19:29:20 local time CHINA
* Unions target Fortune 500 firms over wage talks:
About 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies operating in China will have collective wage bargaining by the end of 2013, a senior union official said.
Approximately 80 percent of the 4,100 enterprises set up by Fortune 500 companies in China had introduced collective bargaining by the end of 2011, Zhang Jianguo, director of the collective contract department at the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, told China Daily.
Zhang said the target that the federation set in 2011— 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies to have trade unions to carry out collective wage talks by the end of 2013 — could be reached.
“We prioritized boosting wage talks in Fortune 500 companies because those companies play an important role in China’s economic and social development and they set an example for other enterprises,” he said. read more.
* Children join parents’ petition for overdue wages:
A group of 13 children drew widespread attention in China last week by helping their parents claim wages held in arrears.
The children, the youngest of whom was five, stood in a line in downtown Dali, a major tourist destination of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Tuesday, holding posters that demanded immediate payment of their parents’ overdue wages.
Their parents are all migrant construction workers at a development project in downtown Dali. Their wages have been held in arrears for six years.
“I’m Yu Xian. I want milk and cakes. Please pay my parents their wages,” read a poster held by a 5-year-old boy.
Yu, from Qujing city of Yunnan, said his father had worked for many years in Dali. “He hasn’t been home for a long time. I want him to get paid so that I can go to school,” he said. read more.
* Samsung enters world of fashion:
Firm known for electronic devices aims to diversify in China by selling clothing
Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest company by sales revenue and a leading global smartphone maker, is diversifying into the clothing industry with a plan to sell garments in China.
The company already has a successful business in electronic devices in China, which gives it a solid foundation for it to expand into other areas in the Chinese market, said the company’s high-level executives.
Samsung sold more than 50 million smartphones during the second quarter of this year, making it the world’s biggest by sales volume, according to the US-based IT research company International Data Corp.
Most Chinese customers know about the company’s popular handset Galaxy smartphones, but few know about its Galaxy garments. read more.
19:29:20 local time PHILIPPINES
* DOLE welcomes defeat of US anti-outsourcing bill:
The Department of Labor and Employment on Saturday welcomed the defeat of an anti-outsourcing bill in the United States, saying it would benefit the Philippine business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the BPO remains the strongest key employment generator in the country, and is seen to be more robust in the coming years.
“This (defeat of the bill) means that more BPO companies can expand their businesses in the Philippines and generate the much needed employment for our local workforce,” Baldoz said.
She added that while the DOLE had been vigilant and proactive in implementing measures that could mitigate the impact of the bill had it become law, “the US Senate decision is very much welcome news.”
Had it been passed into law, the proposed “United States Call Center Worker and Protection Act” would prohibit American companies from setting up call centers in foreign countries, including the Philippines. read more.
* In Calabarzon, workers get first taste of wage cuts via two-tier wage system:
The two-tier wage system is being piloted since May this year in Region IV-A or Calabarzon (short for the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon). The region hosts nearly half of all approved or proclaimed export-oriented ecozones in the Philippines.
The new wage policy is laid down here through Wage Order No. 15. It sets the “floor wage” at P255 ($6.10) per day, an amount that is lower than the minimum wage rates in the three areas of the region. Minimum wages in the region range from P315 to P337 ($7.54 to $8.07).
The new “floor wage,” or the first and the mandatory wage tier, is reportedly effective up to 2016. It will change only when the poverty threshold for the region changes. The second tier, or the productivity-based part, is a P12.50 ($0.30) “conditional temporary productivity allowance.”
So, where are the pay hikes?
The wage order granted a range of pay hikes from P2 to P90 ($0.06 to $2.15), but only for workers earning less than P255 ($6.10). On the average, most Calabarzon workers earning less than P255 ($6.10) would get only P18 ($0.43), said the labor thinktank Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) in its study of Wage Order No. 15.
