in the news on-line, 2 august 2012

00:20:32 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese-made flag symbolizes partnership:


Song Hongmin stitching a 2.85 by 1.92 meter US flag. She has been working at Beijing Jinggong Red Flag Factory Co for 10 years, earning 2,000 yuan ($313) a month. [Photo/ China Daily]

Age of globalization means getting the best deal, Peng Yining reoports.

Every morning for the past 20 years, Karyn Abe has run the Stars and Stripes up the flagpole in her garden. Every evening, the flag is lowered and stored away, ready for use the next day.
The 68-year-old resident of Hawaii flies the 1.2 by 1.8 meter national emblem to show her allegiance to her country. But for Abe, and many other US citizens, the flag’s provenance is as important as the ideals it embodies.
When she learned earlier this month that most US flags sold in the country are made in China, she checked the packaging in which her flag came.

“Thank goodness. My flag was made in the United States!” she said. “It seems a shame to outsource such an American-based thing as our own flag.”
And it’s not just Chinese-made flags. The matching blazers and uniforms that members of Team USA wore at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games caused an uproar. They, too, were made in China.

The flames were fanned by politicians, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said the uniforms – designed by the US couturier Ralph Lauren, but outsourced to China – should have been put in a pile and torched. read more.

* 65% of London Games products made in China:

If you are a big fan of collecting Olympic products, now give some credit to “made in China”

Chen Jiemin, chairman of Dongguan Zhanhong Weaving String Co Ltd, watched with pride on TV the tens of thousands of London Olympics athletes and workers wearing lanyards made by his company.
Zhanhong Weaving, one of the many licensed Chinese manufacturers for the current Olympics, has shipped 700,000 lanyards to London. “Small and peripheral as it seems, even a single lanyard can represent the global image of ‘made in China’, so its quality is the first thing I care about,” Chen said.

About 65 percent of the London Olympic Games’ licensed products, including badges, key chains, and official mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, come from the world’s second-largest economy, according to Xinhua.net. read more.

* China will maintain labor cost advantage in foreseeable future:

It is an exaggeration to say China’s labor costs will catch up with the U.S. and European countries in short term.

Certain foreign chambers of commerce and financial institutions recently published reports saying that many foreign companies have felt pressures from increasing labor costs in China, and are considering relocating their production facilities to certain Southeast Asian countries where labor costs are much lower. The French bank Natixis forecast in a recent study that labor costs in China would match those of the United States within four years, catching up with eurozone countries in five years and with Japan in seven years.

Increase in labor costs an inevitable trend

Since the Reform and Opening-up, China has exported a large amount of labor-intensive products thanks to cheap labor. However, the country is gradually losing its labor cost advantage due to steady and rapid economic growth as well as certain unavoidable changes in the structure of the labor force. read more.

00:20:32 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Weaving new life into ‘hablon’ fabric:

In the 1960s, during the heyday of their fabric business in Iloilo City, the family of Evelyn Larida-Jiz owned 100 looms that workers used to weave into hablon.
“We used to export to Japan,” said the sharp 70-year-old who is the third-generation proprietor of Arevalo Handwoven Products. When other weaving businesses began to use threads that bled and shrank, however, buyers stopped patronizing their fabrics.

Her mother astutely turned to another venture. With the opening of a maritime school nearby, the looms were used to build double-deck beds for the boarding houses teeming with students.
Today, the looms are down to nine.
Jiz revived the business in 1994, using polyester as well as jusi, which is material made from silk cocoons, for her cloth products.

“The business is come and go,” said Jiz in an interview with InterAksyon. “It’s good if there are orders. It’s good if people will come to your house [to see the products]. But if there are no buyers, the weaves will just be your inventory. You just stock your products there.”
Jiz, a former professor of college chemistry at the West Visayas State University, is in Makati City for the 34th Likhang Kamay Arts and Crafts Exhibit at the Glorietta 5 Atrium, which opened Friday last week and ended yesterday. read more.

