in the news on-line, 3 august 2012

08:24:55 local time map of china CHINA

* The trade with the EU was facing a grim situation:

According to customs statistics, January – May2012, China’s textile and apparel exports valued at USD 93.523 billion. Compared with the same period in 2011 increased 2. 63%. Among them, The exports to European Union( the EU) valued at USD 16.756 billion, accounted for 17.92 % of total exports to the global in textile and apparel, down 11. 17% y/y. The EU is one of the main markets for China’s textile and apparel exports. The negative growth highlights the grim situation of the European Union market .

Market share declined in the EU
The EU, the United States, and Japan had been the three main markets of China’s textile and apparel exports. Due to the influence of the whole economy in the EU, the market share declined significantly. According to Chinese customs data, January – May2012, The EU shared 17.92%of China’s textile and apparel exports, decreased 2.78% compared with the corresponding period in 2011. This is the first time for less than 20% over the past 5 years in the corresponding period. Depressed demand in the EU market have emerged. read more.

* Social security network basically established:

China had “basically” established a social security network on the foundation of social insurance, social assistance and social welfare by the end of 2011, the country’s auditing authority said Thursday.

The country’s National Audit Office said in an audit report posted on its website that more than 1.3 billion people were covered by the social insurance network by 2011, 3.77 times the number of people covered in 2005.
A social assistance network that mainly includes subsistence allowances for urban and rural people living in poverty has realized full coverage in the country, the report said.
“China has gradually improved the social welfare system that prioritizes assistance for the elderly, the disabled and orphans,” it said. read more.

* Coach reports 24% rise in Q1 net profit:

Apparel and accessories maker Coach Inc reported a 24 percent annual increase of net profit in the quarter ended June 30 driven by strong sales growth and an increase of distribution channels.

Sales in the fourth fiscal quarter added 12 percent from a year ago to US$1.03 billion and profit stood at US$251 million, The New York-based said in a stock exchange filing yesterday.
The company, listed in both New York and Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has been extending retail network in emerging luxury markets like more.

07:24:55 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Wire coat hangers face US dumping action:

Vietnamese steel garment hangers exported to the US might be subject to anti-dumping duties as high as 188 per cent, according to the Viet Nam Competition Authority under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Under the US Department of Commerce (DOC)’s preliminary determination which was revealed last Friday, the tariff imposed on Vietnamese steel hangers ranged between 135.81 – 187.51 per cent, while the figures for similar products from Taiwan were only between 69.98 and 125.43 per cent. read more.

07:24:55 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Wage hike not hurting job sector:

The Central Wage Committee yesterday revealed that more jobs were becoming available and that the government was doing a good job at controlling inflation and the price of goods.

Permanent secretary for Labour Dr Somkiat Chayasriwong, in his capacity as panel member, said the committee met yesterday to discuss the impact the minimum wage hike and the European economic crisis was having on the job situation in the country. They found that the rate of available jobs in April stood at 0.6 per cent, rose to 1.33 per cent in May and then to 1.9 per cent in June, he said, adding that this reflected business operators’ growing confidence.

Since the government has been controlling inflation and the price of goods well, he said the European crisis should not affect the job market very much. read more.

07:24:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Minister stipulates retirement allowance:

Industry, Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem has stipulated that workers wanting to retire should be entitled to severance pay.

“Severance should not be less than three months or more than 10 months of the annual salary,” he said in a letter dated July 27.
The minister was responding to a request from union leader Chea Muny for help to allow 19 workers to retire from US-owned Manhattan Textile and Garment Corp in Kampong Cham. to read.

* Job security low as unemployment drops:

The economy is growing rapidly and productivity improving, but when it comes to enjoying decent work, most Cambodian workers are missing out, new statistics reveal.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) released the latest data from its EU-funded project Monitoring and Assessing Progress of Decent Work this week, showing that despite an improving environment, including low rates of official unemployment , 75 per cent of workers are in vulnerable jobs. read more.

* Decent work in Cambodia: how far have we come? :

Women work at the Tai Yang Enterprises factory in Kandal province last month. The manufacturer is a supplier to the brands Levi’s and Gap. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia has come a long way since the early 1990s, with peace and macroeconomic stability ushering in a period of economic “catch up” with its neighbours.

However, while rapid economic growth has clearly raised incomes and improved livelihoods in many corners of the country, recent questions have emerged over how “inclusive” this growth is, and indeed, what else is needed beyond growth for people to live a full and productive life.
For most, having a job is key to realising these aspirations. However, not all jobs are equal. Since the late 1990s, the concept of “decent work” has come to embrace the universal need for productive employment at a fair income, with respect for essential rights and a degree of security against economic shocks.

