in the news on-line, 29 august 2012

16:16:24 local time map of china CHINA

* Unions push for collective wage bargaining:

Chinese trade unions are urging enterprises nationwide to introduce collective wage bargaining to help raise workers’ wages and protect their rights, said the country’s top trade union official.

“We pay great attention to ensure the interests and rights of workers and we work hard to bring the benefits of economic development to all workers to promote social justice,” said Wang Zhaoguo, chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, when addressing an international forum on economic globalization and the role of trade unions in Beijing on Tuesday.

Chinese trade unions believe collective bargaining between workers and employers is the most efficient way to help workers seek higher pay and boost sound labor relations. The federation has a target to introduce collective wage negotiations in 80 percent of corporations that have unions by 2013. read more.

* China Voice: Government reforms will decide China’s future:

The choice of south China’s Guangdong province as the site of pilot reforms designed to streamline the country’s administrative examination and approval system indicates that the Chinese government has doubled its efforts to reform itself in the face of potential growth plateaus.

With its per capita gross domestic product hitting 7,000 U.S. dollars a year, Guangdong is one of a few developed Chinese regions facing the middle income trap.
Rising wages have destroyed the province’s low labor cost advantage, making it less competitive with advance economies producing high-value products and undeveloped economies with low production costs. It is hoped that the reforms being put in place there will keep the province’s development on track.
However, the province’s performance under current conditions will act as a weathervane for the entire country’s future development. read more.

* China may kick off reforms of income distribution in Oct:

The economic observer in its Monday report said that China might implement income distribution reform in October and currently the scheme was waiting Ministerial governors’ opinions, cited the Reuters’ report on Tuesday.

The Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, initiated a draft law about the overall scheme of income distribution reform in 2004. Later at the beginning of 2010 and in December of 2011, the regulator twice provided its plans to the State Council, China’s cabinet, however, the later rejected it both.

The Chinese media report indicated that the reform involved 10 major issues, including the standard of minimum salary, business operation budget and profit distributions of state-owned capital, tax adjustment on high income, salary management of executive manager in state-owned financial institutions and so on. The report failed to elaborate. read more.

* China’s bonded warehouses bursting with imported cotton:

Imported cotton has been piling up in bonded warehouses at a major coastal harbor in east China due to government import quotas and growing appetite for cheaper foreign-produced cotton.

Imports have filled up more than 30 cotton warehouses at the free trade zone of the Qingdao port in Shandong Province in recent months and some of them have been overstocked for as long as a year, according to a report in the Securities Daily.

An unidentified official of the Qingdao Hongchuan Logistics Co., Ltd. at the port said his company stopped accepting new deliveries a month ago as the 20,000-square meter warehouse was already fully occupied. read more.

* 1m tons of cotton from stockpiles to be sold:

China, the world’s biggest cotton user, may sell about 1 million metric tons from stockpiles and release 400,000 tons of import quota to help textile companies cope with increased raw material costs and weak export demand, said Dong Shuangwei, an analyst at Beijing Capital Futures Co.

The government would sell the inventories at a discount to the price it paid farmers last year, Dong said. That price was 19,800 yuan ($3,115) a ton, according to the China Cotton Association’s website. The country spent about 60 billion yuan buying 3.13 million tons of local cotton in 2011, about 40 percent of its crop, to boost farmers’ incomes. read more.

* Adidas eyes double-digit China growth:

The Adidas Group, a leading global sporting goods company, said it is aiming for double-digit growth in annual sales in China through 2015, as the company extends its footprint in lower tier cities.

The company hopes to open 500 new stores in China by the end of 2012. These will be in addition to the more than 7,000 retail outlets already serving customers in 900 cities, according to the group’s Route 2015 China Strategy released yesterday.

The growth targets will be mainly driven by expanding and solidifying its distribution footprint in a wider area in the country. read more.

