in the news on-line, 2-3 September 2012

20:03:24 local time map of china CHINA

* Bangladesh eyes China’s clothing market:

Bangladesh eyes big boom in its garment exports to China’s about 300 billion U.S. dollars clothing market as the second largest world economy is rapidly progressing toward the high-tech industries rather than basic manufacturing items.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association ( BGMEA), which expects to fetch more than a billion U.S. dollars in a few years from its exports of ready made garment (RMG) items to China, said on Sunday that China is now focusing on a strategic shift of production to other destinations.
(…)
The 8-member delegation from China National Garment Association (CNGA), which visited 8 apparel factories during its three-day Dhaka visit concluded Sunday, said they are impressed to see good management, quality products and overall standards of Bangladesh factories.
“We had initial impression. They are excellent, extraordinary and out of our imagination,” Feng Dehu, vice president of CNGA, said in the press conference.
“We’re going to have a lot of activities in future,” he said.
He further said, “We think there is a need for a strategic cooperation initially. And cooperation starts from today.” read more.

* Migrant workers’ kids say goodbye till next year:

Nine-year-old Wang Lin sat in the passageway of a pedestrian bridge at the busy Beijing West Railway Station with his father on Tuesday afternoon, waiting for their train to Xining, Northwest China’s Qinghai province.

The boy said he had “a great time” this summer although he spent most of the time in the noodle restaurant where his father works.
Just being with dad was joy itself for Wang Lin, who lives with his mother and elder brother in Qinghai province.
He meets his father, Wang Youde, 40, twice a year.

The father, a noodle chef who managed to save about 2,800 yuan ($441) last month, said he “really spent a fortune” on a pair of skates as a reward for his son’s excellent academic performance. The illiterate father hopes his two sons can go to university.
“This is the most expensive gift I have received but I will share them with my elder brother,” the son said with his eyes fixed on the wrapped shoebox.

The father said he would probably find a job near his hometown after sending his son home.
“My son likes Beijing a lot but it’s a pity that we didn’t have enough time to travel around,” the father said.
He Jiejun, carrying two bags of food and clothes for his daughter, rushed to a platform in the Beijing Railway Station on Wednesday morning but kept looking back at his two young children and asked them to hurry up. read more.

20:03:24 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* National Workers Congress, a ploy to undermine state workers’ rights – government unions:

The Aquino administration, like its predecessors, has no right to organize so-called workers and employee policy meetings and project itself as pro-union when it quite clearly isn’t.

This was the declaration of members of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) as they held a picket in front of the Manila Hotel in Roxas Boulevard Manila on August 31. The group protested against the National Workers Congress (NWC) sponsored by the The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Employees Association, the Civil Service Commission, and the Public Sector Labor-Management Council (PSLMC).

Courage denounced the activity as a sham, saying that even the congress’ theme “Working in Government with Pride and Dignity” was a lie. Courage president Ferdinand Gaite said the PWC was an activity being held by the government and its employee-management agencies with the intent of weakening and dividing government employees so that they would not be able to fight for their just rights, salaries and benefits. All of Courage’s affiliated unions and associations boycotted the NWC. read more.

* Better Chance Anticipated In 2013:

 US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. was less optimistic over the passage of the Philippine legislative measure “Save Our Industries Act” noting it is difficult to pass a bill during an election year but was optimistic the bill would have a good chance next year.

“This is an election year and it is difficult, but we will see next year,” Thomas said at the Makati Business Club where he was the guest speaker.
He said that Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia has been working hard for the bill’s passage and the Obama administration supported it through the endorsement of State Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Already, the Philippines has prepared to refile the “Save Act” bill for the third time in the next US Congress should this Philippine-initiated legislative measure will not be passed by the current Congress.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio said this as the timeline for the passing of the bill is getting closer with the presidential elections coming in November this year.
(…..)
The “Save Act” bill seeks to revive the country’s garment manufacturing industry and the US textile industry.

The Philippines has agreed to diluting its original version to the point that the bill has been watered down version.

The latest that the Philippine government did was to reduce the period covered for the zero-duty garment and textile trading with the US to five years from 10 years as part of the government’s last ditch effort to pass the bill in the US Congress.

Earlier, the government has also agreed to reduce by $30 million the estimated $230 million revenues that the US shall forego as a result of the zero duty or preferential tariff it gives to Philippine garment exports made from US fabrics and yarn.
(…)
The DTI expects to bring the garment sector back to the 600,000 employment level and exports revenues of $3 billion within two to three years from the passage of the bill.
Parallel with this bill, the DTI is also working to attract garment manufacturers in China to relocate here given the rising cost of labor there.“While we see a migration of manufacturing operations to the Philippines we also competing versus cheap labor of Vietnam and Bangladesh,” he said.
read more.