23:20:32 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Companies resist pressure to buy export insurance:

Cash-in-advance and letters of credit are no longer competitive in the international marketplace, said Phung Dac Loc, the association’s general secretary and buying on credit was a common trend nowadays, especially in developing countries where importers usually had limited access to capital.

Export credit insurance would boost the country’s exports and help exporters reduce their risk, he said.
“Banks will provide loans to exporters without demanding collateral if they have export credit insurance, thus improving their borrowing capacity,” he said.
(…)
Exporters of two groups of products featuring 23 items— including seafood, rice, coffee, fruits and vegetables, rubber, pepper, cashew nut, tea, garment and textile, footwear, electronics and computer components, ceramics, glass, iron and steel products, machinery and transport vehicles— are encouraged to apply for the insurance. read more.

* Shoe exporters focus on their trademarks:

Leather and footwear companies mainly produce goods for export, without paying much attention to building their own distinctive brands.
Rather, they continue to work as sub-contractors for global brands such as Nike or Adidas because it would be too difficult to compete with those well-known brands on the global market. Nguyen Thi Tong, deputy chairwoman of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association, discusses this issue.

How have the difficulties in the world economy and the public debt problems in Europe affected exports of Vietnamese leather and footwear?
These problems significantly reduced consumption across the globe. The domestic leather and footwear industry exports 90 per cent of what it produces, so the industry suffered greatly from the worldwide economic recession and the public debt crisis in Europe. read more.

* Footwear exports to Brazil keep soaring:

Viet Nam exported over US$121 million worth of footwear products to Brazil in the first six months of this year, up 55 per cent from the same period last year.

This is an impressive increase for the sector, considering the global financial crisis has had an adverse effect on consumer demand and the quantities of goods imported by many countries.
According to economic experts, the extent that Vietnamese footwear has penetrated the Brazilian market will create an opportunity for Vietnamese exporters to expand their operations in other markets in the South American region. to read.

23:20:32 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Ministers discuss migrant issue:

The issue of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand was highlighted by Myanmar’s Union Minister Aung Kyi when he accompanied President Thein Sein on a visit to the Kingdom.
Aung Kyi met with NGO representatives from The Bateed Foundation, Mekong Migration Network and MAP Foundation to discuss ways to protect Myanmar workers.
He also met Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit and urged him to take appropriate steps to make sure Myanmar workers enjoyed the same salaries as Thais and had a right to send their children to Thai schools; Thai employers did not hold onto the workers’ passports; and those without passports got temporary ones. read more.

23:20:32 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factories claim worker support:


Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun (right) speaks outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh last month while accompanied by striking garment workers from the Tai Yang Enterprises company. Photograph: William Kelly/Phnom Penh Post

Workers at Tai Yang and Camwell factories in Kandal province, where a strike has lasted five weeks, have thumb-printed their support for legal action against Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun, management claimed.

Wu Minghuor, manager of the two factories in Ang Snuol district, said workers were sick of the dispute over seniority bonuses and were taking a stand against Chhun, who has been heavily involved in strike action outside the factories and in Phnom Penh.
“We are organising documents related to Rong Chhun,” he said, adding that all but 20 employees had returned to work. “Workers have given their thumbprints to us because they see what [Chhun] did is not right.”
Chhun, however, said the factory, with the help of other unions he wouldn’t name, had forced employees to thumbprint the document. read more.

00:20:32 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Business must address societal issues- poll:

 About 92 per cent of Malaysian consumers feel it is important for business to address societal concerns, based on a survey on how Malaysians feel about a variety of societal issues that affect consumer attitudes and purchase behaviour.

But only 42 per cent of the survey respondents rate the current performance as excellent or good, pointing to a need for businesses to re-look their investment in social purpose, according to the Edelman goodpurpose Malaysia Report 2012, released today, based on the survey.
A high number of Malaysian consumers surveyed (93 per cent) said they were personally involved in supporting good causes over the last 18 months, significantly above the global average of 60 per cent, Edelman Malaysia said when releasing the findings of the survey in a statement. read more.

