 102 workers were terminated, which, said Moktar, sparked a storm of protest among the workers. read more.

* 70 injured in police-workers clash at Ashulia:

At least 70 people, including policemen and factory security guards, were injured in clashes at Jamgora and Dhonaid area of Ashulia on the outskirt of the city  on Monday morning when workers of garment factories clashed with law enforcers.
The agitated workers also blocked the busy Dhaka-Tangail highway for one-and-a-half hour and set fire on the generator room of a garment factory and vandalised 15 vehicles and factory furniture.
Amid workers unrest, the management of five garment and sweater factories declared holyday for the day and another garment management declared lock-out of the factory for indefinite period.
Sources said several hundred workers of Fashion Knit garment at Jamgora went to the factory in the morning and started demonstration when they saw a notice hanging on the wall declaring termination of their fellow workers.
Then the workers went out from their work place and started demonstrating at the factory.  They set fire on the generator room of the factory and beat up some of the factory security guards, witnesses said. read more. & read more.

* RMG workers demand payment of Eid bonus, wages by August 15:

Garment workers demanded payment of Eid bonus and due wages within August 15 to avert any untoward incident.

They called upon the garment factory owners to pay all the arrear salaries within August 10 and full pay of August within August 17.
“Every year the garment workers go on the rampage for realising their wages and Eid bonus. This year we do not want repeat of such incident,” president of National Garment Workers’ Federation (NGWF) Amirul Islam Amin told the FE.

He said the federation has opened an emergency cell at its Topkhana Road office to listen to any complaints from both the workers and owners during Ramadan.
The apparel workers will not be able to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr if they were not paid their wages for August and the festival allowance before Eid, said Mr Amin . read more.

* Valuables gutted in Gazipur garment factory fire:

A devastating fire which broke out at a garment factory in Taragas area of Sadar upazila gutted huge cotton and machinery and also 10/12 adjacent houses and shops on Sunday evening.

Fire service sources said the fire broke out at Marks Knitting Factory at about 7 pm and soon engulfed the factory and adjoining shops and houses.
The origin of the fire could not be known immediately.
Being informed, five fire fighting units from Gazipur and Tongi rushed in and doused the flame after five hours of hectic efforts.
The extent of loss from the fire could not be estimated immediately. to read.

* Govt hears worries of RMG buyers tomorrow:

Workers are busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. The recent labour unrest in the sector has worried international buyers.Photo: STAR
Refayet Ullah Mirdha

In the wake of concern from international buyers over labour rights in Bangladesh, the labour and employment ministry have scheduled a meeting with them tomorrow to hear out their issues.

Nineteen international garment buyers met at Walmart’s Gulshan office last week to draft a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina voicing their uneasiness over a number of issues.
At the forefront is the persistent labour unrest in the sector.
The murder of Aminul Islam, a local leader of Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, who disappeared only to be found dead on the sidelines of Tangail-Mymensingh highway earlier in April, was another concern.
To date, eleven rights groups from US wrote to Sheikh Hasina on April 18 demanding a swift, comprehensive and impartial investigation into Islam’s death. read more.

* Air shipment of apparels drops by 40pc in last two years:

Air shipment of ready-made garments has dropped by 40 per cent in last two years but a small increase has been noticed this year as the winter in the European Countries and the holy Eid are ahead.

In 2010, the total air shipments of both perishable and non-perishable goods were 155,226 tonnes and in 2011 the total shipment was 162,987 tonnes with major perishable items.

As per the above figure though the total volume increased by 5 per cent last year at least 40 per cent RMG shipment has declined as the buyers now frequently prefer sea shipment. Despite cancellation of the first shipment and due to the economic recession in the US the buyers are not purchasing more, said Bangladesh Freight Forwarding Agents Association (BAFA) President Mahbub Anam. read more.

* Bangladesh wants GSP facility from Russia for 57 products:

Bangladesh would ask Russia for providing generalised system of preference for 57 products, mostly from readymade garments sector, in a bid to enter the big Russian market and boost overall exports to the country.
‘Bangladesh Tariff Commission has already finalised a list of the products which will be placed before the Russian authorities for GSP facility,’ a commerce ministry official said.
Currently, some Bangladeshi products are getting GSP facility in the Russian market but main export items such as knitwear and woven items and textile products remain out of the facility, he said.
He said the government was hopeful that knitwear and woven garments products would get GSP facility in the Russian market. read more.

