in the news on-line, 31 august 2012

00:12:22 local time map of china CHINA

* Weak demand slows China’s textile production:

Less-than-satisfying demand both at home and abroad caused industrial production growth in China’s textile sector to slow in the January-July period, data released Thursday showed.

The sector’s gross industrial output expanded 10.9 percent to 3.15 trillion yuan (497 billion U.S. dollars) in the first seven months, down 18.8 percentage points year on year, according to Sun Huaibin, spokesman for the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC).
The industrial output covered 37,000 companies across the country, Sun said at an industrial conference. read more.

* Chinese brands on the rise:

The past 10 years is a decade of the rise of Chinese brands.

Innovative Chinese manufacturers have erected a flashing sign on the world stage.
From Chinese wisdom to China model to Chinese contributions, China is having an increasingly rich and colorful international image.
China has created numerous brands over the past 10 years, and made itself the largest brand.

Chinese manufacturing embarks on new journey
“After a year without China I can tell you this: You can still live without it, but it is getting trickier and costlier by the day,” a U.S. housewife described her family’s year-long adventure without “Made in China.”
The words “Made in China” have been stamped on U.S. socks, Italian leather shoes, and Russian hats in the past decade, making China a world-famed brand.
read more.

00:12:22 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Pinoy garments’ coop is People’s Choice in UN-MasterCard competition:

A sewers’ cooperative initiated by a non-government organization has won the People’s Choice Award in Project Inspire, a competition organized by the Singapore Committee for United Nations Women and MasterCard. 

“Project Stitch,” managed by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, brings together women workers who have been “displaced from shutdown of several garment factories,” according to one of the project organizers, Soleil Erika Manzano.
With the entrepreneurial skills they have been provided with, these workers, in turn, empower “their fellow women in the poor communities by equipping them livelihood skills.” read  & see more.

23:12:22 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Ocean Garment strike to end, workers return:

More than 50 police officers exchanged heated words with Ocean Garment strikers yesterday afternoon, marching for over an hour to Phnom Penh Municipal Court in support of five worker representatives suspended by the company.

Mid-protest, however, the group of more than 2,500 – who have been on strike since August 11 after six workers claimed a manager sexually harassed them – were greeted by news that the Court of First Instance had imparted a court injunction to allow the five union representatives back to work.

Keo Kim Heang, another worker representative, said all workers would return to the garment factory today. Sexual harassment claims against manager Faruk Ahamed were filed last week with police and Phnom Penh Municipal Court and are still pending. to read.

* ILO – Better Factories Cambodia to keep brands accountable for poverty wages:

New report Clean Clothes Campaign and Community Legal Education Center evaluates decade of Better Factories Cambodia

A new report – 10 Years of the Better Factories Cambodia Project: A critical evaluation – has been released today by Clean Clothes Campaign and Community Legal Education Center. Started in 2001, the goal of the Better Factories program is to improve the working conditions in Cambodian factories and end sweat-shop production. The report discusses the BFC’s achievements and limitations from a worker rights’ perspective.

CCC and CLCE conclude that Cambodian labour rights organisations consider the BFC as a positive development, though working conditions in Cambodia’s garment industry remain very poor generally.
The real wages workers receive have actually declined 14 per cent since 2000 in relation to inflation rates. In other words, garment workers have become poorer since the Better Factories Cambodia program was launched. The ILO should do more to keep global buyers like H&M or GAP accountable for poverty wages,‘ says Dr. Jeroen Merk, Research Coordinator at Clean Clothes Campaign. read more.

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

1. Ocean garment strike to end, workers return. read more.

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

2. Court drops complaint against garment factory union workers. read more.
3. One garment worker killed, 24 injured in truck accident. read more.

00:12:22 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Textile companies profit drops by 99.11%:

Accumulated net profit of seven textile companies in the first half dropped 99.11% to IDR1.58 billion from IDR177.06 billion on the same period last year.

PT Unitex Tbk noted the biggest reduction to net loss at IDR15.99 billion per June 2012, swing from IDR11.24 billion net profit in January-June 2011.
Minus bottom post also experienced by PT Century Textile Industry Tbk that booked net loss as much as US$1.05 million per June 2012. However, the figure is better than the first six months of 2011 when the company recorded US$2.31 million net loss.
In nominal, Indo Rama Synthetics noted the biggest decrease in the first half. The company booked IDR12.6 billion net profit, significantly fell from last half’ IDR183.92 billion. read more.

* Urban Chat: Not yet the ‘hijaber’ fashion mecca, but by 2020, maybe?:

So, did everyone have a good Idul Fitri break? For most of us, the gatherings and reunions have been attended, the cookie jars have been emptied and the festive garb has been sent to the dry-cleaners.