In 2008, the goal of decent work for all became an explicit target of the Millennium Development Goals.
But defining the concept is not enough. To translate normative goals into well-informed policies, decent work needs to be measured. This is why Cambodia, with the help of a joint EU-International Labour Organization project, Monitoring and Assessing Progress on Decent Work, has established a set of decent work indicators (DWIs), the first collection of which were published in a Decent Work Country Profile, launched this week in Phnom Penh. read more.

* Unions skirmish using factory as ‘battleground’ :

The setting is familiar – a garment factory in Kandal province that supplies Levi’s and Gap – and so is the number of people involved, but a strike that has raged at Yung Wah Industrial II factory since Monday has a twist: it’s worker versus worker and union versus union.

Sok Phalla, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union representative at the Yung Wah Industrial II factory in Takmoa town, said about 5,000 workers have been striking to demand their employer, which also supplies Old Navy, sack two of her union rivals, one of which she claims beat her up.
“We need the company to respect its own internal polices regarding violence in the factory,” she said.
Phalla claims Phorn Sok Khy, who is associated with the Cambodian Labour Union Federation, punched her in the face while another CLUF member, Ken Samnang, hurled abuse. read more.


08:24:55 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* KOICA & Ministry of Industry increase the textile quality standard:

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) conducted technical cooperation with the Ministry of Industry to improve textile quality standard and ensure quality of product testing.

This technical cooperation project needs at least US$1.6 million.
Of the total fund, Resident Representative of Korea International Koica Sungho Choi said it allocated US$1.5 million in the form of laboratory testing equipment assistance, aid expert assistance, and training assistance.

According to him, KOICA will provide 36 types of test equipment, amounting to 45 units to the Textile Center, Bandung.
“We also will send 2 experts and give training opportunities for technicians and management personnel in South Korea,” he said on the sidelines of the cooperation signing at the Ministry of Industry, Thursday (02/08/2012).
This cooperation was manifested in the record of discussion (ROD) on Technical Cooperation in International Textile Quality Standard and Textile Testing Quality Assurance that will last until the end of 2014. read more.

06:54:55 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Myanmar’s Lower House rejects proposal to probe into strikes:

Myanmar’s parliamentary House of Representatives (Lower House) has rejected by a majority vote against a proposal urging the government to form an investigation commission to probe into strikes in Yangon over recent months in order not to harm foreign investment, official media reported today.

On Wednesday’s session of the Lower House, a parliamentarian debated against the proposal that the formation of the commission is not needed to thoroughly enforce the new labor laws which have been enacted, said the New Light of Myanmar.

Noting that formation of labor organizations have been allowed since March 1, Minister of Labor U Aung Kyi said such “formation of independent labor organizations will sow seeds of confidence between employers and employees, contributing to
freedom of association and freedom of expression.”

“Political intervention will not help settle labor disputes. Foreign investors are well informed of new labor law of Myanmar, assisted by legal consultants. A new legislation calls for time to take effect thoroughly,” he quoted a chief consulting officer
of an international organization as debating, warning that formation of an investigation commission is like unearthing the seed of confidence and is very dangerous.
read more. & read more.

06:24:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Unrest at two garments factories in Gazipur:

Workers of two different factories in Gazipur protested and observed a strike on Thursday, demanding an increase in salary, Eid bonus’, profit shares and protesting against the system of ‘cut-off’s’ from the factory.
The workers of Vieala Tex Limited (unit-2) in Sadar Upaizla of Gazipur and Parfeti Van Meli Bangladesh Private Limited at Beltoli village under Shreepur Upazila of Gazipur took part.
At one stage, workers tried to block the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, adjacent to the factory, but police foiled the attempt.
Agitated workers said that recently the factory managements made a ‘cut-off’ list of its manpower and accordingly, fired workers from the quality section of the factory.
They claimed that the arrears of the sacked workers were not paid according to law. This triggered the labour unrest at the factory.
The workers observed a strike on Wednesday, demanding their salary to be paid for the month of July and 15 days of August, 5% profit and an Eid bonus.
But as the authorities did not show any interest, workers on Thursday began their agitation programme. read more.

* Apparel workers to get wages before Eid in Ctg:

The city administration along with Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has taken measures to deal with continuing agitations by apparel workers in the port city.
The agitation is meant to press workers’ demand for wage raise and other benefits on the occasion of celebrating Eid.
Apparel manufacturers have also decided to pay their workers the wages before the Eid vacation. The law enforcing agencies have deployed special security forces for preventing any unwanted situation in any sewing factories in Chittagong.
Besides, the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) and BGMEA have jointly formed special monitoring cell to water down any awkward incident.