22:50:32 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Union-level tribunal rules in labour dispute:

The Union Industrial Tribunal has overruled a Rangon Region tribunal. The ruling sacked two union leaders in the ADK clothing factory strike in Mingalardon Township, Rangoon Region. Nine union workers had originally been fired by the empoyer.
In June, a Rangoon-level tribunal ruled that nine workers who were involved in forming the workers’ union could be dismissed.
However, on July 19, the workers submitted an appeal to the Union-level tribunal.
The Union-level tribunal ruled that two workers, the  union chairman, Kyaw Min Htwe, and union executive, Myo Thaw, should be dismissed, and to give them compensation equal to a four-month salary and three-month salary, respectively.
read more.

22:20:32 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Job cuts key reason for RMG unrest:

An intelligence report has identified indiscriminate workers’ retrenchment as one of the main reasons forlabour unrest in the garment sector.

In July alone, such unrest took place in 193 factories in the country’s major garment industrial zones,including Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong, while the figure in Maywas 247.
“Like many other reasons, arbitrary job cut played a big role behind the occurrences of labour unrest,” said the report.

Wage related disputes, lay offs,inconsistency in piece rate, misconduct of mid-level management, road accidents and forcing workers to work during holidays are some other factors that led to the labour unrest. Liz Apparels, National Industries Ltd, Majumder Apparels,Radiance Apparels, GB Garments and Helicol Sweaters in Ashulia and Savar are as have retrenched a considerable number of workers, which consequently led to agitation of the workers, the report further pointed out.
The number of workers GB Garments dismissed was 42 and Helicol Sweaters 38 labourers. read more.

* BKMEA seeks one-time loan support before Eid:

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) leaders on Wednesday urged the Bangladesh Bank to provide one-time loan support on the basis of bank-owner relations if any owner faces cash crisis before Eid.

They also urged the central bank to remove the complexities over the disbursement of cash incentive and money of stimulus packages for the knit industry by taking proper steps.
The call came when a BKMEA delegation, led by its president AKM Selim Osman, met BB deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury at the Bangladesh Bank head office.
During the meeting, Selim Osman sought proper steps to resolve the problems created by ‘BTMA Certificate for Cash Assistance’ in getting alternative cash assistance for the knitwear sector. read more. & read more. & read more.
    

* RMG workers for payment before 20th Ramadan:


Jatiya Garments Federation forms a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday demanding salaries and bonuses for RMG workers before Ramadan 20.Photo: STAR

Garment factory owners should pay the apparel workers salary and Eid allowance before the 20th Ramadan (August 9) to avoid any unrest in the sector, demanded different garment workers’ associations.

At separate programmes in the capital, the leaders of the organisations made the demand so that the workers can spend Eid vacation with their families, said separate press releases yesterday. read more. & read more.
 

* RMG exports: Signals to reckon with:

Despite the resolute commitment to face the emerging challenges in all shapes and hues, the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector is perhaps fraught with the toughest of challenges since it grew into international prominence for well over two decades.

Curiously, these challenges are coming up not just as threats but with a mix of potential opportunities as well. So long, talking about a prospective business sector we fancied the expressions — challenges and opportunities. But as things stand now, especially on the garments front, the issue is a complex weave of threats and opportunities within the ambit of challenges. Yes, harvesting opportunities calls for rising up to the challenges that they pose.read more.

* Global recession hits RMG exports:

The RMG sector, which contributes about 75 per cent to the country’s export earnings, has been hard hit by global recession with a considerable fall in orders across the world.
According to experts, the situation is not likely to improve in near future. Recently, the export orders have declined by more than 20 per cent.
Apparel manufacturers and exporters said that shipment orders for ready made garments are declining fast.
Exporters told The Independent that buying orders in the knit and woven sector have decreased substantially. This is likely to leave the sector high and dry, they added.
Some knitwear factories in Narayanganj were shut down last week. Work in most factories have reduced by 20-30 per cent.
“Over the last 20 years, I always run my factories with overtime. Last year, I rented 15 factories to supply products. This year, however, only five of the factories are running without any overtime,” said Mohammad Hatem, vice-president of BKMEA, the apex body of knitwear industries. read more.