19:03:24 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Fainting workers blame fumes:

Almost 150 garment factory workers from two Phnom Penh factories fainted late last week after inhaling toxic fumes used to treat clothes, workers and union leaders said yesterday.

The mass faintings came as the Clean Clothes Campaign and Community Legal Education Center released an evaluation report on garment factory watchdog Better Factories Cambodia, highlighting the poor occupational health and safety standards that plague the industry.

Free Trade Union official Oum Lina said more than 100 workers from Hi Fashion in the capital’s Sen Sok district were rushed to state hospitals and private clinics on Friday.
She said the workers fainted three times throughout the day before they were whisked away for medical treatment.
An employee at Hi Fashion, who declined to be named, said that when she went to work on Saturday, about 50 employees fainted again. read more.

* Report urges Better Factories to do more:


A worker cuts cloth at a factory owned by Tai Yang Enterprises in July. The factory has been plagued by frequent protests recently. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Better Factories Cambodia must name and shame garment factories that abuse the labour law if it is to transform Cambodia into an ethical sourcing option, a report on the International Labor Organization initiative says.

Better Factories should make monitoring reports public, according to the 10 Years of the Better Factories Cambodia Pro­ject report, released on Thursday by Clean Clothes Campaign and Community Legal Education Center.

“Current reporting per­­for­mances are a glaring step backward from the level of transparency the program started with. Between 2001 and 2006, the BFC did actually publicly report factory names and compliance levels,” the report states.

Although Better Factories has significantly improved factory working conditions during its decade here, its program must be improved if it is to have a lasting effect, the report adds.

Better Factories, which monitors 374 garment factories and nine shoes factories, should also pressure the government to charge factories that break the law, hold international buyers more accountable for working conditions and monitor sub-contractors. read more.

* ‘Verbal abuse’ surfaces at Ocean:

An investigation by garment factory monitor Better Factories Cambodia into the alleged sexual harassment of four female employees at Ocean Garment uncovered extensive verbal abuse, according to BFC technical adviser Jill Tucker.

A BFC team visited the Dangkor district site on August 24 after a group of more than 2500 workers rallied behind six women who claimed manager Faruk Ahamed made sexual advances, striking from August 11 until last Friday.

Tucker said that although relations in the Bangladeshi-owned factory were very poor, BFC could not confirm the sexual harassment claims, which are still being dealt with by police and Phnom Penh Municipal Court after the women filed criminal complaints almost two weeks ago. read more.

* Investment treaty with US discussed:

The United States and Cambodia have agreed to begin discussions on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in a bid to spur trade and investment between the two countries, officials said on Friday following the end of the ASEAN-US Business Summit in Siem Reap.read more.

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

1. Fainting workers blame fumes. read more.
2. Report urges Better Factories to do more.read more.
3. ‘Verbal abuse’ surfaces at Ocean.read more.

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

4. Garment factory monitoring needs to improve. read more.


20:03:24 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* BetterWork Indonesia MediaUpdate:

1.  Factories’ Activities Is Back To Normal Again After Long Holiday. read more.
2.  Govt Opts for Suspension of Outsourcing System. read more.
3.   Call in defense of Indonesia’s economic prosperity. read more.
4.   U.S. Companies Getting More Requests for SEA Postings. read more.
5.  Indonesia Looks to unclog Bottlenecks. read more.
6.   Indonesia to expand tax-holiday policy to include producers of machinery.
read more.
7.   RI heading for high and sustainable growth: RBS. read more.

18:33:24 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Western Markets ‘Will Promote Worker Rights’:


Workers tailor and arrange clothing at a factory at Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone in Rangoon. (Photo: Reuters)
The return of Western markets for Burma’s once-booming garment industry can help safeguard worker rights, claims an industry expert.

While the United States and Europe were always vigilant in ensuring workplace practices were up to scratch, Burma’s post-sanctions biggest export market of Japan only cared about the quality of items being delivered, said Myanmar Garment Association (MGA) Chairman Myint Soe.
“US garment firms are very concerned with labor rights. Normally, US garment companies check the working environment of factories and other labor suppliers before they give the green light for trade,” he told a press conference held by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

“After US sanctions began, the MGA met with the former military government and we agreed to implement a ‘Look East’ policy. Therefore, we tried to work closely with Japan, which is very strict on the quality of items from Burma.

“But they are not concerned with labors rights,” he added. “They are only concerned with the items delivered. They did not accept even one wrong button. Therefore, we have to monitor our workers very strictly.”
In 2000, the garment industry in Burma was booming with 54 percent of orders from the United States and 37 percent from Europe. Garment exports in 2001 reached a record US $829 million compared with $770 million in 2011, according to official MGA data. read more.