Talking with The Independent, the first Vice President of BGMEA Nasir Uddin Chowdhury said, “The BGMEA is cautious over the situation relating to garment sector in Chittagong. The monitoring cell is inspecting garment factories and contacting all factories this month to learn about any trouble.”
He said if any factory was found facing any crisis, the monitoring cell would take initiative to resolve immediately with the help of the BGMEA more.

* Low carbon Comilla plant brings laurel for Brandix:

Female workers at Brandix Comilla zone plant, which provides employment to over 3,000 workers, stitching woven clothes for western brands. Foreign investors, like the Sri Lankan company, increasingly relocating factories to Bangladesh, lured mainly by its cheap labour. Many of the estimated 4.5 million workers, mostly young women, serve with 5,000-odd factories for Tk 3,000 a month, the industry’s minimum wages.

Bangladesh unit of apparel maker Brandix Group has snagged an environmental award from British retailer Marks & Spencer for its effort to significantly ramp down energy use and carbon footprint, officials said Thursday.

The Sri Lanka-based group’s Comilla factory, which can churn out 350,000 pieces of garments a month, has managed to cutback on energy consumption by 27 per cent, water use by 45 per cent while carbon emission by an estimated 60 per cent-part of its agenda to follow global ethical sourcing practices, they said.

Brandix Casualwear Bangladesh Ltd, a concern of Sri Lanka’s largest garment exporter, launched operation in Comilla industrial zone in April 2011 and the factory specialises in manufacturing of woven garments for men, women and kids.
read more.

05:54:55 local time map of india INDIA

* Reservation for handlooms makes no sense:

The Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985, needs to be revisited in view of today’s realities. The Handlooms Act has reserved almost all mass-consumed items to be produced by handlooms since 1985.

This reservation continues till date, despite the fact that it would be impossible for us to clothe a billion people economically by using handlooms. Even in 1985, it was an impossible Act to comply with.
The reservation persists in spite of the common knowledge that most mass-consumed items are produced only on powerlooms.

When hank yarn was brought under the excise net in 2002, powerloom units, strangely enough, were up in arms against the order, and openly admitted that bulk of the hank yarn was indeed consumed by them. Bringing hank yarn under excise will affect them adversely, they argued.
More recently, when the Textiles Commissioners’ officers found several thousands of powerlooms making items reserved for handlooms, they too admitted that powerlooms had been making these items for several decades, and, in fact, should continue making them. read more.

* Coimbatore to host global meet on industrial textiles:

An international conference on industrial textiles – ‘InduTech 2012’ is scheduled to be held at the PSG College of Technology here on August 3 and 4.
Key innovations and opportunities in the industrial textiles space is expected to be highlighted during the two-day event.
The Departments of Textile and Fashion Technology, Department of Automobile Engineering of PSG College of Technology and PSG Institute of Advanced Studies in collaboration with the Office of the Textile Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, are jointly organising this event. read more.

* Reebok: deploying extra resources for franchisees’ dues:

Reebok India said on Friday that it is deploying additional resources to ‘reconcile customer accounts’ even as about 80 of its franchisees have written to the CEO of the parent company Adidas seeking his intervention.

The company, which had filed an FIR against its two former executives alleging fraud of Rs. 870 crore, said it is taking longer to reconcile customer accounts due to ongoing investigations. “We are pro-actively deploying additional resources to address the concerns and expedite the resolution,” Reebok India Company said in an email.
The company said authorities are carrying out thorough investigations into the fraud allegations against its former MD Subhinder Singh Prem and chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat across various dimensions, which also includes its own customers.
When asked about the letter sent by nearly 80 franchisees from the capital expressing their insecurity due to lack of clarity from the company about its future operations in India, Reebok India declined to address the issue directly. read more.

* Reebok’s Q2 global sales down 26pc due to India issues- Adidas:

Sportswear major Adidas today said global sales of its Reebok brand declined by 26 per cent in April-June quarter on a ‘currency-neutral basis’, mainly due to impact from Reebok India Company, which filed a police complaint for an alleged Rs 870 crore fraud.

The Group also said it expects a hit of 70 million euro in its global operating profit in 2012 on account of “irregularities” in Reebok India.
“Reebok sales declined 26 per cent on a currency-neutral basis, largely as a result of negative impacts from Reebok India Company and the non-recurrence of prior-year licence sales,” the German Group said in a statement in its website.
Reebok brand’s revenue in the quarter was at 336 million euro as against 427 million euro in the year-ago more.