21:50:32 local time map of india INDIA

* Kanchi weavers’ future not smooth as silk:

For 66-year-old T.S. Subramaniam of Kancheepuram weaving silk sarees is a matter of pride and prestige.

“We have original handloom weavers and our speciality is weaving twisted yarn. Silk sarees manufactured here can be used by three generations and the quality will remain perfect,” he said. But today, he is worried about the future of the silk industry in Kancheepuram.
“At present, 90 per cent of silk sarees available for sale in Kancheepuram are not produced in this city.”

”They are non Kancheepuram sarees, but sold in this city under the Kancheepuram pure silk sarees brand name,” he said, adding that societies, which manufacture and sell only pure silk sarees made in Kancheepuram currently have stock for more than 18 months, while previously they used to have only 15 days of stock.
Further, the industry is also slowly dying due to lack of weavers. “We had more than 50,000 families engaged in weaving pure silk sarees in the 1970s.”

By 1990s, the number has come down to about 25,000 families and today, we hardly have 12,500 people involved in this cottage industry,” said G. Thanigaivel of Kanchipuram Murugan Silk Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society.
He noted that low wages and lack of continued employment had pushed people to move towards easier and remunerative jobs.

“A family gets about Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000 for weaving three sarees. If three family members are involved in the work, it could be finished within 20 days.
If there are not enough hands, it could even take about 40 days,” he said, adding that today’s generation prefer to work in industries and take weekly wages.
“Even middle-aged people are not interested in hard work, but prefer to work as watchmen and security and earn a minimum of Rs 7,000 per month, whereas in the silk industry, they get paid only when they complete assigned jobs,” said K. Sambandhan of Kanchipuram Tiruvalluvar Silk Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society. read more.

* 11 kids rescued, 4 held:

Eleven children, who were working as bonded labourers, were rescued from a garment factory at Sitapuri, Dabri in south-west Delhi on Tuesday.

The rescue operation was led by P V Tyagi, tehsildar of Dabri police station, police officers, members of the labour department and activists.

Four employers have been arrested but one employer managed to flee during the rescue. The rescued children are aged between 12 to 14 and were trafficked to Delhi by local agents from villages of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

These children used to stitch and do embroidery work for more than 12 hours a day getting only Rs 50 to Rs 100 a week for their services. They were made to work without adequate food and basic facilities. read more. & read more.    

* Workers demand their due:

Channabasappa, a pourakarmika from Mandya, says it has been two months since he was paid his salary. If he demands more payment, he would be taken off the job, he says.

Gowri V., a domestic help, claims workers such as herself, as well as those in the garment and agricultural sectors, face physical and mental harassment. These sectors prefer employing women as “we are ready to work for less pay than men”, she says.
These were some of the voices at a protest march organised by the Karnataka Shramikha Shakti, a group of workers employed in unorganised sectors.
The protesters demanded establishment of a welfare board along the lines of the one set up in Maharashtra, regular payment of wages, PF provision, health facilities and safety for women workers, among others.

Vanitha, a garment factory worker, said: “I feel I am in no way part of the society. We have no identity, no health benefits, and no other benefits at all.”
read more.

* ATMA, TLA agree on conditional wage hike:

After a month long strike across textiles mills in June, both Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA) and Textile Labour Association (TLA) have ended negotiations amicably and agreed upon productivity-based wage hikes.