New clothes to celebrate Idul Fitri is nothing new, and many embrace the spirit further by observing religious dress codes, at least partly, during the festival period. Though more for comfort than religion, I favor a tunic and loose pants, Pakistani shalwar-kameez style, that I usually mixed and matched from off-rack selections. Then two years ago, I entered a Muslim fashion shop by chance.

Indonesian Muslim fashion has come a long way, baby. Gone are the shapeless muumuus and dowdy veils. Most of the clothes sport sufficient structure to hold their form while loose or flowing enough to avoid emphasizing the wearer’s silhouette, in accordance with scripture. Materials are sourced from silk to cotton, in every color under the sun. The styles have started to adapt from global trends that, if worn without veils, may pass as regular clothes. No wonder more and younger Indonesian women have taken up the hijab lately because with the choices here, they don’t have to end up looking like frumpy grannies.read more.

21:57:22 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Apparel prices likely to go up by 30-40pc,say major traders:

 Buying new clothes for this Dashain, the biggest hindu festival, will be much expensive than previous years with major apparel traders saying that prices could shoot up by around 30-40 percent on imported products due to strong US dollar and Chinese Yuan.

Both US dollar and Chinese Yuan have gained around 25 percent in value against Nepali rupee in the past one year. Moreover, the government on March this year had hiked valuation of 203 items, including garments amid complaints about revenue leakage due to under-valuation of imported goods, leading to rise in prices of apparel. The reference prices were hiked from 5 percent to 25 percent, based on the type of the items. read more.

22:12:22 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* BGMEA, UNDP sign MoU for reducing poverty:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and UNDP on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for developing the skills of garment workers and reducing poverty in the urban areas.

BGMEA Director Nahid Hasan and Abdur Rashid Khan of UNDP inked the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations at BGMEA office, said a press release of BGMEA.
BGMEA president Mohammad Shafiul Islam, UNDP country director Stefan Priesner and others were present. read more. & read more.
 

21:42:22 local time map of india INDIA

* Much more than a survival scheme:

An anthology of independent evaluations of MGNREGA shows that it has provided income security, improved health, narrowed the gender gap and created useful assets

In the midst of the debates that prevail in this country over the feasibility of the world’s largest public works programme, the MGNREGA Sameeksha — an anthology of independent research studies and analysis on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, from 2006-2012 — is a significant innovation to evaluate policy and delivery.

In bringing out MGNREGA Sameeksha, a collection of critical independent voices, released in English and Hindi by the Prime Minister on July 14, the Ministry of Rural Development provides a platform for evaluation of a law designed to assist the most invisible in India’s political spectrum. The Sameeksha is not a ‘new’ study. As the introduction explains, it is “an analytical anthology of all major research studies done on MGNREGA that were published in academic journals or came out as stand-alone reports”.

Summary of findings
No department, from the social sector or otherwise, has published a summary of findings of all the independent research studies conducted on its major programmes. To do so asserts confidence in independent evaluations, and the wisdom that the government would do well to consider such views and analyses. Given India’s very poor record of rural development, it was important that the world’s largest employment programme be evaluated by credible institutions and researchers. By bringing a summary of findings of all the studies together, Sameeksha facilitates informed understanding, analysis, implementation, and reform where necessary.
read more.

* Finally, the will for the right ban:

The Cabinet decision to seek total prohibition of child labour is a step long overdue

The Cabinet Committee has passed the proposal seeking a total ban on employing children under 14 years and of 14-18 year olds in hazardous occupations. When passed in Parliament as law, it will be a huge milestone in the journey that many of us had started in the mid-1980s. This also marks a milestone in my own personal journey as a child rights activist.

The first time I engaged with this issue was in 1986 when the government was drafting the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (CLPRA). Activists were protesting against the proposed law that would allow children to work in “non hazardous” occupations below the age of 14 years and in all occupations, hazardous and non-hazardous, beyond that age. We saw this as a violation of the basic right to childhood, as children as young as six and seven years were employed and leading horrifying lives. read more.

* Anti-child labour drive running out of steam:

The labour department’s much publicized crackdown on people employing child labour hasn’t exactly had much of an impact.
Welding and mechanic shops in areas such as Yousufguda, Krishna Nagar and Rehmathnagar still employ a large number of children under 14 years of age. It is estimated that more than 50 children work at the various commercial establishments in these areas.

All of 10 years, Munna, a resident of Borabanda, toils at a mechanic’s in Rehmathnagar for most part of the day for a paltry Rs 1,000 per month. “I have been working for the last two years as I wanted to support my poor family. Not only me but my siblings too have to work. Although I went to school when I was very young, I dropped out due to the financial conditions at home. I have to work hard here but I don’t have a choice,” he says. Munna not only works at the shop but also travels long distances in the city to buy stock or attend to repair works. read more.