Meanwhile, the minimum wage earners in Calabarzon get no mandatory increase in the latest wage order, EILER said.read more.
18:29:20 local time VIET NAM
* WTO boosts garment trade:
Garment exports have grown at an annual rate of 21.7 per cent in the five years since the country joined the World Trade Organisation, the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association said.
Le Tien Truong, its deputy chairman, said exports, which had been worth only US$5.9 billion in 2006, rose to $15.8 billion last year.
Viet Nam has become the second largest garment exporter to the US, third largest to Japan, and fifth largest to the European Union, he said.
The industry accounts for 15-16 per cent of the country’s total exports, he said, and employs 2.5 million workers.
WTO membership enabled many garment companies to find new markets as well as enjoy priorities such as the most favoured nation status, he said.
It had also brought many foreign investors into the Vietnamese garment industry, he said. read more.
* Vietnam downwardly revises 2012 garment export target:
* Minimum wage may rise 35 percent:
From January 1, 2013, minimum salary may rise by VND700,000 ($35) to the highest level of VND2.7 million ($135) per month, according to a proposal of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).
In a draft decree on minimum wage, published on August 16, the ministry proposed two plans.
The first plan: the minimum salary for enterprises in Region 1 will rise by VND700,000, to VND2.7 million. It will be VND2.4 million ($120), VND2.13 million and VND1.93 million for workers of enterprises in Region 2, 3 and 4.
The second plan: The highest level for Region 1 is VND2.5 million and the lowest level of VND1.8 million for Region 4.
If the decree is approved, the new minimum salary will take effect from January 1, 2013.
A minimum wage is the lowest monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labor. read more.
* Insufficient safety gear poses threat to labourers:
Much of the safety gear currently on the market is insufficiently labelled, posing a threat to labourers’ health, experts have said.
Trieu Quoc Loc, director of the Viet Nam General Confereration of Labour’s Labour Safety and Science Centre, told Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that a lot of low-quality safety gear was currently being sold on the market because authorised agencies were not being monitored strictly enough.
Moreover, he said, there were enterprises who used fewer raw materials than regulations specified, resulting in cheap and ultimately unsafe products. read more.
18:29:20 local time THAILAND
* GDP figures to fuel monetary policy debate:
Will the intense monetary policy debate lead to a cut in the interest rate – or the firing of the central bank governor?
Today, a report on the economic growth rate in the April-to-June period may strengthen or weaken the argument to cut the policy rate.
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and new central bank board chairman Virabongsa Ramangkura have strongly demanded the Bank of Thailand cut the policy rate to below 3 per cent in order to boost economic growth.
Central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul and other senior bank officials, meanwhile, are still cautious about the possibility of a rate cut, believing that the current relatively low rate protects price stability and accommodates economic growth.
Many business leaders and small business owners have sharply criticised the Bt300 minimum wage, price-control and rice-subsidy policies.
All these controversial policies increase the costs for many businesses, as well as taxpayers. read more.
18:29:20 local time CAMBODIA
* Shoe workers petition ministry over factory closure:
About 300 workers from Ginant (Cambodia) Shoe Co Ltd presented a petition to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Friday, sources said.
Keo Sok Sithini, a ministry consultant, said the government would seek a solution for the workers whose factory closed on Tuesday and who have not been paid for 10 days.
“According to the Labor Law, the factory has to pay the workers first even though it has other debts,” the consultant said. “We will file a court complaint to sell factory assets to pay the workers because the owner of the factory has escaped.”
* International expo in Cambodia to boost garment sector:
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
3. Garment workers faint at H&M clothing plant.read here.
17:29:20 local time BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers blockade road in N’ganj for salaries:
Ready-made garment (RMG) workers in Rupganj upazila of Narayanganj district on Friday blockaded the Dhaka-Sylhet highway halting traffic movement, demanding payment of their salaries and arrears.