According to Chintan Parikh, president of ATMA, it was agreed by both the parties that the wage increase should be structured in such a fashion that the net take home wages on annual basis is maximised, compared to the workers availing the disposable liquidity only in terms of terminal benefits
.”Resultantly, even if the same percentage of increase in the basic wages were to be offered by all the mills, the range of increase in wages would vary between as low as Rs 700 to as high as Rs 2200 to different sets of workers within the same mill,” said Parikh. Earlier, TLA had insisted for a single similar amount of increase spread over all the workers across mills. read  more. & read more.
 

21:50:32 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Workers’ Benefits:

Matters that need immediate attention

A Country could be considered as prosperous only when its artists and working class are leading a satisfactory life.
It is the duty of the Government and the Opposition to ensure that workers rights are safeguarded. From time to time, benefits should be revised and proper relief measures be taken at times of distress.
At present the following matters need immediate attention: read more:

21:20:32 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Export-related work- Mintex moving towards taking full responsibility?:

 Ministry of Textile Industry (Mintex), it appears is moving in a subtle way to take total responsibility of export related work, leaving Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to work as dummy departments.
These observations have been made by Towel Manufacturers’ Association of Pakistan (TMA) while commenting on the ‘concept paper’ on the proposed “Textile Pakistan, International Conference & Exhibition” forwarded by Mintex for feed back and suggestions.
(…)
The main objective of Ministry of Textile Industry was to implement Textile Policy 2009-2014 but, in TMA’s opinion, 99 per cent work on textile policy has not yet been implemented. Mintex should focus on implementation of this policy in its true sense and adopt proper planning for compiling next textile policy so that it yields better results.

According to the concept paper, textiles is the most efficient and competitive sector of our economy, which is competing in the international market for the last six decades and earning much valuable foreign exchange. It has grown in infrastructure tremendously and this growth has translated well into increase in textile exports. But unfortunately, the pace of this growth has been slow in comparison with other countries exporting textile goods.  read more.

* Cotton leave curl virus threat: Growers left with nothing but ‘unrealistic’ advisory:

With an exceptional delay in the monsoon showers, the cotton crop in Punjab has come under cotton leave curl virus (CLCV), which has increased by alarming seven per cent in the last one week.

Till a week ago, its spread was reported to around 11.34 per cent, which has now gone up to 18.1 per cent, ringing alarm bells in the official circles and among farmers. The major areas under attack are in districts of Khanewal, Pakpattan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Layyah and Muzaffaghar.

The agriculture department has already issued an advisory, suggesting curative measures for farmers who are now fearing a heavy loss.

“The trouble is that the department wants farmers to use balanced fertilisers,” says Afzal Maitla from Pakpattan. “The farmers, however, cannot afford Urea, leave alone adding other nutrients. The rising cost of production has taken much of such ‘luxuries’ out of majority of farmers’ reach. The farmers know that only vegetative growth would help them and plant survive, but they don’t have money,” he claimed.
read more.

map of Asia

CHINA
* Chinese-made flag symbolizes partnership
* 65% of London Games products made in China
* China will maintain labor cost advantage in foreseeable future

PHILIPPINES
* Weaving new life into ‘hablon’ fabric

VIET NAM
* Companies resist pressure to buy export insurance
* Shoe exporters focus on their trademarks
* Footwear exports to Brazil keep soaring

THAILAND
* Ministers discuss migrant issue

CAMBODIA
* Factories claim worker support

MALAYSIA
* Business must address societal issues

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Union-level tribunal rules in labour dispute

BANGLA DESH
* Job cuts key reason for RMG unrest
* BKMEA seeks one-time loan support before Eid
* RMG workers for payment before 20th Ramadan
* RMG exports: Signals to reckon with
* Global recession hits RMG exports

INDIA
* Kanchi weavers’ future not smooth as silk
* 11 kids rescued, 4 held
* Workers demand their due
* ATMA, TLA agree on conditional wage hike

SRI LANKA
* Workers’ Benefits

PAKISTAN
* Export-related work- Mintex moving towards taking full responsibility?
* Cotton leave curl virus threat

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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
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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
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