* Stricter law in place, NGO hopes admn will act on child labour complaints:

With the Government of India passing a new stricter law on child labour by amending the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, which is now the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2012, NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan is hoping that the district administration will wake up and take action against the pending complaints of child labour lodged with deputy commissioner Rahul Tiwari.

The act was amended to facilitate the implementation of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates free and compulsory education from six to 14 years.

The non-governmental organisation, which is fighting for a labour-free India, also has a reason to cheer as all five demands raised by it with the central government under its nationwide campaign ‘Child Labour Free India Campaign’, have been accepted. The campaign saw the participation of politicians like Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Celebrities like Boman Irani, Deepti Naval, Sonam Kapoor, Mahima Chaudhry, Salman Khan and Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist also supported the campaign. read more.

* Government won’t relax ownership clause in FDI policy on single-brand retail:

The government has decided not to dilute the ownership clause in its single-brand FDI policy, forcing multinational brands such as Pavers England, Promod and Massimo Dutti to either tweak their holding structure to enter the country or rethink their India strategy.

The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), the nodal agency for foreign direct investments, has decided not to relax the requirement that the investor company must also own the brand to invest in single-brand retail, an official said.

“DIPP underwent many rounds of consultations and has decided not to dilute the ownership requirement as there was a lot of reservation against it,” the person said. While British footwear brand Pavers England has already changed its ownership structure to meet the norms, French apparel brand Promod and Spanish fashion brand Massimo Dutti are expected to follow suit. read more.

* First computer-aided design centre opens in Arunachal:

The industrial sector in Arunachal Pradesh got a major boost with the opening of the first computer-aided design centre (CADC) for empowerment of rural artisans and weavers of the state.

The CADC has been set up at Industrial Estate in Naharlagun under the technical guidance of Kolkata-based Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) and under the Union ministry of communication & information technology in association with the state’s textile & handicrafts department. The centre has been sponsored by the Union IT department.

State textile, handicrafts and industries minister Tapang Taloh said the design centre would help the local artisans enhance their skills and manifest their innovative ideas by using state-of-the-art IT-based tools and techniques to create fabric designs. It will help weavers and artisans to adapt to the fast-changing global market and make their traditional handloom and handicraft products market-driven. read more.

* Textile park chancesbleak in Yavatmal:

The chances of setting up the much-hyped textile park here seem to be remote as the Union commerce minister Anand Sharma has confirmed in a letter sent to BJP MP Hansraj Ahir that no such proposal was received from Maharashtra.

Addressing a press conference at the Rest House, Ahir said the Maharashtra industries minister had not submitted any proposal to set up the textile park to the Union ministry till July 13 and circulated copies of the letter sent by Sharma to substantiate his allegations that the state government was apathetic towards Vidarbha’s development. He said he tried his best and wrote to the Union commerce minister, requesting him to set up textile parks in Yavatmal and Chandrapur.

Ahir said the textile park would be a boon to the farmers in Yavatmal district who are cash-strapped despite the fact that the region has a lion’s share in cotton production. He said he would take up the matter with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan through the district collector. read more.

* Japanese program to support organic cotton sector of India:

Nearly 30,000 low-income cotton farmers in India will gain improved health and increased incomes by switching to organic cotton production, following a commitment made by two Japanese companies to the Business Call to Action (BCtA).

BCtA is a global initiative that encourages companies to develop innovative business models that combine commercial success and sustainable development. It is supported by several international organizations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). read more.

21:12:22 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Zardari advises APTMA to prepare road map for revival:

President, Asif Ali Zardari advised All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to prepare a road map for the revival of textile industry in Pakistan.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, federal adviser on Textile said according to President Zardadri, this would be given to all political parties to include in their economic agenda for party’s manifestos for the forthcoming national election, he added.

Zardari has also constituted a committee headed by Minister for Textile, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, federal adviser on Textile, Gauhar Ejaz former Chairman, APTMA and APTMA’s representatives to prepare their recommendations to boost exports of textile sector, he added. read more.

* APTMA awards conferred at its annual dinner:

President Asif Ali Zardari has visualized 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’.

He was addressing a gathering of textile industry on the occasion of annual dinner of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), held at the presidency. Governor Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Barrister Syed Masood Kausar and Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Chairman APTMA Mohsin Aziz, Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz, Executive Committee members APTMA, zonal heads and a large number of APTMA members were present on the occasion. Besides, federal ministers, Senators, federal secretaries and officials from diplomatic corps also graced the occasion. It is for the second time the APTMA’s annual dinner is held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

He said the textiles and clothing sector was the mainstay of Pakistan’s exports and is a symbol of Pakistan’s manufacturing excellence. The President commended the private sector for the development of the industry. read more.