17:43:16 local time map of india INDIA

* Indore jail inmates take a shine to leather:

Inmates at the Indore Central Jail have a new passion. With 40-50 kg of leather made available to them every month, the convicts are busy churning out leather products to be sold locally.

Soon, their handbags and wallets will find their way to the markets at Indore and Bhopal, and a national rollout is planned later.
An initiative of Tata International Ltd (TIL), engaged in the business of leather goods, training is imparted to the jail inmates at Ujjain. The idea is to motivate the prisoners to learn skills and utilise them for self-employment and income generation.

Started on June 12, 2012, TIL (leather garment and article business) has sent over two lots of leather from its manufacturing unit at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. An instructor, trained by the company, works with the inmates at the Indore Central Jail to enhance the quality of goods and ensure that certain standards are met for a national rollout. read more.

* Violence mars Vijayamma’s fast:

A desperate Vijayamma tried to weave a sympathy chord to reach out to the weavers at Sircilla, even as her ‘Chenetha Deeksha’ tour to the textile town was marred by violence on Monday with hundreds of TRS workers and activists of pro-Telangana organisations stopping her convoy at several places from Hyderabad to Sircilla in Karimnagar district.
They pelted stones, eggs and even slippers on the convoy, while police lathicharged the protesters as they went all-out to prevent the YSR Congress honorary president from entering the small town and staging a hunger strike in support of weavers.

The situation turned ugly at a few places with both the T-protesters and YSR CP workers hurling stones at each other. A near stampede-like situation prevailed at the deeksha pranganam at Sircilla when some protesters threw stones, footwear, eggs and water sachets on the dais while the YSR CP workers and security persons formed a security ring around Vijayamma. Before the situation could go out of control, senior police officials asked Vijayamma to wind up her programme. Initially, the dharna programme was to be held between 11 am and 5 pm. But with tension mounting, police curtailed the dharna though Vijayamma herself reached the deeksha venue around 1.45 more.

* Season of layoffs:

For years, Tirupur kept its date with major global sporting events where T-shirts and jerseys knitted in the Tamil Nadu hosiery town catered to tens of thousands of sports fans. At the Euro 2012 soccer championship, though, Tirupur was missing from the action.

“We got orders for Euro T-shirts this year too but could not accept them because of the pricing and shortage of labour. The orders went to Bangladesh and Pakistan,” says C Udhaya Shankar of Sree Santhosh Garments.

The town’s 5,000 units with 2 lakh workers had emerged an international garment manufacturing hub over the last decade but the global slowdown, soaring yarn prices and the closure of 500 polluting dyeing units following a court order last year have dealt it a blow.
According to an official estimate, 25,000 families of migrant workers have returned home, over 100 textile units have shut and so have many restaurants. read more.

* Drought fears loom large in Indian cotton growing states:

According to a latest press release (July 20th) from India’s Meteorological Department, so far, India’s rainfall during this monsoon season (June-September) is 22% below long period average.

Northwest and Central India, which are important cotton growing regions have registered 39% and 26% deficient rainfalls this monsoon season so far compared to long period average.
Government of India is alarmed about the lack of rainfall in 6 states that grow cotton which include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Karnataka.
According to reports, in Gujarat, the number one cotton producing Indian state, only 35% of land has been sown till date and if monsoon fails in August, crop production conditions will be severe. read more.

* TUFS extended for 12th Plan period- Anand Sharma:

The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma announced ninth National Investment and Manufacturing zone (NIMZ), a third for Maharashtra in Nagpur.
He also announced TUFS has been extended for the 12th five year Plan. “There will be more allocation under the 12th plan then under the 11th plan, so “those in textiles sector must feel assured that the government is conscious what their needs are” said Shri Sharma.
“I am happy to inform that ‘in-principle’ approval has been accorded to the proposal given its significance” said the Minister after inaugurating the National Institute of Intellectual Property Management (NIIPM) in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan and Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Mukul more read more.

* Yarn output to rise 6 per cent in FY13-CMIE:

After a drop in yarn production in FY12 following low demand from the textile sector due to high prices, the material’s output is likely to pick up during the current fiscal, a top economic think-thank has said.

