19:41:56 local time CHINA
* Adidas pullout highlights rising labor costs:
Adidas last week confirmed the closure of its only wholly owned factory in China, citing a “realignment of its global resources” but more likely signaling the reality of rising labor costs on the Chinese mainland.
The German-based athletics sportswear company said it would shutter manufacturing operations in the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province in October, affecting 160 employees.
Adidas said it will continue to source goods from about 300 factories across China.
There has been speculation Adidas would move its manufacturing to cheaper labor countries such as Vietnam or Myanmar, but the company said it doesn’t have any immediate plans to relocate the Suzhou operations elsewhere.
Three years back, US-based sportswear rival Nike shut its apparel and shoemaking factory in Taicang City in Jiangsu Province to move to other Asian manufacturing sites. read more.
* Buyers aim to look for reliable suppliers @ Intertextile:
International home textile key buyers and 25 buyer delegation organisers from 18 countries and regions are invited to attend Asia’s leading home textile event, Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Autumn Edition, which takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from 28 – 30 August 2012.
Attending buyers include one of the top five American home textile importers, Victoria Classic, which is a business partner of large retailers and wholesalers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Freds.
Also attending will be Al Aqil Furnishings, a leading interior design contractor for residents and hotels, and AIC Gruppo, an interior design company specialising in design, space planning, manufacturing and installation for commercial projects from UAE. Home furnishings retailer NIBICO International from Taiwan, rugs, carpets and blanket importer Via Star Com from Brazil, beddings producer Minasglobal Ind Com De Artefatos Texteis from Brazil and home textile trading companies Adan Traders and Shamojee Fabrics & Carpets from Pakistan will also be present at the fair.
18:41:56 local time VIET NAM
* Textile sector gets stitched up:
That is despite Korea-backed Hansae Vietnam early this year deciding to build a $30 million factory in the Mekong Delta’s Tien Giang province, its third factory in Vietnam. This project will be operational in 2012’s third quarter, adding 30 million textile and garment items to the company’s production annually. The company’s two existing plants – Hansae Ho Chi Minh City and Hansae Tay Ninh presently has the capacity of 70 million textile and clothing items per year.
In the first five months of 2012, the company’s export value surpassed $160 million. The company expected its full-year export value to climb to $400 million in 2012, according to the company’s general director Kim Chul Ho. However, Hansae is just one of a few foreign investors jumping into garment and textile sector in Vietnam at this moment.
Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) figures show that FDI inflows in Vietnam’s textile and garment peaked from 2000-2008, with 2002 being an exceptional year when the sector wooed 149 FDI projects capitalised $406 million However, FDI flow trended downward during 2009, 2010 and 2011 when the sector only received 63, 72 and 80 new projects, respectively.
In the first four months of 2012, 11 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects came to Vietnam’s textile and garment sector valued at $19 million. The figures underline the sector’s diminishing attractiveness. During 2009-2011 the sector attracted a total $804 million, out of $32 billion committed to the country.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/7. (3rd item.)
18:41:56 local time THAILAND
* Thai firms earmark billions for neighbour:
Leading Thai companies are ready to outlay more than Bt28.5 billion setting up businesses in Myanmar following a meeting with President Thein Sein in Bangkok yesterday, amid expectations that a Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), Thailand’s biggest agro-industrial conglomerate, is set to invest US$550 million or Bt16.53 billion in Myanmar within the next three years.
CP plans to develop maize seed and farms, rice farms and rice mills, plus livestock processing plants. Its investment plan will kick off this year and run till 2015.
After meeting with Thein Sein yesterday, CP vice chairman Adirek Sripratak said the group would invest more in the country after successfully setting up both feed plants and farms since 1996. So far, its total investment in the country is about $150 million.
“Myanmar’s economy is growing since the government has opened the door for foreign investors. We believe that it will create business opportunities for us,” Adirek said.
The group will also establish a garment manufacturing plant and a consumer goods factory in Yangon soon. Myanmar offered cheaper labour and there was strong demand for garments. read more.
18:41:56 local time CAMBODIA
* MoU the key to compliance:
Amid a spate of garment factory strikes – including one at Tai Yang Enterprises that has lasted more than a month – Cambodia’s Arbitration Council yesterday said it wanted the industry to renew a memorandum of understanding on industrial action that has been in limbo since November.
“[The MoU] is something we would like the industry to come to the table on,” Arbitration Council Foundation executive director Sok Lor told the Post.