* Pak President seeks early implementation of EU’s ATP:

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, during his meeting with European Parliament Member Michael Gahler, has sought speedy implementation of the EU’s Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATPs) and Pakistan’s inclusion in ‘GSP Plus’ Scheme.
The President said the textile and clothing industry of Pakistan is facing serious problems, due to high tariffs in the EU market, particularly when most of its competitor nations already enjoy duty free access to the EU market.
Mr. Zardari stressed that in view of the massive financial expenses for fighting terrorism and looses incurred due to devastating floods of 2010, the country looks at trade and not aid as a sustainable option. read more.

* Textile seeks relief from gas cess:

The textile ancillary industry is seeking exemption from proposed gas infrastructure development cess because it will render them uncompetitive against regional countries where gas tariffs are already much lower.

These leaders apprehended that increase in gas cost would make their manufacturing costlier because gas tariff in Pakistan is
182 per cent higher than Bangladesh and minimum wages of labour are also 127 per cent higher.

Naqi Bari, vice chairman, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA), said that the government is presently consulting industry over imposition of gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) but has not taken textile ancillary industry into confidence. He regretted that a major segment of textile industry is not being consulted or taken on board on such an important issue which would directly have far-reaching implications on the cost of manufacturing. read more.

* Banks to support textile industry upgradation:

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued instructions to banks/ development finance institutions (DFIs) regarding processing of claims for provision of “Mark-up Support” and “Investment Support” to textile industry under the Technology Up-gradation Fund (TUF) Scheme of the Federal Government.
This scheme, which has been notified by the Ministry of Textile Industry (MINTEX), will encourage investment for up-gradation of machinery and technology in textile industry.

Banks/DFIs shall process the claims for “Mark-up Support” and “Investment Support” from Textile Industry, duly registered with Ministry of Textile Industry (MINTEX). However, they have been instructed to forward the eligible claims after their scrutiny along-with Certificate of Commissioning of machines and commercial operations issued by MINTEX, separately for each Support, strictly in compliance with the terms and conditions prescribed in ministry’s notifications / TUF Scheme, to the offices of SBP-BSC. read more. & read more.
 

* Cotton prices steadier on mill demands:

After an easy condition on the cotton market at the beginning of this week, prices became steadier on Thursday due to mill demand and also some covering by the exporters.
Scattered rains in several parts of Sindh in such stations as Mirpurkhas, Tando Adam, Kunri and Sanghar and cloudy weather in Punjab have imparted a modicum of steadiness to lint prices.

Higher values on the cotton futures market (ICE) in New York have also influenced cotton rates to become relatively stable for the time being. Seedcotton (Kapas/Phutti) prices in Sindh reportedly ranged from Rs 2475 to Rs 2500 per 40 KGs according to the quality on Thursday, while in the Punjab they are said to have ranged from Rs 2300 to Rs 2500 per 40 Kgs. Despite the commencement of some monsoon rains and a moderate rise in levels of the rivers, estimated output for the current season (August 2012-July 2013) remains essentially unchanged.read more.

* July textile exports show slight improvement:

Pakistan’s textile exports in the month of July showed a slight improvement over the exports of June 2012.
Pakistan exported textile goods worth $1.091.759 billion against June’s exports of $1.08 billion. However according to official figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Pakistan’s exports were down by 2 percent in July 2012 as compared to July 2011.  read more.

map of Asia

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 3 September 2012.

CHINA
* Weak demand slows China’s textile production
* Chinese brands on the rise

PHILIPPINES
* Pinoy garments’ coop is People’s Choice in UN-MasterCard competition

CAMBODIA
* Ocean Garment strike to end, workers return
* ILO – Better Factories Cambodia to keep brands accountable for poverty wages
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Ocean garment strike to end, workers return
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2. Court drops complaint against garment factory union workers
3. One garment worker killed, 24 injured in truck accident

INDONESIA
* Textile companies profit drops by 99.11%
* Urban Chat: Not yet the ‘hijaber’ fashion mecca, but by 2020, maybe?

NEPAL
* Apparel prices likely to go up by 30-40pc,say major traders

BANGLA DESH
* BGMEA, UNDP sign MoU for reducing poverty

INDIA
* Much more than a survival scheme
* Finally, the will for the right ban
* Anti-child labour drive running out of steam
* Stricter law in place, NGO hopes admn will act on child labour complaints
* Government won’t relax ownership clause in FDI policy on single-brand retail
* First computer-aided design centre opens in Arunachal
* Textile park chancesbleak in Yavatmal
* Japanese program to support organic cotton sector of India

PAKISTAN
* Zardari advises APTMA to prepare road map for revival
* APTMA awards conferred at its annual dinner
* Pak President seeks early implementation of EU’s ATP
* Textile seeks relief from gas cess
* Banks to support textile industry upgradation
* Cotton prices steadier on mill demands
* July textile exports show slight improvement

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