in the news on-line, 13 august 2012

14:06:04 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Employees Compensation Program grants P1.145 billion in 2011:

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP), through its administering agencies, the Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector, has awarded a total of 1.145 billion in benefits payments covering 282,046 claims  filed by workers in CY 2011.

“The State Insurance Fund (SIF), which is managed separately by the SSS and the GSIS,  holds the contributions paid by the private sector employers and the government agencies, finances the ECP’s benefit payments  comprising of sickness, medical services, disability, rehabilitation services, funeral and death benefits,” Baldoz said in the statement sent to “Isyu ng Bayan” of Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.

Baldoz added the benefits under the employees’ compensation program seek to mitigate income risks associated with work-related sickness or injury which resulted to disability or death. read more.

13:06:04 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* ASEAN states invest 178 mln USD in Cambodia in H1:

Cambodia has attracted the fixed asset investments of 178 million U.S. dollars from its ASEAN member states in the first six months of this year, according to a report of the Council for the Development of Cambodia on Friday.

From January to June this year, the country granted licenses to four projects from Thailand with the total investment of 84 million U.S. dollars, four projects from Vietnam with 82.5 million U.S. dollars, and one project worth 11.5 million U.S. dollars from Singapore, the report said.

During the period, Thailand invested in rice industry, footwear factory and clothes manufacturing in Cambodia, it said. Vietnam was in the field of beverage manufacturing and rubber plantation and processing, while Singapore was in garment and textile industry.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. read more.

14:06:04 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* ECONOMIC BRIEFING: 2Q12 GDP, domestic demand continue to dominate:

 Real GDP growth in 2Q12 came up stronger at 6.37%yoy (2.80%qoq), significantly higher than consensus and our forecasts. Poor performance of exports, amid stronger imports, of goods and services can apparently still be more than offset by stronger pace in domestic demand.
The statistics office also revised up the 1Q12 GDP growth to 6.32%yoy, which mainly caused by an upward revision in the agriculture sector. Meanwhile, in a separate publication earlier released on Wednesday 1 August, a quite sharp downward revision in the manufacturing production (large, medium and small/micro) in 4Q11 and 1Q12 was not reflected in the GDP data at all, thus causing most growth projections to be understated.
(…)
Manufacturing sector performance recorded slightly lower growth, at 2.7%qoq or 5.4%yoy, which may have been also affected by slowing external demand. The traditional sector of textile, garment and footwear performed better, while food, beverages and tobacco industries showing a slowdown. Despite the upcoming implementation of LTV and DP regulations, automotive and machineries industries performed much better at 11.74%yoy vs. 6.23%yoy in the previous quarter.
read more.

12:06:04 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* RMG workers besiege BKMEA office in N’ganj:

 The workers of an apparel factory in Siddhirganj yesterday besieged Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association (BKMEA) office at Chasara in Narayanganj city, demanding payment of their wages and other arrears.

Sources said the authorities of Rak Garment closed the factory for an indefinite period on August 9 without paying their salaries.
The garment workers brought out a procession in the morning that took position at Chasara Central Shaheed Minar.
Later, they stopped demonstrating after the BKMEA officials and the garment owners assured them of looking into the matter. to read.

* Workers alleged rape; govt denies (2):

Thousands of Bangladeshi female workers, working for a readymade garments factory in Jordan, have claimed to be suffering from acute sense of insecurity, raising allegations that 23-24 of their colleagues have gone ‘missing’ over the last one year. The workers also alleged that the Indian owner of ‘Classic Fashion’ and the Bangladeshi authorities there are tied to the ‘disappearances’ and ‘killings’. The female workers are also unable to return home as their passports have been taken by the owners.
After failing to elicit positive response from the office of the Bangladeshi honorary consul there, they have, in a desperate attempt for a resolution, resorted to abstaining from work for the last three days. Allegations have also been levelled against the Bangladeshi authorities that instead of taking steps, they are ‘pressuring’ the workers to rejoin work.
However, the government has refuted the claim, dismissing the accusations of killings and forced disappearances of the workers. to read.

* RMG workers agitate for wage, bonus:

Several hundred workers of a garment factory staged demonstration demanding wages and festival bonuses in the capital’s Kalyanpur area Saturday, police said.

The protesting workers also blockaded the busy Mirpur-New Market Road for nearly two hours, which seriously disrupted vehicular movements at the area causing immense sufferings to passengers particularly the office- goers in the morning.