A large number of workers of the Harvest Rich Gartments factory at Aukheb also staged demonstration inside the factory in the morning. Police and garment workers chased each other when the police tried to clear the blockade. The workers at one stage ransacked the factory. The police said that they later brought the situation under control. Meanwhile, Saiful Islam Khan, administrative officer of the factory, at noon on the day filed a case with the local police station against 400-500 people, including outsiders, for the vandalism. to read. & read more. & read more.
* Busy tailoring houses look for brisk business in Narail:
Although spill-over from the export oriented garment factories provide cheaper garments in the local markets of Narail district, many in the low- income groups prefer tailor-made clothes of their own choice for the biggest muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, reports BSS.
Small tailoring houses in the district town and Lohagora, Kalia upazila sadar residential areas are still waiting for orders from their low-income group customers who expect their Eid festival bonus and salaries before the second week of current t month.
Sources said, when popular tailoring houses have already closed down their bookings, the small shops in different localities are still accepting stitching orders for delivery before the Eid.
The tailoring business is expected to be good this year, said Ajit Sarker, a tailor master in Narail town. “We will continue to take orders even two-day before the Eid ” , the tailor master said adding that this is the season to work day and night to earn a good profit, he added. read more.
16:59:20 local time INDIA
* Exploitation Of Workers In The Garment Industry by Claudia Janke:
Dear Clare is a series of photography led human rights booklets published by photojournalist Claudia Janke.
The booklets aim to provoke thought and debate about social, civil and human rights issues. It promotes social change and celebrates the courage and strength of people everywhere.
Dear Clare believes that we all have the power to change things to make a difference.
The report with photos about the garment industry in India, read & see.
* Nutritious food at affordable cost to workers in the unorganised sector:
“There are close to 5 lakh people in the garment sector and close to 2 lakh people working at construction sites, and they do not have a canteen or mess,” said Michael B. Fernandes, the former Member of the Legislative Assembly.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the Shramik Aahar Yojane here on Sunday. The yojane is an initiative of the Michael B. Fernandes Shramik Foundation and it aims to provide nutritious lunch at an affordable cost to relatively low paid workers employed in small-scale industries, garment units and for people working at construction sites.
According to the existing laws, industrial units are not expected to run canteens if the number of workers is less than 200.
According to a release issued by the foundation, close to 1,000 workers will be benefitted in the first phase that is expected to start in the next three months.
* Surat textiles to observe bandh today:
Shocked by the death of four youths in Goa, the textile sector in Surat has decided to observe bandh on Saturday. The four youths were from the Jain community which forms a large chunk of the textile sector in the region. Majority of textile markets have extended their support to the bandh. However, the announcement has resulted into rift among members of FOSTTA (Federation of Surat Textile Traders’ Association).
The bandh was decided by a few members of FOSTAA, who wanted to express their grief over sudden death of the four youths on Wednesday. The families of three of them were associated with the textile business.
The decision was unanimously accepted. In-charge president Nirmal Jain immediately passed the decision through SMS to textile traders. While some textile traders readily accepted the decision, others were angered over the unexpected bandh called by FOSTTA. The difference of opinion created a rift between textile traders and FOSTTA members. Angered textile traders called the bandh “unwanted”.
* Apparel segment to be growth driver at Mandhana:
The apparel segment will be a major growth driver at Mandhana Industries Ltd, a top official of the company said.
Mumbai-based Mandhana Industries posted a sharp drop in net profits in quarter ending June 30, 2012, when compared with the previous quarter and also the corresponding quarter ending June 2011.
Net profits at the textile major fell to Rs 104.7 million in quarter ended June 2012 from Rs 155.1 million in the corresponding quarter of June 2011, down 32.39 percent and also down 55 percent from Rs 232.9 million in quarter ending March 31, 2012.