* Madhya Pradesh’s textile firms take CDR route for survival:

Global downturn and steep rise in prices of yarn have hit Madhya Pradesh’s textile sector hard and most of them have taken the route of capital debt restructuring (CDR), through which the loan restructuring exercise is done, to get rid of the slump.

A number of textile companies in the state, including Pratibha Syntex, Maral Overseas, Spentex, STI and Parasrampuria have approached banks seeking restructuring of their loans.
Margins of Oswal group, which plans to invest Rs 950 crore in the state by next fiscal, have come down. It is still not eligible for applying to the restructuring of its loans. Citing reason, SP Oswal, chairman, Oswal Group, said, “We posted a net profit of Rs 110 crore in the previous fiscal. My company is looking at doubling its profits by this fiscal end.”

Another firm Spentex has a loan of Rs 500 crore which it got from a consortium of lenders including ICICI, SBI, OBC and Bank of Baroda. Amrit Agrawal, director (finance), Spentex, said, “The only thing that they have restructured is providing a moratorium of nine months with a protection of net present value, whereas we are demanding that it for two-year sans protection of NPV.”wo-year sans protection of NPV.” read more.

* India expands its 2D/3D virtual garment development training:

Over 200 Tukatech 2D and 3D CAD systems have been installed at 26 Apparel Training and Design Centers (ATDC) run by the Government of India’s Ministry of Textiles.
This means that there are now more than 2,000 Tukatech systems used for instruction in Indian fashion schools, according to the company,
Recently, Tukatech partnered with the Institute of Apparel management (IAM), which is backed by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), to install the first digital fashion Innovation Lab that offers ‘Concept to Consumer’ training for their Fashion and Lifestyle Design Degree programmes, using software and systems that are redefining apparel production and management.
Tukatech added that its systems are designed to provide digital solutions seamlessly throughout each stage of the product development chain, for example with TUKAcad pattern making, grading, and marker making, is said to be more efficient and user-friendly than ever. read more.

* Southern spinners opt for cotton imports:

Cotton imports by mills in the south have picked up considerably in the last one month on the back of lower international prices and expected delay of fresh arrivals in the domestic cotton market.

Bannari Amman Spinning Mills, a leading cotton spinner from the south, is importing 10 per cent of its annual consumption from Africa. “Importing is cheaper at a time when domestic supply of new cotton has delayed,” said S V Arumugam, managing director (MD) of the company.
The mills are sourcing the raw material from west Africa, Uganda and Tanzania. A total of 1.5 to two million bales (a bale=170 kg) are expected to be imported by November after India’s new crop cotton enters the market. read more.

* India turns cotton importer despite record crop:

Textile mills have started importing cotton and are likely to purchase 2 million bales in 2011-12 marketing year ending next month, as excess exports have led to shortage of the fibre in the domestic market.

India, the world’s second largest cotton grower, has exported about 12.5 million bales (of 170 kg each) in 2011-12 marketing year (October-September) so far.

“There is a shortage of cotton in the domestic market as about 12.5 million bales of natural fibre have been exported and arrivals are also less,” a Textiles Ministry official said.

Textile mills have started importing cotton mainly from the US and Africa and are expected to purchase a total of 2 million bales this year, the official said. read more.

* Weaving a tradition:

The government is developing weaving clusters in Varanasi and organising festivals to boost the handloom industry

Known since olden times for its delicate weaves, exquisite patterns and brilliant and bold colours, Banarasi saris have always been an inevitable yet proud feature in every woman’s wardrobe. However, the advancement of textile machineries and advent of various other cloth materials have put the Varanasi handloom industry to disadvantage and pushed the weavers towards financial distress.

Taking notice of the situation, the government has given the nod to 12 small, one large and one mega handloom clusters in Varanasi for the holistic and sustainable development of the weavers. Overall, 610 small clusters, 20 large clusters and six mega clusters in the handloom sector are under various stages of development across the country. To showcase, popularise and promote the cultural heritage of this centuries-old city, the government will organise the ‘Banaras Weaves’ festival at Delhi’s Dilli Haat from October 16 to 30. read more.

05:24:55 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile industrialists halt capital investments:

As the energy crisis tightens its grip on Pakistan, the textile sector is seeing a halt in capital investments by several leading players who have also stopped importing new technology into the country.

Industrial upgradation is considered essential for the survival of any sector; however there are a number of other reasons that led to the state in which the textile sector is in. The foremost is the energy crisis leading to a steep decline in profits with market leaders suffering enormous deficits.

The industrialists while talking to The Express Tribune said that the machineries remain idle for most of the time due to prolonged power outages. This is contrary to the 2004-05 trend when the sector invested heavily into their businesses resulting in value addition and significant increase in exports. read more.