Witnesses said the trouble erupted at about 8:15am when around 1000 workers of Padma Garment located at Darus Salam Road came out on the street demanding payments in the form of salaries and festival allowances.

The protesters said the owners did not clear their monthly salaries and Eid bonuses yet despite they (workers) were assured of getting the payments by August 10. “We do not want any violence. We just want our hard earned payments,” Farzana Akhter, a garment worker said. read more.

* Poorest people buy one kilo cloths at Tk 150 in Rangpur:

Poorest of the poor in the city are buying Eid cloths for their kids from a market that sells wears by putting on a scale.
Most of these unfortunate parents will celebrate the largest Muslim festival wearing old attires.   Near the Rangpur Stadium, there is a market, named Hanumantala market. It is the place where the cloths are sold by putting on scale and measuring their weights.

Rostom Mia and his wife Rokhsana Begum, talking to the Independent said, they have bought two kilograms of cloths with Tk 300. Their two daughters will wear these dresses. These couple will celebrate Eid and say their prayers wearing old cloths. They said, this year the price of cloths are higher than the previous year.
(…)
A day labourer of Gangachara area, Karim Uddin (56) says he has come here to buy cloths for his two sons, one daughter and for his wife. He has bought 2 shirts and 2 pants with only Tk 400.
But he could not buy his spouse a new saree. Therefore, he has bought an old saree with Tk 150 and has bought an old panjabi for himself with Tk 100.
Karim Uddin says he has to give his one week’s savings to buy all these things.
The shopkeeper Salamat Mia of that market says he sells wears for poor people.
“I am not getting enough number of customers this time around…although Eid is not that far,” Salamat said. Slum dwellers are the main customers of this market.
read more.

11:36:04 local time map of india INDIA

* Exporters likely to get another round of sops:

Exporters could get another round of sops to help them retain their foothold in the rapidly shrinking global market, especially in the crisis-ridden Eurozone.

The commerce department is reviewing the situation at various export centres across the country and is likely to take a call on a supplementary package of sops soon, a government official told ET.

“There is a surplus left from the allocation that was made for product and market-linked incentive schemes that were announced in the annual supplement to the foreign trade policy in June,” the official added. “The commerce department is waiting for the right time to announce additional incentives.”

Exports powerhouse China reported only 1% increase in shipments in July, as sales to the European Union contracted sharply, suggesting even more stress for Indian traders. read more.

* Fashion for a green world:

They are freeing traditional craftsmen from unemployment and reviving traditional textiles.

Kasmin Fernandes meets four young Indian designers who are weaving a greener tomorrow, one thread at a time.
Two different threads are converging in fashion — a longing for lasting value, and a desire to know more about the way fabrics are sourced and clothes are made. There’s a change brewing in the fashion world, where the fate of the planet is becoming a bigger issue than the latest celebrity scandal. At a time when money is not easy to come by, ‘sustainability’ is the new buzzword because of its costeffectiveness. For the forward-looking in the industry, ethics is the new elegance, and doing things right is more important than doing things fast. Is all this just a fad, to be forgotten when the next big idea comes along? Research suggests otherwise, given the current intellectual wave and the concern over climate change. These Indians are paving the way in sustainable clothing. read more.

* Textile crisis: Cotton is the worst hit:

Fluctuating cotton prices, increase in power tariff and wrong government decisions have led to the crisis in the textile industry.

Apart from these, a poor demand for textile products has added to the problems, the Bank of Baroda Capital (BoB Capital) said in its report.
BoB, on the instructions of the textile ministry, studied the current state of the industry while preparing a debt restructuring plan. DNA has a copy of the report.

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have the maximum number of textile mills in the country but there’s never adequate power in both states. As a result production takes a beating and ultimately the industry suffers, the report said.
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), an association of countries trading in cotton, had initially projected a shortfall of 10% in the availability of cotton for the 2011 fiscal, the report said. read more.

* Jute Packaging Act needs amendment-Textiles Ministry:

Considering empowerment of the jute, kenaf and allied fibres industry, it is vital to amend the Jute Packaging Act so as to allow introduction of avant-garde technology, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Kiran Dhingra, has said.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Application and Commercialization of Natural Fibres Composites in Infrastructure, Construction, Housing and Automotive Sectors’ in New Delhi, she said about 3.5 million jute mill workers in India are directly engaged in the jute packaging process, and this has always restricted use of high-tech technology in the process of packaging.
Hence, there is a need for amending the Jute Packaging Act to provide a boost to the jute and other allied fibres industry, Ms. Dhingra said. read more.