* GDP of Rs 100 lakh crore, but India still not on track:
A landmark awaits India’s battered economy at the end of this fiscal: nominal GDP, adjusted for inflation, will cross Rs 100 lakh crore. This assumes 5.5% GDP growth in 2012-13 and 7% inflation – taking nominal GDP, which clocked Rs 89 lakh crore in FY 2011-12, to just over Rs 100 lakh crore for the first time ever. Imagine if India were a professionally run company called India Ltd.
This is how its balance sheet would look in a mid-year fiscal review. Annual revenue nett of allocations to regional offices: Rs 7.71 lakh crore. Annual expenditure: Rs 14.90 lakh crore. Loss before extraordinary items: Rs 7.19 lakh crore.
With a near-50% gross loss margin, most large company CEOs would lose their jobs. There’s worse to come. To plug a part of the loss, India Ltd borrows Rs 5.14 lakh crore. This takes its total internal and external debt to over Rs 45 lakh crore. There’s still an annual revenue shortfall of Rs 2.05 lakh crore. That is made up through capital receipts and other one-offs like PSU share sales and telecom spectrum auctions.
If India Ltd was run like a professionally managed company with diverse shareholders, it would today be a sick unit. In the textile sector alone, according to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), an estimated 4.5 million jobs have been lost over the past three years. Shareholder activism internationally has shaken up iconic companies like Japan’s Cannon. In India, activism is nascent and often nipped in the bud. But unless there is sustained pressure on the government, the complete overhaul of our public finances so necessary to get India’s economy back on track will not take place. Bad politics will always defeat good economics.
* Bra-ve new world:
In five days leading to the launch of the iconic lingerie brand, Wonderbra, in India on August 8, its 100% pre-launch stock was sold out and nearly a lakh customers had visited the online retail store’s pre-booking page.
If that isn’t surprising enough then a look at the e-tailer’s data on the geographical location of those who booked orders should definitely be eye-popping — besides the expected top 10 cities of India, there were customers from smaller centres like Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Mathura, Belgaum, Sholapur, Amritsar, Kanpur, Allahabad and Chitradurga.
The owners of the trademark, HanesBrands Inc, must be swelling with pride on this response to their product in a country where sheer numbers have spelt success for many a business since the opening up of the economy in 1991. The story, however, is deeper than that. read more.
* Open access power will harm textile industry-CITI:
* Textile entrepreneurs constitute SPV:
Abnormal fluctuations in the prices of cotton and its non-availability in adequate quantities due to alleged hoarding by middlemen involved in the trade have been a persistent problem grappled with by the textile sector over the last few years.
To overcome these bottlenecks, a group of textile entrepreneurs from Tirupur along with their counterparts in few other clusters in its hinterland have come together to constitute a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Cotton Sourcing Company Limited (COSCO).
Its functioning will be on a ‘consortium’ approach for collective sourcing of cotton in huge volumes which, in turn, can help the member mills in the SPV to get huge trade discounts as well as cash discounts due to upfront payment.
Since the SPV is framed under the Companies Act, 1956, the mills joining as its members will be allotted equity shares.
“At the moment, about 50 mills have already joined as members in the SPV,” sources in the SPV told The Hindu. read more.
16:59:20 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka trade unions call on government to grant a decent salary hike in 2013 budget:
Trade unions in Sri Lanka have called on the government to grant the working masses a salary hike that is in line with the cost of living in the 2013 budget.
The Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated National Trade Union Center (NTUC) said the government has so far failed to grant a proper salary hike to the working masses in the consecutive budgets.
Head of the NTUC, K.D. Lalkantha told ColomboPage that the trade unions have commenced discussions to decide on the amount needed as a salary increment for the working people in the country.
He said the government needs to cut down wastage and make allocations to pay a salary hike.
According to Lalkantha, the trade unions would also discuss the union action to be resorted to in the event the working people do not receive a salary hike to commensurate the high cost of living. read more.
* Apparel industry in a fix, EU exports drop 10-15%:
The apparel industry is bracing for hard times with exports dipping by about 10-15% to the European Union (EU) alone and tightening competition as the withdrawal of GSP+ concessions takes effect.