* Garment exports decline by $139m:

Chronic power and gas shortages severely hit the domestic garment sector of the country as it exports fell by $139 million during financial year 2011-12.

The country’s garment exports declined by $139 million, from $1.773 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 to $1.634 billion in fiscal year 2011-2012.
According to exporters they had suffered eight percent decline in exports of readymade garments in the last fiscal year.

According to former chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea), Ijaz A Khokhar garment exports had declined by at least 15 percent. He said that the production of garments had declined between 35 percent and 40 percent because of persistent shortages of electricity and gas.
He said that labourers had become 30 percent more expensive; adding to the overall cost of production, read more.

* Ban on export to adversely hit cotton prices- PCGA:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has expressed its concern on the prohibition of cotton export by the State Bank describing it a conspiracy of bureaucracy of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). Chairman of PCGA Amanullah Qureshi said that prices of cotton in local market went down due to stoppage of exports.

He said that State Bank sources told him that it has not received any information from the TDAP to continue export of cotton from the country.
It is said the export permission for cotton expired on June 30, 2012, which was for three years. Sources said the decision to allow export of cotton would be decided on acceptance of new policy by the ministries of commerce and textile and approval by the concerned more.

* Baba Jan’s detention may be lawful but it is not right:

One should read the story of Baba Jan Hunzai, if they’re still wary of claims that public administration in Pakistan, particularly away from Punjab and urban Sindh, is colonial in nature.

Baba Jan is a rights activist and leader of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF). He and two more youth activists are detained in Gilgit-Baltistan jail for almost a year now; two others were only recently released on bail. Their crime is agitation against the police for killings of a man and his son at a demonstration in August 2011. This was to demand due compensation for the affected families of massive landslides in 2010 that led to the formation of an artificial lake, now known as Attabad lake, in what used to be a settled area. A judicial inquiry had held the G-B police responsible for the two killings.

There has to be something very wrong with the law if it treats agitation for rights by citizens as a crime and equates activists to terrorists (Baba Jan and four other activists are charged for terrorism). To top that, the police have been extending judicial remand of the Hunza activists to date, since their arrest in September 2011 – denying them their right to a free and fair trial.
The demands for rights by industrial workers and landless peasants of Punjab have also been suppressed in the name of rule of law. Like the Hunza activists, powerloom workers of Faisalabad and tenant farmers of Dera Saigol farms in Muridke or Kulyana Estate in Okara have also been charged with the Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, for demanding fair wage and property rights to the lands they till, respectively. read more.


They’re closing down the textile mill

*Anyone looking for early signs of distress in an economy should forget John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman and listen instead to Bruce Springsteen.

That’s the message from Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, who on Wednesday cited the American rocker, known as The Boss, as one of his economic heroes.Swan, named by banking magazine Euromoney as its finance minister of the year in 2011, said Springsteen foretold the story of economic and social change in the United States, particularly around his home state of New Jersey.

“You can hear Springsteen singing about the shifting foundations of the U.S. economy which the economists took much longer to detect, and which of course everyone is talking about now,” Swan said in a lecture to ruling Labor Party members. read more.

Bruce Springsteen My Hometown:
Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there aint nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they aint coming back to
Your hometown, your hometown, your hometown, your hometown

you can hear the song here.

map of Asia

* The trade with the EU was facing a grim situation
* Social security network basically established
* Coach reports 24% rise in Q1 net profit

* Wire coat hangers face US dumping action

* Wage hike not hurting job sector

* Minister stipulates retirement allowance
* Job security low as unemployment drops
* Decent work in Cambodia: how far have we come?
* Unions skirmish using factory as ‘battleground’

* KOICA & Ministry of Industry increase the textile quality standard

* Myanmar’s Lower House rejects proposal to probe into strikes

* Unrest at two garments factories in Gazipur
* Apparel workers to get wages before Eid in Ctg
* Low carbon Comilla plant brings laurel for Brandix

* Reservation for handlooms makes no sense
* Coimbatore to host global meet on industrial textiles
* Reebok: deploying extra resources for franchisees’ dues
* Reebok’s Q2 global sales down 26pc due to India issues- Adidas
* Madhya Pradesh’s textile firms take CDR route for survival
* India expands its 2D/3D virtual garment development training
* Southern spinners opt for cotton imports
* India turns cotton importer despite record crop
* Weaving a tradition

* Textile industrialists halt capital investments
* Garment exports decline by $139m
* Ban on export to adversely hit cotton prices
* Baba Jan’s detention may be lawful but it is not right

They’re closing down the textile mill

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2