11:36:04 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Beating idleness:

With a youth unemployment rate of more than 19 per cent, Sri Lanka is just one of many countries facing an uphill struggle to create jobs for youth. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) highlights a project that is part of its worldwide efforts

Shashikala, a young woman living in one of the poorer areas of Sri Lanka, breathes a sigh of contentment as she talks about her job.
Together with her brother and sister, they have set up a garment manufacturing outlet, an 8 by 10 feet room with two sewing machines, where they turn out 100 pieces of garments for children per day.

“I can now earn enough for my family, whereas before I stayed home with no income, wasting my time,” says Shashikala, who did not give her last name.
Shashikala is one of the beneficiaries of the ILO Youth Employment Project, which supports unemployed youth via vocational, entrepreneurship and on-the-job training to improve their skills and their chances in the labour market. read more.

* Labour rights and employers’ plights:

We should congratulate the Secretary of FTZGSEU for ‘sending a message to the garment industry that codes of conduct can be more than paper tigers’. (US Buyer Severs ties with Lankan supplier over Labour issues – The Island Financial Review of 7/08/2012)

It is not clear from the news item whether the reporter contacted the Sri Lankan supplier Mirrai (Pvt) Ltd or the US retailer J Crew to verify the information contained in the article. Certainly, the article only appears to contain one point of view. It is also an interesting coincidence that a very similar news item appeared in the Business Times on Sunday, August 5.

It is heartening to note from this news item that J Crew has indicated it will make every effort to exit Mirrai in a responsible and ethical manner, minimising disruption. One hopes that this means J Crew will assist Mirrai in ceasing operations and paying compensation to nearly 1,000 workers who will lose their livelihood.

Sri Lanka is a country where the labour force has stringent legislative protection. There are many judicial forums wherein workers may address their grievances and obtain redress. Therefore, it would be interesting to ask the question, why were the concerns of this particular labour force not addressed in this manner? Instead the FTZGSEU  was prompted to take ‘the next logical step and ask the buyer J Crew to intervene’ (BT News).  It appears that the FTZGSEU did not think that by taking this ‘logical step’and forcing the buyer J Crew to cease further production in Sri Lanka, it would also be causing: (a) loss of valuable foreign exchange earnings, and (b) the loss of employment to 1,000 direct employees and the resultant economic and social disruption to the lives of their families. read more.

11:06:04 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Gov’t approves measures on increasing consumer goods production:

Government of Uzbekistan adopted a resolution “On additional measures on increasing the volume of production and expanding of assortment of produced non-food consumer goods for 2012-2015”.

The document said that within the implementation of approved programmes on priorities of industrial development for 2011-2015 and on preliminary measures on expanding production and launch of production of competitive products, Uzbekistan launched 14 new enterprises in textile sector and 15 enterprises in leather-footwear industry in 2011. At the same time, some 14 textile enterprises and 17 leather-footwear enterprises were modernized and their capacities were expanded.

In the result of adopted measures on modernization and update of production potential of industries, which produce non-food consumer goods, Uzbekistan started to produce 48 new textile products and 24 types of leather and footwear goods in 2011. In 2005-2011, the volume of production of textile and ready-made garments and knitwork rose by 3.2 times, footwear – 3.8 times and leather goods – by 11.6 times. read more.

 

map of Asia

PHILIPPINES
* Employees Compensation Program grants P1.145 billion in 2011

CAMBODIA
* ASEAN states invest 178 mln USD in Cambodia in H1

INDONESIA
* ECONOMIC BRIEFING: 2Q12 GDP, domestic demand continue to dominate

BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers besiege BKMEA office in N’ganj
* Workers alleged rape; govt denies (2)
* RMG workers agitate for wage, bonus
* Poorest people buy one kilo cloths at Tk 150 in Rangpur

INDIA
* Exporters likely to get another round of sops
* Fashion for a green world
* Textile crisis: Cotton is the worst hit
* Jute Packaging Act needs amendment-Textiles Ministry

SRI LANKA
* Beating idleness
* Labour rights and employers’ plights

UZBEKISTAN
* Gov’t approves measures on increasing consumer goods production

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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