* Myanmar promises 2nd wave of reform:

Myanmar will embark on a “second wave of reforms” that will include tentative privatisation and a law on the minimum wage, President Thein Sein said yesterday, indicating no let-up in the country’s rapid economic overhaul.
read more.

18:03:24 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Garments workers lay siege to BKMEA office:

Several hundred garments workers took out a procession from Chashara Shaheed Minar and laid a siege to BKMEA office demanding reopening of a closed factory on Saturday.
They also submitted a memo to the president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) demanding reopening of Imam Knitting, Dyeing and Finishing Ltd, closed by its owners after Eid-ul-Fitr allegedly without paying the dues to its 1200 workers and reinstatement of its 70 retrenched workers.

The agitating workers laid a seize to the BKMEA headquarters at 4:30 pm and withdraw it at 5:30pm.
They also held a rally in front of the BKMEA Bhaban in Chashara before handing over the memo its president.
Sramik League leader Sirajul Islam Roni, Baharane Sultan Bahar and Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra leader Hafizul Islam Hafiz among others addressed the rally.

Speaking at the rally Sirajul Islam said authority of Imam Knitting, Dyeing and Finishing, located at Balurmath in Shyampur in Dhaka, without any prior notice keeping its 1200 employees in the dark immediately after Eid holidays.
He said not only that they shut the unit not paying its workers their arrear salary, overtime, termination benefit and other dues.

Besides the factory owners illegally sacked 70 workers before Eid without paying their salary, Eid bonus, retrenchment benefit and other dues and filed `false` cases against some workers who protested retrenchment of 70 workers and demanded their dues. read more. & read more. read more.
     

* Bangladesh’s apparel exports to China rising: report:

Low manufacturing cost driven by low wages make country’s products competitive

Bangladesh’s apparel exports to China are increasing because of rising manufacturing cost in China and low-cost driven by lower wages in Bangladesh, reports BBC.

‘A few years ago only 5 per cent of my factory output was for the Chinese market. Now it has gone up to 20 per cent,’ said Syed Faizul Ahsan, who owns a garments factory outside Dhaka.
Hundreds of workers, most of them women from rural areas, were seen busy making sweaters for China.
Growing orders from mainland China mean that Ahsan can breathe easy despite the slowdown in demand from the US and Eurozone.

He expects that his exports to China will increase further in the coming years.
It may sound strange that Chinese firms are turning to Bangladesh to make clothes, not least because China is the global leader in clothing manufacturing and exports, reports BBC.
Rosa Dada of Four Seasons Fashion Limited, a Chinese garments manufacturer, said factories in China are not competitive anymore because of increasing wages of labourers and a sharp hike in overall production costs.

‘In my factory in China, the salary of workers has been increasing steadily over the last few years,’ she told BBC during her recent visit to Bangladesh to look for opportunities here.
‘It has reached around $400 to $500 a month per worker. If I continue to produce there, our business will disappear.’
‘In Bangladesh the average monthly salary for garments workers is only around $70 to $100. If I produce here, price is much more competitive.’
(….)
The killing of a prominent labour activist, Aminul Islam, earlier this year has only added to the insecurity among the factory workers.
Following an outcry by western campaign groups over wages, major global retailers like Walmart and GAP have urged the country’s factories to increase salaries.
But Bangladeshi business leaders are defiant saying they have recently hiked up wages in the sector and warn that any further increase may damage its competitiveness.
‘Our prices are low. That’s why big western fashion brands are coming here. If they increase their buying price, we will also increase our salary to the workers,’ Rahman told BBC. read more.

* China to become major RMG export market for Bangladesh:

Bangladeshi readymade garment exports can hit the one billion dollar-mark within the next few years due to China shifting their production focus from basic to high-end garment items.

“Since Bangladesh is a strong player in the basic segment of the market, it can grab a share of the 1.3 billion Chinese customers,” said Feng Dehu, vice-president of China National Garment Association, who is currently leading a high-powered Chinese business delegation to Dhaka.
China, the leader in global apparel exports, is increasingly shifting its focus to manufacture of high-end garment items due to spiralling wage rates.

As a result, the country has become an attractive market for Bangladeshi readymade garment (RMG) products, Dehu purported, adding that the Chinese middle-income group are now being catered by imported garment items.
“So, it will not be difficult for Bangladesh to export one billion dollar worth of garment items to China in the next few years,” Dehu said.
read more.
& read more. & read more.
   

* RMG export to China to cross billion-dollar mark: BGMEA:

Amid the falling demand in the US and Eurozone, China has emerged as a big market for Bangladesh apparels, and exporters hope the readymade garment export to the emerging biggest economy will cross a billion-dollar mark within a few years.