Strikes have increased significantly at garment factories since the MoU expired, while the Arbitration Council, an independent body funded by the World Bank, has also experienced a dramatic surge in cases across many industries.
The MoU, introduced in 2010, spelled out striking as a last resort and committed parties to comply with Arbitration Council rulings – not usually required because the council has no enforcement powers.
“In that environment, when we issued decisions, generally there was good compliance,” Lor said. “Strikes also dropped significantly – actually we had the lowest strike numbers … basically in the eight-year history of the Arbitration Council.
19:41:56 local time INDONESIA
* Thousands workers PT Panarub Dwikarya held a rally on Adidas Representative Office in Jakarta:
Thousands workers PT Panarub Dwikarya that organize strike since July 12, come in numbers toward Adidas Representative Office in Jakarta. They did it after more a week of strike, parties management didn’t have a good will to solving problem in PT. Panarub Dwikarya, one of company which produced shoes with adidas brand.
By use of buses and motor cycle, they coming to Adidas Representative Office in Jakarta in order to demand that management must be paying wage deficiency around 606,150 rupiah for all workers in PT.Panarub Dwikarya.
Beside a back payment money, holiday allowance (THR) is also one of what the workers demands. Another thing that is demanded is guarantee in freedom of association, payment overtime wages for workers in groub B, facilitate annual leave, uniform, insurance premium, grade and performance, raise a food, as well as elimination forced working system. read more.
18:11:56 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Thai job agencies get green light:
In an effort to tackle human trafficking and exploitation of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, the Myanmar government will permit Thai employment agencies to open offices in its country.
Myanmar’s Labour Ministry will grant permission to about 15 Thai companies to open employment agencies in the country, which can provide cheap and efficient services to the Myanmar nationals who legally want to work in Thailand, said Deputy Minister U Myint Thein.
He said the move would reduce cases involving job brokers exploiting migrant workers, especially where wages and human trafficking were concerned. to read.
17:41:56 local time BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers demand Tk 7,000 minimum wage:
RMG workers on Wednesday demanded the formation of a new wage board to raise their minimum wage to Tk 7,000 from Tk 3,000.
Representatives from several RMG workers’ bodies submitted a letter to the Director of Labour containing their five-point of demand, including announcement of 50 percent dearness allowance until the new wage structure is formed.
They also submitted a memorandum to the chairman of the Minimum Wages Board in this regard earlier on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation president Mahbubur Rahman Ismail told UNB that the workers’ leaders sought the intervention of the government in fixing their wages as per Section 139 under the Chapter XI of the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006.
The workers on June 25 communicated their demands in writing to the owners’ association as per the Chapter XIV of the act, he pointed out.
“We had expected that the owners would discuss the demands with workers for resolving the dispute on wages in 15 days from the submission as per the law. But they didn’t,” he added.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Garment workers’ leaders for steps to fix minimum wage at Tk 7,000:
Seven workers’ organisations in the readymade garment (RMG) sector demanded effective measures to fix minimum monthly wage for labours at Tk 7,000 to help them lead a normal life meeting minimum civic amenities.
They made the demand to protect the poorly paid communities as frequent increase in house rent in the densely populated workers-intensive residential areas takes away a major portion of their income.
The labour groups under the banner of Garment Sramik Sangram Parishad Wednesday submitted a memorandum with a three-point demand to the authorities of Minimum Wage Board (MWB) and Labour Department regarding the issue.
The labour bodies are Jago Bangladesh Garment Sramik Federation, Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation, Samannito Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Mukti Andolan, Biplobi Garment Sramik Sanghati, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Shava and Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati.
* Times of India: Bangladesh garment unrest worries global buyers:
Bangladesh’s government has promised top Western buyers of the country’s garments that it will address unrest in the textile sector over soaring living costs, it said today.
Last month, more than 300 major clothing factories were shut down for more than a week as tens of thousands of workers rioted for a 50 per cent hike in wages, amid rising rent and food prices.
Representatives of 19 global garment buyers including Wal-Mart, H&M, Gap, Carrefour and Marks & Spencer met the labour minister to convey their concerns over the violence, the government said.
“Inflation is eating into the workers’ earnings. The buyers said this issue should be resolved to prevent further unrest,” said labour minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
“Their concern is continued unrest would hamper production that may lead to delay in delivering orders, which is not good for anyone.” read more.