As the largest foreign exchange earner and the largest employer in the country, the industry is now looking at opportunities through bilateral ties with high importing countries like Brazil and Turkey, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association Chairman Rohan Abaykoon told the Business Times.
But, discussions with the Export Development Board (EDB) on this matter had not generated any support yet, it was pointed out. Industry heads meeting with the government have pushed for a number of changes. Requests were made to consider obtaining the GSP+ concessions for Sri Lanka; removing the tax on capital goods that amounts to 7-8 per cent of total costs; and establish bilateral ties with countries like Brazil and Turkey in a bid to find new export markets. “I think the effects of the loss of the GSP + concessions is now catching up on us,” he said adding that overall the industry has faced a 5 per cent drop up to May compared to last year both in value and volume. read more.
* International union urges EFC to resolve Mirrai issue:
An international trade union body has urged the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) ‘to use its good offices’ to resolve a crisis at the Mirrai garment factory over alleged violation of freedom of association rules.
Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of the IndustriALLGlobal Union, in a letter to EFC Director General Ravi Peiris on the issue, said the EFC should use international arbitration mechanisms to help resolve the issue as well as advice “Mirrai on implementing clear and transparent management systems and thus assist Mirrai in securing future orders”.
A previous letter by Mr Raini on non-conformation of workers’ rights at the factory which led to a US Retailer J. Crew pulling out its orders from Sri Lanka, was responded by Mr Peiris saying, among other things, that the J. Crew probe in Sri Lanka was biased.Mr Raina said the company has discriminated against union leaders through dismissal and transfers and through the creation of a climate of physical violence directed at union leaders. “The branch secretary was subjected to physical violence at the workplace and was threatened by two men on a motorbike in the street. The company’s HR manager shouted insults at her in front of the Commissioner of Labour (who ordered that he withdraw his words). She lost her job and when she demanded reinstatement the HR manager’ visited her parents and warned she would be in danger if she went back to work,” the letter said. read more.
16:29:20 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile exports fall to $1.09bn in July:
Pakistan’s textile exports witnessed a nominal decline of 2.2 percent to $1.09 billion in the first month of the current fiscal year as against $1.116 billion in the corresponding month of the last fiscal year.
According to official figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday, the exports were slightly up i.e. 0.82 percent when compared with $1.08 billion in the last month.
Experts said that due to recession in international markets the demand for Pakistan textile has reduced.
Prices of Pakistan-made textile commodities had decreased in the international market, which is also one of the reasons for reduction in exports, said an expert.
The country’s textile exports came down by 10.38 percent falling from record high of $13.788 billion in 2010-2011 to $12.356 billion in 2011-2012. read more.
* MoTI for gas supply to textile industry on priority basis:
The Ministry of Textile Industry has moved a summary to the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, seeking gas provision to the textile industry on priority basis under the gas load management programme, it is learnt reliably.
bSources revealed textile sector will continue to face 500 mmcfd gas shortfall and face gas load management till September 2012. In the next fiscal year this shortfall will increase from 500 mmcfd to 700 mmcfd for the textile sector.
However, to avoid such embarrassing situation, the Textile Ministry has moved a summary seeking gas for the textile industry on priority basis equal to fertiliser sector to the ECC. Textile industry pays interest on loans for 365 days, but due to power and gas crisis, industry operates only 180 days, industry sources revealed.
* Speakers highlight role of home-based workers in economy:
Government should review and adopt the already submitted National and Provincial Policy for Home Based Workers and immediately pass legislation protecting their rights, and ensure the inclusion of Home Based Workers into national census to have complete data of Home Based Workers in the country.
This was demanded by the participants of a consultation around “Connecting Voices for the Social and Legal Cover for Home Based Workers” which was convened by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) in collaboration with Women Worker’s Union (WWU) at a local hotel in Faisalabad, aiming to unite the different stakeholders including trade unions, federations, associations, women home based workers and sub-contractors for strategic planning to resolve the problems and hurdles of home based workers. The forum also urged the state to ratify the ILO Convention 177 securing the rights of home based workers.