However, the Chinese counterparts who have already visited a number of factories here think a billion-dollar business is too small compared to the huge demand.

“Our RMG export to China will cross a billion-dollar mark within a few years,” president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters at a press conference at its conference room.
He, however, said, “It depends on how efficient we’re in production and infrastructure facilities. But the market is huge, even the export may turn billions from a billion,”
The press conference was arranged to brief the media about the outcome of the visit of a Chinese business delegation, led by vice-president of China National Garment Association (CNGA) Feng Dehu.
Commerce Minister GM Quader, BGMEA second vice-president M Siddiqur Rahman, Chinese delegation members, including Feng Dehu and delegation coordinator Rosa Dada, were also present.

Replying to a question, Feng Dehu said, “It’s a long-term plan. I can’t tell you exactly what will be the export volume to China from Bangladesh. But surely it’ll be huge and one billion is too small.”
Dehu and his delegation members expressed satisfaction over the quality of Bangladeshi products, its price and management.

Dehu said China produces RMG worth US$ 300 billion that mostly meet domestic demand. “Only 9 percent of the total production we export, while the 91 percent meets the domestic demand.”
Responding to a question, Mohiuddin said, “China is going to be the biggest economy. We’re hoping we can grow together.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Bangla-China apparel entrepreneurs look for business expansion:

Bangladesh’s apparel exporters and their Chinese counterparts are looking for ways to expand Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) market in China as Bangladesh produces quality products at competitive prices, officials here said on Saturday, reports BSS.
A Chinese business delegation, led by vice-president of Feng Dehu China National Garment Association (CNGA), arrived here on Friday and visited a number of RMG factories.
Founded in 1991, CNGA is a nationwide organisation of China’s garment industry.
“The way we’re progressing, we’ll definitely do better in the Chinese market,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told UNB over phone on Saturday.
Replying to a question, he said they are exploring opportunities and looking for collaboration with China in the largely untapped areas like high fashion clothes and textiles.
“It’s a new market…we’ve just got duty-free access there (China) which covers almost all Bangladeshi RMG products. It takes time to expand a market,” Mohiuddin said.
Bangladesh’s garment exporters enjoy more than 90 percent of their products, such as T-shirts, jeans, sweaters and casual trousers duty free access to the Chinese market.
“China is Bangladesh’s next RMG market destination…there’s huge potential to have Chinese market for our RMG products,” BGMEA first vice-president Nasir Uddin Chowdhury said. read more.  & read more. & read more. & read more.
       

* Textile mills run below optimum scale:

Most of the country’s textile mills that support $ 20 billion apparel industry are facing working capital shortages, affecting smooth functioning of the mills. The unprecedented price hike and abnormal fall in raw cotton prices two years ago and the subsequent losses incurred by the mills are learnt to be the main reasons behind the shortage of working capital. Shortage of working capital, accompanied by power and energy crisis, labour unrest and the chaotic political situation are seriously hampering development of the country’s textile mills.
According to sources, non-disbursement of cash incentives and devaluation of local currency made the situation more aggravated in recent days. Textile millers have already expressed their grave concern over the government dilly-dally attitude in disbursing 5 percent cash incentive supports.
“Most of the mills on an average are suffering from shortage of working capital to the range of 30-40 per cent”, said Jahangir Alamin, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), the apex body of the country’s textile mills. read more.

* Janata, Agrani too partners in crime:

State-run Janata Bank and Agrani Bank breached banking rules to provide loans to the textile company Hall-Mark Group in connivance with Sonali Bank, helping embezzle crores of depositors’ money, the central bank has found.

Janata’s corporate branch located at Janata Bhaban and its local office in the city, the principal branch of Agrani Bank Ltd and the Sonali Bank Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch worked in league with officials of Hall-Mark.
The findings came in a Bangladesh Bank inspection on foreign trade activities of the Janata corporate branch.
When accounts of the Anawara Mills and Max Spinning Mills were opened on June 8 last year the owner of Anawara Spinning Mills was identified in the papers as Md Jahangir Alam and the owner of Max Spinning Mills as Mir Zakaria.

In both cases, Tanvir Mahmud, managing director of Bobby Spinning Mills and also managing director of Hall-Mark Group, was the introducer.
Janata started purchasing bills of Anawara Mills on June 16, 2011, and of Max Spinning Millls on June 26, against letters of credit (LCs).
Hall-Mark Fashion Ltd and its interest-linked company opened local LCs with the Sonali Bank Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch in favour of Anawara Spinning Mills and Max Spinning Mills to import yarn locally. read more.