* Labour unrest in the RMG sector:
The ready-made garments (RMG) sector is at present the largest source of earning foreign exchange in the country. The RMG sector started its journey in the late 1970s and experienced a real momentum from mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
The garments industry has, however, been facing multidimensional problems such as acute power crisis followed by non-tariff restriction, chronic labour unrest, lack of infrastructural facilities, inadequate supply of raw materials and accessories, lack of efforts to diversify products and markets, irregularities relating to customs, bond, and shipping.
Labour unrest is the most talked-about issue in the RMG sector. The recent clashes between workers and law enforcers have created a serious crisis and disturbed the peacful environment in the industry. Ashulia and Tejgaon were the most disturbed areas. Strikes by workers were followed by clashes which spread like an epidemic to the other garments zones. The workers demonstrated on the streets, picketed, lay siege on either the offices of the factory managers or the factories to express their grievances and demanding higher wages and better job facilities.
A reason behind the labour unrest is the absence of legal and institutional arrangements to ensure labour rights in the RMG sector. Many of the garments factories in Bangladesh are alleged not to comply with the Labour Law and ILO conventions. The Labour Act-2006 (Labour code) clearly mentions that the wage of a worker must be paid within seven workings days [Section 123 (1)]. Many garments factories do not allegedly provide appointment letters/contract letters, identity cards and employee handbooks. Proper health safety and security arranegements for the workers are absent in many garments factories. Besides, the workers do not have clear idea about their rights and labour laws.
The main reason for labour unrest is inadequate wages of the workers. The sector employs about 40 per cent of the country’s industrial workforce. A recent study shows that the salaries of four million women RMG workers (comprising 85 per cent of the garments workers), working in 4,500 garments factories, are the lowest in the world for women garments workers. In some cases, the monthly wages of some factory workers is equivalent to or less than the hourly wages of a US worker.
* ‘House rent hike caused labour unrest’:
Labour Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain has marked uncontrolled hikes in house rent as the key reason behind demonstrations by workers.
“House rent is being increased twice even thrice in a year. This is sparking unrest among the workers,” the Minister told journalists following a meeting with local and foreign buyers and business leaders at the Secretariat on Wednesday.
“The government is concerned more about regulating the rent instead of an increase in their salaries at the moment, since raising their pay would only lead to further hikes in rent.”
Deputy Commissioners have already been instructed to enforce the Rent Regulatory Act strictly in their areas, Mosharraf added.
“They are already on it and will take steps if rents are hiked illegally or unfairly. If needed, they will run mobile courts.”
The minister rejected the claim by US Ambassador Dan W Mozena that the buyers from his country were worried about the condition of the RMG sector in the country.
Following the series of violence that broke out in Ashulia last month, the ambassador warned that if such situation prevailed, they would not want to risk continuing business here.
Hossain said, “Some are thinking that the conditions are very unfavourable to continue business. However, I have talked to buyers. They do not think that it is impossible to continue business. Instead, they think it is very much possible.”
read more. & read more.
* Buyers want wage review:
The wages of garment workers should be immediately readjusted in line with inflation and the consumer price index to quell persistent unrest in the industry. This was the demand of top buyers of Bangladeshi garment products yesterday.
Twelve leading buyers of brand products, including Walmart and JC Penny, conveyed to Labour and Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain their deep concern about worker unrest over pay raise and prospects for their businesses in Bangladesh.
The brand companies, which are compliant to workers’ rights, pressed the minister for initiating a transparent and reliable wage review process soon at a meeting where journalists were not allowed at the request of the buyers.
The minimum wage for garment workers was first set in 2006 and revised again in November 2010, when the monthly pay of an entry level worker was increased from Tk 1,662 to Tk 3,000.
The minister, on the other hand, played down the concerns of the buyers. “There is no reason to be worried,” he told the press after the meeting. read more.
* RMG owners asked to clear wages before Eid:
The commerce ministry yesterday asked garment factory owners to pay workers’ salaries and other allowances in due time to avert any kind of major untoward incident before the Eid festival.
The ministry also asked the owners not to sack any worker before Eid because such a step would usher unrest into the sector, said a senior official of the ministry, seeking anonymity.
After the meeting, the official said every year, a section of garment factories is unable to pay the workers in time and the workers bring out processions and start vandalism before Eid. read more. & read more.