16:16:24 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Philippines may get zero duty for selected exports to EU:

The Philippines may export more apparel, leather and fish products to the European Union under the EU’s updated trade preference scheme that aims to support less developed economies.

The revised generalized system of preferences or “GSP+” will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
“The Philippines has been added to the GSP+ for the first time, Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said in an interview. “We will be providing updates soon.”
In a 2011 study on the effects of the revised GSP, the Philippines is expected to neither gain nor lose from the trade arrangement. Some local firms agree, expressing interest in exploring opportunities even though these may be “limited.”
read more.

* Precarious employment: What can be done?:

Contractualization or precarious employment has become buzzwords in workplaces, but what is it really? Burrow (2012) says that “precarious employment” describes work that is not permanent, indirect, informal and/or otherwise insecure. Examples are casual, temporary, part-time, or fixed-term contract workers. Its increased usage by employers is intended to maximize short-term profitability and flexibility at the expense of the worker.

In 2010, at the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) Sector Meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, the critical importance of defending job security against “precarious employment” (the use of labor contractors or labor hire agencies as the third party employer, in place of the real employer) at the workplace, was taken up.

The meeting identified the following challenges posed by precarious employment to permanent workers: (1) The jobs of regular workers are threatened; (2) the bargaining power of unionized regular workers is eroded; (3) the working conditions of regular workers deteriorate as the union’s bargaining power is undermined and (4) labor-hire contractors can be manipulated by management to be another opponent of the union.

Participants also enumerated dangers of precarious employment to society like: (1) Exploitation increases as precarious workers are paid minimum wages, or oftentimes less, requiring government to provide subsidies, like ration cards; (2) unions are weakened to society’s detriment and there is a crisis of securing representation; (3) the human rights and basic labor rights of workers are undermined, thus undermining International Labor Organization core labor standards as well and (4) at the workplace, the different types of employment give rise to cumbersome management and to a much reduced sense of belonging and motivation.  read more.

15:16:24 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* US offers hidden potential for exporters:

Vietnamese items such as garments and textiles, footwear, wooden furniture and toys have the advantage of cheap labour cost for export to the US, those attending a conference on “the US market- Opportunities for Viet Nam’s enterprises” heard yesterday.

The conference, held in Ha Noi, aimed to introduce opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate the market. It also focused attention on how enterprises could bypass obstacles in exporting to the market.
Speaking at the event, Nguyen Duy Khien, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s American Market Department, said US businesses often focus on high-tech products.
They therefore tended to outsource their manufacturing in other countries or import labour-intensive items. read more.

15:16:24 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Garment boss quashes worker’s sex claims as conspiracy:

Workers from the Ocean Garment factory protest in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district earlier this month. At right, a worker holds a sign featuring the factory’s manager Faruk Ahamed. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The Ocean Garment manager facing a slew of sexual harassment charges has lashed out at the union representing the 2,500 workers on strike over the past two weeks, claiming its delegates provoked the strike after management cracked down on absent workers and overtime requests.

In a letter to the Post, Bangladeshi national Faruk Ahamed claimed sexual abuse and intimidation allegations made by six female Ocean employees had tarnished his “fame and reputation”.

The women’s claims prompted more than half of Ocean’s work force to rally behind them in an August 11 protest.
The six filed formal criminal complaints to the police and Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week.

The group was ordered back to work by authorities last Thursday but have remained on strike, protesting inside the factory in support of five union representatives who now face prosecution and have been suspended for spurring on the strike.
read more.

* Police officer charged over Bavet shooting:

Moeun Tola, Labor Program head of the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), said that CLEC’s interviews with eyewitnesses to the shooting indicated that Mr. Bandith arrived in front of Kaoway factory and opened fire on the protesters. He said no eyewitness had mentioned seeing Mr. Chantha or any other gunman at the scense.
“We don’t see any strong evidence to show that another [person] should be charged with unintentional injury,” Mr. Tola siad.
“If he did not do anything wrong and he did not open fire, it is very unjust for him” he added. for more details refer to The Cambodia Daily on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. read more.

* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:

1. Another mass fainting, but H&M supplier ‘not to blame’. read more.
2. Clash, charges roil more.
3. Strike leads to a cut in more.
4. Supplier of Gap in more.
5. Bonuses ‘won’t end strikes’.read more.
6. Sex claims a conspiracy- boss. read more

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:

7. Factory collapse injures 16 construction more.
8. Garment workers rally for thrid day to sack factory more.
9. Workforce must improve to compete in ASEAN more.
10. Accused manager put on leav; workers lodge more.
11. Ocean garment workers occupy more.
12. Garment demonstrators request to hold protest. read more.

16:16:24 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Govt Opts for Suspension of Outsourcing System:

The workers’ threat to hold massive public rally and work strike next month was snubbed by the government. Manpower ministry refuses to write off outsourcing system and will only apply moratorium against it.

Muhaimin Iskandar, minister of manpower and transmigration, revealed that the government yet to remove the outsourcing system. Muhaimin, however, stated that in exchange, the government will apply outsourcing moratorium, or temporarily stopping the issuance of new outsourcing permit starting September 2012.

Muhaimin also underlines that he will shut down an outsourcing company, which violated the regulation and exploit its employees. “We will close down any vendors violating the regulations,” said Muhaimin as quoted by

Indonesian Workers Union Confederation (KSPI) earlier claimed there are two million workers ready to hold mass strike next month. The workers demand the government to remove outsourcing and low wage system. read more.

14:16:24 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Labor Unrest in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry:

A garment factory in Dhaka that produces shirts and sweaters for the global market. Bangladesh, once poor and irrelevant to the global economy, is now an export powerhouse, second only to China in global apparel exports, as factories churn out clothing for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein and H&M. Global retailers like Target and Walmart now operate sourcing offices in Dhaka.
Photo-Justin Mott for The New York Times

Related Article: Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife

& More storytelling pictures-slide here.

* Wages in Bangladesh Far Below India:

India’s neighbor Bangladesh has become the second-largest apparel exporter in the world, after China, Jim Yardley reports, but labor unrest is growing as workers demand higher wages.

As recently as 2009, India held the No. 2 spot for global apparel exports, but Bangladesh’s extremely low wages have helped push it ahead. Seamstresses in Bangladesh make garments for international brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Gap, for wages that can be as low as roughly $37 a month, the national minimum wage. read more.

* Indian buyers beef up drive to import B’desh garments:

Indian buyers have been showing interest in garment items from Bangladesh following the duty free access of 48 textile products to India.

Despite devaluation of Indian Rupee against US Dollar, the prices of Bangladeshi products are still much less than their products, Indian buyers said.
Manish Pabanker, a buyer from Maharashtra in India, while talking to the FE at a city hotel said Indians have a liking for Bangladeshi clothing.

He said specially jeans, trousers and tea-shirts attract the fashion conscious youngsters of his country.
Manish, who supplies woman-wears to shopping malls in Mumbai, the capital city of the Maharashtra said: “You know, Mumbaians are among the most conscious buyers in India. They have clear idea that German, England or US women wear Bangladeshi garments.” read more.

13:46:24 local time map of india INDIA

* Cotton conference on September 1:

The Indian Cotton Federation will organise here a conference on ‘Challenges Facing Cotton Trade and Industry 2013’ on September 1.

Chairman of the conference P. Nataraj and president of the association J. Thulasidharan told presspersons here on Tuesday that the purpose of the event was to bring together all stakeholders of the cotton sector – farmers, ginners, traders, and mill owners – and discuss the challenges and opportunities. The frequent fluctuation in cotton prices during the last two years had affected all.

Cotton production in the country was expected to be higher than last year in some areas. But the deficient monsoon was likely to have an impact in some others. Clear data on the area covered under sowing was not yet available. However, globally, cotton was said to be available in surplus and cotton production in other countries was expected to be high this year.
Cotton was still an attractive crop to farmers. Though area under several other crops was shrinking, it had expanded for cotton for the last three years. The sector required a long-term policy. read more.