* H&M chief to visit Bangladesh:

Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive officer of the Swedish retail chain H&M, is due in Bangladesh tomorrow to attend important meetings with the readymade garment manufacturers and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Three officials from H&M, including the chief financial officer and chief of global marketing, will accompany Persson for the two-day visit, said Siddiqur Rahman, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Persson will hold meetings with the BGMEA leaders and the prime minister, along with making factory tours, according to Rahman. “I cannot disclose specifics of his visit right now,” Rahman added.
“But the CEO will definitely discuss issues surrounding the RMG sector of the country, as Bangladesh is an important outsourcing destination for H&M — the company is increasing its purchase orders every year from Bangladesh,” Rahman said.

Moreover, the company is now carrying out some important corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in collaboration with the BGMEA, which the H&M officials are scheduled to discuss during the visit, he added.
“A high-powered Chinese business delegation, too, is now visiting Bangladesh for investing in the garment sector in the country. The business delegation has already held meetings with its Bangladeshi counterpart on this matter,” Rahman said.
H&M, thanks to its annual purchases worth nearly $1.5 billion, has overtaken Walmart, the world’s largest retail chain, as the biggest buyer of Bangladeshi readymade garment products.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* Textile backward linkage industries under threat:

Vice President (VP) of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) Engineer Ahmed Ali said the local textile backward linkage industries are making losses due to import of finished fabrics from several developing countries.

He said as the earlier two-stage Rules of Origin (RoO) are now transformed into single-stage ones, the garment exporters can source fabrics from any country of the world which has resulted in fewer work orders for the local backward linkage based industries.
He said, in particular, the weaving and dyeing factories are facing worse situation than spinning ones due to import of finished fabrics from the neighbouring countries.

The BTMA VP said the Bangladeshi backward linkage pie is now being eaten by the developing countries.
Mr Ali said billions of taka has already been invested in the apparel sector by the local entrepreneurs. If the present situation continues, the back bone of the textile and readymade garment industry will face further deterioration.

He said, “As the decision on RoO was made by the EU, we have nothing to do here. But we urged our government to provide us 10 per cent cash incentive on export to smoothly run the spinning mills and other factories but officials did not listen to us.”
read more.

17:33:24 local time map of india INDIA

* Carpet weavers resort to road blockade:

Carpet weavers staging a road blockade in Bhavani on Saturday demanding the implementation of new wage agreement. —PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Carpet weavers staging a road blockade in Bhavani on Saturday demanding the implementation of new wage agreement. —PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN
The indefinite strike called by the carpet weavers in Bhavani entered the second day on Saturday.Over 18,000 weavers in Bhavani and neighbouring blocks are participating in the strike called by the Bhavani Region Handloom Carpet and Bed Spread Weavers and Dyeing Workers Union, affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress, demanding the master weavers to implement the new wage agreement approved by the Department of Handlooms and Textiles.Weavers in Bhavani town resorted to a road blockade in support of the demand on Saturday. They blocked the traffic on the Anthiyur road and raised slogans urging the master weavers to provide wages as per the new agreement.Weavers claimed that the department brought in the new agreement with effect from July 1. It directed the co-operative societies and its members (called as master weavers) not to deduct the charges for warping and winding from the wages given for the weavers. The charges for warping and winding should be paid separately, the department said in its order. Earlier, these charges were deducted from the wages paid to the weavers. read more.

* Will not to resort to road blockades, but strike will continue: carpet weavers:

If a solution is not worked out, we will intensify the protest from September 6’

Carpet weavers in Bhavani region, who went on an indefinite strike since August 31 demanding the master weavers to implement the new wage agreement approved by the Department of Handlooms and Textiles, decided not to resort to road blockades as a part of their strike. The weavers, however, decided to continue the strike till their demands were met.

The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of the Bhavani Region Handloom Carpet and Bed Spread Weavers and Dyeing Workers Union, which called for the strike, held at Bhavani on Sunday.

“The authorities have scheduled a meeting on September 5 to hold talks with us. They have requested us to withdraw the strike. But we will continue the protest and stay away from work until our demands are met. We, however, accepted their request and decided not to resort to road blockades till September 5,” V. Siddhaian, secretary of the union said. read more.

* Give them their rights:

Amid the din of the discordant notes in Parliament and outside on scams, a significant decision by the Union cabinet went almost unnoticed. Earlier this week, the Cabinet amended the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act (CLPRA), 1986, and renamed it as the Child and Adolescent Labour Prohibition Act (CALPA).

When Parliament passes the important amendments, CALPA, along with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it is likely to make a positive impact on the lives of children not seen before in this country. Under CALPA, employing a child below 14 years in any kind of occupation is a cognisable offence, punishable with a maximum of three years imprisonment or a fine up to a maximum of Rs. 50,000. The amended Act, moved by the labour ministry, also proposes a blanket ban on employing anybody below 18 years in hazardous occupations.