* RMG workers clash with police in N’ganj, 20 injured:
Some 20 workers of an apparels factory at Rail-Line area of Fatulla were injured in sporadic clashes with police as they staged a demonstration demanding their arrear wages.
Local sources said that the workers of Mark Knitwear came to the factory as usual on Wednesday but they found a notice hanging at the entrance of the factory declaring lay off for 15 days.
When the workers found the lay off notice without any advance warning, they staged a demonstration and vandalised another apparels factory adjacent to their own factory.
On information, police from both of Fatulla and industrial police unit-4 rushed to the spot and charged baton to disperse the demonstrators. read more. & read more.
* Trade unions in Bangladesh always ‘politicised’:
The local industry owners differ with the concept of freedom of expression in the factories prescribed by the Western diplomats.
“We differ with their concept because of our geopolitical perspective which is very much different from the Western societies,” said a leading industrialist and president of an association. He told the Independent that they did not have any objection to forming trade unions in their factories but the problem is that trade union in Bangladesh country has always been politicised.
“The trade unions in our country do not perform like real trade unions rather they try to implement their political ideology instead of working for the betterment of the workers,” he pointed out.
The leader wanted not to be named because he fears his factory may be target for future unrest.
He gave the example of Adamjee Jute Mills and other big public sector factories which were crippled by the trade union activities and ended in complete closures.
The US ambassador in a recent meeting with the top business leaders underscored the need for upgradation of status regarding freedom of expression in the factories of Bangladesh.
The buyers also expressed concerns over the prevailing working conditions in factories particularly garments.
The meeting with the US ambassador also discussed about any other options that could look after the labour rights and working conditions, meeting sources said.
The association leader claimed that the condition of trade union in our country was not bad though the westerners do not recognize it. He said most of the factories maintain workers right and there are hardly any unrest or agitation by workers.
* Textile mill catches fire in Sirajganj:
A devastating fire gutted machinery and raw materials of a textile mill at Uttar Sartia village in Sadar upazila on Wednesday morning.
Sources said the fire originated at the JS Textile Mill from an electrical short circuit at about 11am and gutted thread, cloths and 10 power loom machines of the mill.
On information, fire fighters rushed to the spot and doused the flame with the help of local people.
The mill owner Mohammad Ali Zinnah claimed that the extent of loss from the fire could go up to Tk 5 lakh. to read.
* Plan to set up garments industrial park under direct ownership instead of PPP:
The government has undertaken a plan to set up much-awaited ‘Garments Industrial Park’ under ‘direct ownership through selling plots’ instead of earlier plan to set it up under Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“Leaders of garments and knitwear manufacturers and exporters gave the proposal to the ministry of commerce,” a commerce ministry official told BSS referring to a meeting held here today.
The 20th meeting of Social Compliance Forum for RMG was held in the commerce ministry’s conference room with Commerce Minister GM Quader in the chair.
Under the proposal, said the official, the government would earmark plots at any suitable place outside Dhaka and those would be sold directly to the entrepreneurs. People who would be affected for land accusation would be compensated through money, he added. read more.
17:11:56 local time INDIA
* Power cuts cripple small scale power loom units:
“Beginning with just 10 power loom units, Manamedu witnessed a mushrooming of nearly 150 units in a very short span,” says a handloom weaver in Tiruchi
Poor wages and a falling market seem to have prompted many traditional handloom weavers at Manamedu, Kodiyampalayam and Musiri to switch to power looms in the recent past. However, the nascent industry, which is grappling with the continuous power deficit, is finding it increasingly difficult to operate to full capacity.
“Over the past one year, nearly 150 families have migrated to Nambiyampalayam in Tirupur district to work as wage labourers at the power loom industries there,” says K.V. Ramalingam, who runs a small scale unit with four power looms at Manamedu. Among the first wave of traditional handloom weavers making the switch, Ramalingam recalls the industry was showing a lot of promise, until the state began facing its power crisis. “Beginning with just 10 power loom units, Manamedu witnessed a mushrooming of nearly 150 units in a very short span,” he says, adding “but no new unit has been set up hence.” read more.
* AFT Mill may rise a la phoenix:
Chief Minister N. Rangasamy informed the Assembly on Wednesday that his government has no plans to declare layoff in the Anglo French Textiles and efforts are being made to revive the mill at the earliest. Intervening during question hour, he said the Union government has sought his government’s opinion on declaring layoff in the mill as it had incurred huge loss in the last several years.