13:16:24 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* President sees textile sector export up to $100 billion:

President Asif Ali Zardari has visualised a potential of $100 billion exports for textile industry against the industry target of $20 billion and termed it ‘a vital industry from all measures’.
Addressing a gathering of textile industry on the occasion of annual dinner of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), he said the textiles and clothing sector was the mainstay of Pakistan’s exports and was a symbol of Pakistan’s manufacturing excellence.
Zardari said a regionally competitive interest rate has become need of the hour and the Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan and APTMA should jointly formulate appropriate measures towards achieving the industry sustainability and growth in the larger interest of exports and employment.
He appreciated the businessmen for performing at their best despite high cost of doing business in Pakistan due to war against terrorism and related issues.

Chairman APTMA Mohsin Aziz said the textile was contributing more than 53 percent of the total export of the country besides 8.5 percent to the GDP and employing, directly and indirectly 15 million more. & read more.

* Aptma for uninterrupted energy supply: Textile leaders meet finance minister:

A delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Tuesday held a meeting with Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, requesting him to release funds for upgrading the textile sector with retrospective effect, reduction of interest rate, besides calling for uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas to save the industry.

Secretary Finance Abdul Wajid Rana said that the APTMA delegation met with the Finance Minister to discus the issue of reduction in Gas Infrastructure Development Surcharge, adding that no issue pertaining to the Ministry of Finance was discussed. However, Chairman APTMA Mohsin Aziz told Business Recorder that representatives of the textile industry requested the finance minister to allocate necessary funds for upgrading the textile sector and urging the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to issue a notification in this regard. He said that the fund for upgrading the textile industry should be issued with retrospective effect from 2009.

According to him, the textile industry had been hit hard by high interest rates and electricity and gas shortages. read more.

* Need for exploring new export markets stressed:

New markets would have to be explored besides Japan and European countries to boost the country’s exports, Chairman of All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstry Manufacturers Association (APBUMA)Syed Muhammad Aasim Shah said on Tuesday.

Delivering a speech at a seminar on ‘Emerging trends/ issues in home textile serctor’ jointly organised by APBUMA and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)here on Tuesday, he said that Japan was the second largest importer of home textile in the world, but Pakistan has no share or inconsiderable share in Japanese market. read more.


map of Asia

* Unions push for collective wage bargaining
* China Voice: Government reforms will decide China’s future
* China may kick off reforms of income distribution in Oct
* China’s bonded warehouses bursting with imported cotton
* 1m tons of cotton from stockpiles to be sold
* Adidas eyes double-digit China growth

* Philippines may get zero duty for selected exports to EU
* Precarious employment: What can be done?

* US offers hidden potential for exporters

* Garment boss quashes worker’s sex claims as conspiracy
* Police officer charged over Bavet shooting
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Another mass fainting, but H&M supplier ‘not to blame’
2. Clash, charges roil Ocean
3. Strike leads to a cut in orders
4. Supplier of Gap in spotlight
5. Bonuses ‘won’t end strikes’
6. Sex claims a conspiracy- boss
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
7. Factory collapse injures 16 construction workers
8. Garment workers rally for thrid day to sack factory manager
9. Workforce must improve to compete in ASEAN bloc
10. Accused manager put on leav; workers lodge complaints
11. Ocean garment workers occupy factory
12. Garment demonstrators request to hold protest

* Govt Opts for Suspension of Outsourcing System

* Labor Unrest in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry
* Wages in Bangladesh Far Below India
* Indian buyers beef up drive to import B’desh garments

* Cotton conference on September 1

* President sees textile sector export up to $100 billion
* Aptma for uninterrupted energy supply: Textile leaders meet finance minister
* Need for exploring new export markets stressed

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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
    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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