If the amendment is passed, and I hope it will be very soon, the country will join hands with 95% of the world’s nations that have endorsed the minimum legal age of securing a job and the International Labour Organisation’s charter on child labour. India has taken 17 years to get there, but, as they say, it is better late than never.

After the RTE came into existence, it became untenable to continue with the CLPRA. This is because the RTE mandates that children from six to 14 years should get free schooling. Allowing any form of labour among this age group goes against the RTE Act. Many civil society organisations have long argued any child in this age group who does not go to school can end up in the labour market and, therefore, it was important that there was a complete ban on child labour.

No matter what many believe, the fact is that child labour cannot extricate families out of the poverty trap; in fact, it keeps them locked in the rut for generations. When children end up in the labour market, it affects their physical and cognitive development. For example, 45% of our children are malnourished and about 42% stunted. read more.

* Total ban on child labour hailed:

Child Rights organisations in Bangalore have hailed the Centre’s decision to have a comprehensive ban on child labour.

The Bangalore Chapter of Campaign for Child Labour (CACL) has stated that the move came 20 years after the country decided to implement child rights and said that those under 14 years of age should be treated as ‘children out of school rather than cild labourers.

Once these children will be classified as out of school children engaged in child labour, the Education Department and the Labour Department have to work together to ensure that these children are not only removed from child labour, but enrolled in schools as well, a release by CACL said.

“Enrolling children into school under RTE would drastically decrease child labour, child marriage, sexual harassment and other problems that persist,” the organisation
stated. to read.

* Textile traders may resume VAT protest:

Textile traders may restart their agitation against the government as the latter has reportedly not worked towards fulfilling its promise to abolish Value Added Tax. Traders allege that commercial tax officials are seizing their goods and serving notices demanding tax payment as per VAT stipulations when a government order scrapping 5% tax is due.

The state government had in July 2011 imposed VAT on textiles sparking intense protests from the traders. The government did not buckle despite a state-wide eight-day trade holiday declared by the traders in January this year. The commercial taxes department continued detaining bales and urging traders to register for Tax Identification Numbers ( TIN).read more.

* AEPC organising buyer-seller meet for readymade garment exporters in November:

Registered readymade garment exporters can now think of tapping the potential in non-traditional markets such as Columbia and Panama.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) is organising a readymade garment buyer-seller meet between November 19 and 23 at Bogota city (Columbia) and the Panamas.
The council has decided to organise the meet on the recommendations of the Indian Embassy and based on the market potential for readymade garments in these non-traditional markets.

It (AEPC) is inviting garment exporters to enrol and avail the early bird discount as they have limited bookings and since this is the first time that the council is organising such a meet in these non-traditional markets.
“The exhibitors can take their latest collections specially designed for Latin American market and negotiate good orders with the buyers during the event,’’ an AEPC release said.
Reports reveal that the readymade garment imports from India to Columbia and Panama surged 76 per cent and 98 per cent, respectively in 2011 over 2010.
to read.

* TN to modernise five cooperative spinning mills:

The Tamil Nadu Government is gearing up to modernise five cooperative spinning mills.

Disclosing this here today, G Santhanam, Secretary, Ministry of Handlooms and Textiles said the State has proposed to modernise five cooperative spinning mills at an investment of Rs 104 cr.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Cotton Conference hosted by the Indian Cotton Federation (formerly SICA), Santhanam said “there is also a proposal to reopen a closed mill in Ramnad. The investment on putting new machinery in this unit is estimated at Rs 18 crore,” he added.
The total spindelage in the five units that are expected to be revived is one lakh, the Secretary, Handlooms and Textiles said. read more. & read more.
 

* Cotton reserve to bail out textile industry:

In a first, the government may build a strategic reserve of cotton this season to secure supplies for cash-strapped textile mills struggling to stock up after the Reserve Bank of India rejected a proposal for debt restructuring in the sector.
According to a proposal by the textile ministry, the state-run Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) will be directed to buy 2.5 million bales of cotton at an appropriate time to create the reserve for exclusive sales to mills.
At Monday’s cotton price, the reserve will cost Rs 4,180 crore. The proposal will be sent to the finance ministry for a detailed discussion and necessary approval, the sources added.
The reserve will ensure raw material supplies to mills and help stabilise prices in times of shortage, said a senior textile industry executive. Domestic cotton prices flared up to a record Rs 70,000 a candy, of 356 kg each, in 2010-11 on a global shortage before easing to R35,000 per candy now.
Several textile mills have walked into a serious debt trap owing to a sudden fall in product prices after two successive years of relentless rise in raw material costs. Demand started falling suddenly from April as an approaching economic slowdown later aggravated into a sustained crisis in the EU and the US, which together account for around 65 per cent of India’s textile exports.