Replying to a query raised by AIADMK member A. Anbalagan, Agriculture Minister M. Chandrakasu, who also holds the Industries portfolio, said a total of 1,917 persons including officers are working in the AFT mill and a sum of Rs.359.57 lakh was given as salary.
Providing a detailed explanation on the state of affairs of the mill , the Minister said that the mill was running on loss since the financial year 1993-94. The loss owing to ‘Thane’ cyclone was estimated at Rs.18.45 crore and the mill is yet to get any compensation from the government. Only a few units of the mill are functioning at present, he said. read more.
* Indian govt to set up coir ‘fibre bank’ in Kerala:
* Tussle between farm, textile ministries may scupper cotton Bill:
The revised draft Cotton Distribution (Collection of Statistics) Bill, 2012, has removed some “harsh” provisions, including a jail term for ginners for failure to register with the textile commissioner on time, but the farm ministry’s objections on grounds it would take the cotton trade back into the licence era has put a question mark on the fate of the Bill.
The revised draft proposes to make it mandatory for cotton ginners to provide data on the variety and the quantity of cotton processed in the factory each day throughout the season.
They would be mandated to maintain registers and submit data on the cotton pressed each month with the textile commissioner to improve accuracy in data compilation. All cotton processing factories, traders and manufacturers will be required to register themselves with the textile commissioner within six months of the enactment of the proposed Act, and failure to do so will attract…read more.
* UBM India- Prime Source Forum – focus on India:
UBM has been organising Prime Source Forum (PSF) in Hong Kong every year since 2006, bringing together more than 400 senior executives from 20+ countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities that manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are facing in the supply chain of the apparel industry.
This year, PSF is coming to Gurgaon, India, from 5-7 September, bringing in senior decision makers of sourcing and supply chain from apparel brands,retails and manufacturers to discuss the most relevant challenges of the downstream apparel industry. read more.
17:11:56 local time SRI LANKA
* USAID – DAYA Apparel alliance uplifts Eastern living standards :
The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia A. Butenis inaugurated an apparel factory in Thirukkovil, Ampara on Monday, set up under the Eastern Garment Alliance, a public-private alliance between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Daya Apparel Pvt Ltd.
Two other factories have already opened under this alliance over the past year, in Ninthavur and Maha Oya. The three factories have helped over 1,000 men and women from different ethnic backgrounds build skills and secure employment in conflict-affected Ampara. In addition to direct employment, the alliance has opened up secondary jobs, especially in construction. read more.
16:41:56 local time PAKISTAN
* PCGA condemns proposed hike in cotton fee:
* Adidas chief slammed for denying 34p an hour wages:
Olympic sponsor’s comments ‘a slap in the face to thousands of workers’
The chief executive of Olympic sponsor Adidas today came under fire as a charity accused him of making unsubstantiated and contradictory claims about the pay of factory workers making its clothes.
War on Want hit out at Herbert Hainer after the British daily newspaper the Independent reported he refuted allegations that staff earned as little as 34p an hour and claimed Adidas ensured double the local pay rate. The paper quoted Hainer as saying “It’s completely false. It’s a lie.”
The charity pointed to the Independent’s own investigation in April, which found Indonesian factory workers on wages as low as 5,000 rupiah (34p an hour), skipping meals to save money and sending their children away to be looked after by grandparents. The investigation revealed factories paying less than the minimum wage, and employees verbally abused, slapped in the face and told to lie about their conditions during audits by Adidas. read more.
* Adidas exploitation: the truth behind the brand:
Around the world 775,000 workers, mainly women, in 1,200 factories across 65 countries make Adidas products. Almost all of the jobs are outsourced to factories in poorer countries, yet through Adidas’ buying practices the company has enormous influence over their working conditions, and ultimately their lives. In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics research has exposed the harsh reality of life for these workers.
The Playfair 2012 campaign, which War on Want supports, highlighted the appalling experiences of workers making Adidas official Olympic and Team GB goods in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines in their recent Fair Games report. Further investigative research by The Independent revealed more stories of the abusive treatment of workers in sweatshop conditions in Indonesian factories.
Across all of the factories researchers visited, workers faced the same issues: poverty pay, terrible working conditions and threats, harassment or punishment if they try to organise trade unions to defend their rights.
This is exploitation. It wouldn’t be ok for Adidas to treat workers like this here, and it’s not ok anywhere else. read more.