“We expect demand to revive in FY13. Yarn production is expected to grow by 6 per cent (in FY13) after falling by 5.1 per cent in the previous fiscal,” Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly report.
It also expects the production to grow, especially of cotton, because of the capacity expansions planned by companies during the fiscal.
The city-based research outfit forecast cotton yarn production to grow by 8.5 per cent during the fiscal, after it declined by 8 per cent in FY12. Synthetic yarn production is expected to register a 3 per cent growth for the fiscal. read more.

17:13:16 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile industry criticises loadshedding of energy:

The doom and gloom textile industry has welcomed the holy month of Ramazan with heavy heart because of unprecedented loadshedding of both electricity and gas.
It may be noted that the industry will be supplied with five days a week gas besides six hours a day electricity loadshedding.

Resultantly, around 40 percent production capacity of textile industry is idle, leading to unemployment of textile workers at large. Particularly, the textile hubs in the province of Punjab including Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot are the worst hit and all their hue and cry has fallen on deaf ear of the government. read more.

* Olympic footballs: Proudly made in Sialkot:

Throughout the history of football world cups and other major FIFA events, the world has seen one brand deliver the most astounding soccer balls, carved to perfection and tested in adverse conditions to exceed all FIFA standards for an ‘Official Match Ball’.

Yes, we’re talking about the German brand, Adidas.

But what lies behind the Adidas logo on these soccer gems is the sweat and blood of hard-working rural women, belonging to the city of Sialkot, Pakistan – an effort concealed in disguise, under a dangerous quilt of consumerism.

Till the advent of the year 2000, Pakistan was making 75% of all the soccer balls consumed by this entire planet, making it by far, the greatest supplier of footballs in the world, marks a report by the US government. Though the market share has dropped considerably in the past decade and Pakistan’s supply share into the world market has dropped down to around 40%, its unmatched hand-stitching quality in the world keeps winning Pakistani balls a place in all major FIFA tournaments, despite the presence of heavy competitors such as China, India and Thailand.
read more.

17:13:16 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* A Warning for Retailers: Purchase Uzbek Cotton and Risk Your Reputation:

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world where children are forced, by order of the government, to harvest cotton.

Every fall, schools and public offices are shut down for a month and schoolchildren, teachers, and public servants are forced into the fields. Over a million children are affected, yet retailers around the world continue to purchase cotton picked under conditions akin to Stalin-era labor camps, bringing the government over one billion dollars in annual revenue.

The recently released paper, “From the Field: Travels of Uzbek Cotton Through the Value Chain,” authored by Valentina Gurney, Patricia Jurewicz, and Alina Shlyapochnik of the Responsible Sourcing Network, an Open Society Foundations grantee, presents retailers with information on the production and nature of Uzbek cotton.
“From the Field” discusses all the channels that cotton typically travels through before it is exported from Uzbekistan, the buyer’s risk of exposure to forced child labor associated with Uzbek cotton, and actions that can be taken to drive forced child labor out of the fields.  A second paper, “To the Spinner,” slated to be released later in 2012, will take an in-depth look at the industries of cotton trading and spinning. read more.

map of Asia

* China’s manufacturing sector faces cost challenges

* Garment exporters face downturn
* Making footwear materials domestically remains a thorny problem
* Garment Factory under construction in Hoa Binh

* Pregnant illegal workers to be allowed to give birth

* Workers ditch factories for fields
* US big brand boycott called for by workers
* Workplace injury rate rises
* US looks beyond garments to deepen Cambodia trade

* Workers fired for labour roles, says ILO

* 50 hurt as RMG workers clash with cops in Ashulia
* RMG unrest rattles Ashulia again
* 70 injured in police-workers clash at Ashulia
* RMG workers demand payment of Eid bonus, wages by August 15
* Valuables gutted in Gazipur garment factory fire
* Govt hears worries of RMG buyers tomorrow
* Air shipment of apparels drops by 40pc in last two years
* Bangladesh wants GSP facility from Russia for 57 products

* Indore jail inmates take a shine to leather
* Violence mars Vijayamma’s fast
* Season of layoffs
* Drought fears loom large in Indian cotton growing states
* TUFS extended for 12th Plan period- Anand Sharma
* Yarn output to rise 6 per cent in FY13-CMIE

* Textile industry criticises loadshedding of energy
* Olympic footballs: Proudly made in Sialkot

* A Warning for Retailers: Purchase Uzbek Cotton and Risk Your Reputation

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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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