India, the world’s second-largest cotton producer, needs to have a long-term policy on maintaining reserves if it wants to face Chinese competition in textile exports, said the executive. China, despite being the world’s largest cotton producer, doesn’t allow exports of the raw material in a bid to keep supplies for its textile mills steady. It also holds the world’s biggest cotton reserve and offloads stocks periodically to control raw material prices in the local market. read more.

* Improved cotton data collection system on anvil:

The Cotton Distribution (Collection of Statistics) Bill 2012 envisages a system of data collection that will strengthen the Indian cotton data base, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Textiles, V. Srinivas, said here on Saturday.

Speaking at a conference on “Challenges facing cotton industry 2013” organised by the Indian Cotton Federation, he said that one of the major challenges to the Indian cotton trade was availability of statistics. The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) should base its estimates on real time data collected from the stakeholders. Hence, India had coordinated with the International Cotton Advisory Committee in a study of the best practices of data collection and collation in 10 countries, including the U.S., to formulate the bill. read more.

* Rajansthan’s textiles push with 9 dedicated parks:

The Central government has approved nine textile parks worth Rs1,500 crore in Rajasthan, and an additional grant of Rs 400 crore to promote this industry in the state, a senior official here said.

An assurance has also been given that Vastra 2012, the international textile fair to be held here from Nov 22-25 would be a grand success, the official said, referring to a meeting with Union textiles secretary Kiran Dhingra.

Rajasthan already had sanction for five textile parks. Four more were approved for the state recently as part of 21 such facilities across the country, in a bid to create additional jobs for four lakh people. (1 lakh=100.000 )   read more.

* Textile stocks under margin pressure:

Margin pressure is taking a toll on the share prices of leading textile companies. Last week, the share price of Alok Industries, S Kumars Nationwide, Arvind Ltd, Bombay Dyeing, Raymond and Vardhaman Textiles, among others, fell between five per cent and 24 per cent even while the BSE’s benchmark index, the Sensex, was down just two per cent.

According to market analysts, several brokers were seen offloading these stocks, as investors, who had purchased them through funding deals, could not bring in more margin. Margin funding is the leverage provided by brokers to clients on a 20-30 per cent margin to dabble in stocks. Financiers turned jittery, as data this month showed garment exports to the US and Europe were slipping and even China’s textile production witnessed a considerable slowdown.

India’s garment exports fell by 10.5 per cent year-on-year to $ 1.1 billion in June due to weak demand in the US and European markets. According to data provided by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), exports stood at $1.2 billion in the same period last financial year. According to AEPC Acting Secretary General Vijay Mathur, demand was sluggish in the US and European markets, as buyers were placing fewer orders and not keeping inventories. The US and Europe together account for about 65 per cent of the country’s total garment exports, which constitutes 50 per cent of the overall textile exports. read more.

* ‘Bandi river has become a reservoir of polluted water’:

Yet another river is dying, this time in the environment minister’s constituency. Not long ago, river Bandi in Pali district was a seasonal river.
In absolute disregard to environment , three out of the four common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) don’t have consent to operate since March 2011, he said. “Textile dyes are toxic, highly stable and do not degrade easily and are not removed by conventional wastewater treatment methods. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) staff took samples of water from several points, ranging from CETPs, drains from industries , wells and hand pumps in villages downstream. These samples were tested for heavy metals in the CSE pollution monitoring laboratory,” said Mahaveer.read more.

17:33:24 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Garments, Tea, Down The Precipice:

Tea production in the first half of the year fell by 5.4% year on year (YoY) to 161.4 million kilos, while prices fell even more sharply by 7.8% YoY to US$ 2.91 per kg. at the Colombo  Tea Auctions in June, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) statistics showed.
Meanwhile in the first seven months of the year tea production fell by 4.4% YoY to 187.3 million kg., it added.
Tea, after garments is Sri Lanka’s second biggest product export. The chief reason for the fall in tea production was the recent drought that prevailed across the island. With the drought eating into production one would have had expected prices to go up based on the “supply and demand” theory, ie too little goods allegedly being chased after by so many, but that was not to be, at least as far as tea is concerned.

The main reason for this is US sanctions imposed on Iran, Sri Lanka’s second largest tea importer after the CIS, over its nuclear programme which penalizes foreign banks doing business with Iranian banks by blacklisting such. This has resulted in state owned banks such as the Bank of Ceylon shying away from doing business with Iran.