* Firm trend on cotton market ahead of Eid holidays:
Steady trend was seen on the cotton market on Saturday in process of modest trading, dealers said. Official spot rate was unchanged at Rs 5800, they said. In the ready business about 5,000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 5825-5900, they said.
The prices of seedcotton in Sindh were at Rs 2600-2650 and in the Punjab rates were unchanged at Rs 2600-2700, they said. Commenting on the steady trend in the market, Naseem Usman said that mills indulged in cautious buying and on the other hand, some exporters were also in the market to make little purchasing of cotton.
* Cotton sowing lags behind target-report:
The cotton sowing target in the country is lagging behind by eight percent, said the cotton review report by the Directorate of Marketing & Economic Research of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee under the aegis of Minister of Textile Industry. According to the review report, the cotton sowing has almost been completed both in Sindh and Punjab.
With an exceptional delay in monsoon rains, the cotton crop in Punjab has come under cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) which has increased by 7 percent in the last one week of July 2012. It was reported to around 11.3 percent till the end of July 2012, which now has increased to 18.1 percent. The major areas under attack are districts of Khanewal, Pak Pattan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Layyah and Muzaffargarh.
* SSGC stops gas supply to industries:
The apparel sector has alleged that Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has stopped gas supply to industries on Saturday, a statement said on Saturday.
A joint statement of several chairmen of the value-added textile sector, M Jawed Bilwani, chief coordinator, PHMA and chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum; Abdul Rauf Patel, chairman, PHMA SZ, M Kamran Chandna, Rafiq Godil, Khwaja M Usman, Atiq Kochra, M Naqi Bari, said that the closure of gas would lead to disastrous results for the national economy.
Due to sudden stoppage of gas the entire value-added textile industries came to a standstill, they said.
“The value-added textile sector is already over burdened with rising costs of doing business, which includes exorbitant rates of gas, electricity and water, high rates of export refinance, in numerous federal and provincial taxes and duties, high cost of labour, very poor and weak infrastructure, etc, making it impossible to compete the neighbouring countries,” according to the statement. read more.
* PHMA opposes 15pc hike in industrial gas tariff:
* Second-hand clothes save the day for low-income families:
Given rising price hike, the people belonging to lower strata of life have turned towards stalls of second-hand dresses established in the twin cities where they often find some Eid material at comparatively affordable rates.
“I earn Rs8,000 per month and it is not possible for me to buy new dresses for my children so I decided to purchase used garments for them that are available on low rates,” said Ameen Akhtar, a visitor at Aabpara Market.
He lamented that he is humiliated by his owner every day, but at this moment he feels more humiliated in front of his wife and children as he cannot provide them new dresses even on Eid.
In Rawalpindi, most of these stalls have been established in Banni, Raja Bazaar and Saddar area where hundreds of customers daily come to find out suitable dresses at affordable prices. “Though we sell used items, but it helps low-profile people to cope with rising price hike especially on the occasion of Eid. We receive hundreds of customers daily that can otherwise never afford to buy new garments from other shops,” said Yasin Iqbal, a dealer of second-hand clothes at Saddar Market.
* City of the oppressed:
While crossing the ugly, narrow streets you will find countless small, wooden doors, almost on every wall. They are mostly locked from the outside, but you can hear a continuous, disturbing noise echoing from these rooms. This haunting noise is the outcome of those power looms that run with the sweat and blood of tens of thousands of workers. If you dare to enter any of the small rooms, you would feel as though you have entered a machine. The walls say it all; they are full of cotton dust and silk web, causing dangerous lung diseases amongst the majority of people who work here. Welcome to Faisalabad, Pakistan’s largest industrial city, with no basic human rights for workers. read & see more-VIDEO.