The decline in tea exports comes in the backdrop of a fall in garment exports (by 6% in June), made worse by the euro zone crisis, affecting exports to Sri Lanka’s largest market, not least garments.
This has been made worse by the EU taking away the concessionary GSP + duty free facility from Sri Lanka for alleged human rights abuse during the closing stages of its war against the LTTE, which penalty has resulted in certain garment export firms relocating some of their production facilities to Bangladesh (which enjoys duty free export status to the EU) in order to continue to enjoy this duty free facility at the expense of a loss of export earnings and jobs to Sri Lanka. read more.

17:03:24 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Revival of textile sector: APTMA to prepare road map: Dr Baig:

 President Asif Ali Zardari has asked All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to prepare a road map for the revival of the country’s textile industry, which will be shared with all political parties so that they can include the same in their economic agenda for the forthcoming general election.

This was stated by Federal Advisor on Textile Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig here on Friday. He said the President had also constituted a committee headed by Minister for Textile Makhdoom Shahabuddin to prepare recommendations to boost the exports of textile products. Other members of the committee included Dr Baig, former Chairman Aptma Gauhar Ejaz and representatives of the association.read more.

* 50 percent reduction in GID: textile exporters welcome ministry’s recommendation:

Textile exporters have welcomed the petroleum ministry recommendation to 50 percent reduction in gas infrastructure development surcharge saying that it will help cut the cost of production of exportable goods. These were expressed by Rana Arif Touseef, chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, while talking to newsmen.

Commenting on Ministry of Petroleum summery to the government for 50 percent cut in gas infrastructure development surcharge, he said that textile industry is the only hope for the revival of country’s economy which is currently jolted by the high cost of doing business. Textile industry has been facing strong competition at international markets from regional competitors where energy cost is lower and manufacturers are also enjoying special exemption.

High gas tariff in Pakistan have affected textile exports and left a bad impact on the value-added textiles sector, due to which textile exports have declined to USD 12.35 billion in fiscal 2011-12 against USD 13.78 billion in the same period last year. He said that energy shortage was the prime cause of decline in exports because 40 percent of production capacity of textile industry was dysfunctional due to short supply of gas. Textile exporters have welcomed the petroleum ministry recommendation to 50 percent reduction in gas infrastructure development surcharge saying that it will help cut the cost of production of exportable goods. These were expressed by Rana Arif Touseef, chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, while talking to newsmen. read more.

* Leather garment exports decline in July:

Pakistan’s leather garment exports declined in July 2012 by more than 20 percent because of smuggling of livestock and other elements, industry people said on Friday.

According to figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, exports of leather garments remained at $33.122 million in July 2012 against $41.608 million during the same period last year.

Export of some other products declined up to 58 percent. Chaudhry Ahmed Zulfiqar, chairman, Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that smuggling of the live animals was a major contributor in the decline of the leather exports, as it increased prices of the raw material. read more.

map of Asia

CHINA
* Bangladesh eyes China’s clothing market
* Migrant workers’ kids say goodbye till next year

PHILIPPINES
* National Workers Congress, a ploy to undermine state workers’ rights
* Better Chance Anticipated In 2013

CAMBODIA
* Fainting workers blame fumes
* Report urges Better Factories to do more
* ‘Verbal abuse’ surfaces at Ocean
* Investment treaty with US discussed
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
1. Fainting workers blame fumes
2. Report urges Better Factories to do more
3. ‘Verbal abuse’ surfaces at Ocean
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
4. Garment factory monitoring needs to improve

INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia MediaUpdate

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Western Markets ‘Will Promote Worker Rights’
* Myanmar promises 2nd wave of reform

BANGLA DESH
* Garments workers lay siege to BKMEA office
* Bangladesh’s apparel exports to China rising
* China to become major RMG export market for Bangladesh
* RMG export to China to cross billion-dollar mark
* Bangla-China apparel entrepreneurs look for business expansion
* Textile mills run below optimum scale
* Janata, Agrani too partners in crime
* H&M chief to visit Bangladesh
* Textile backward linkage industries under threat

INDIA
* Carpet weavers resort to road blockade
* Will not to resort to road blockades, but strike will continue
* Give them their rights
* Total ban on child labour hailed
* Textile traders may resume VAT protest
* AEPC organising buyer-seller meet for readymade garment exporters
* TN to modernise five cooperative spinning mills
* Cotton reserve to bail out textile industry
* Improved cotton data collection system on anvil
* Rajansthan’s textiles push with 9 dedicated parks
* Textile stocks under margin pressure
* ‘Bandi river has become a reservoir of polluted water’

SRI LANKA
* Garments, Tea, Down The Precipice

PAKISTAN
* Revival of textile sector: APTMA to prepare road map
* 50 percent reduction in GID: textile exporters welcome ministry’s recommendation
* Leather garment exports decline in July

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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