in the news on-line, 10 September 2012

 07:02:10 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Thailand Ministry of Labor to enhance Partnership Industrial Relations:

UNI Apro is working in partnership with Thailand Ministry of Labour to
enhance Partnership Industrial Relations in Thailand.

Sustaining businesses requires employers and trade unions to work in partnership at the enterprise level, and social partnership at national level. Meaningful social partnership industrial relations must be based on co-operative and harmonious labour management relations.
This is crucial in building up productivity and competitiveness of a country in a global economy. That is why enlightened employers look at their partnership with the employees and their trade unions as a long‐term proposition and keep relations with their unions stable and mature.
UNI affiliates in Thailand are keen to develop partnership relations with employers. This sentiment was commended by Ms. Naruimol Tandumand, Advisor to Thailand Minister of Labour, in her inaugural address to the first Tripartite Conference on Partnership Industrial Relations held in Bangkok on 21 August 2012. She reminded participants of the importance of harmonious industrial relations for sustainable business and decent employment, and emphasised the critical need for employers and trade unions to work in partnership to confront challenges and overcome problems.

Tandumand praised initiatives taken by UNI Apro and is pleased that the Ministry of Labour is a joint organiser with UNI Apro on such conference that is of critical importance for sustainable growth of Thailand in a global economy.

Jointly organised by the Thailand Ministry of Labour and UNI Apro, the conference was attended by 88 participants representing trade unions and management of AMCOR, FBFT, Kimberly Clark, KC, MCOT, G4S, SEWUCAT, SEWU-THP, TOT and Tesco Lotus and MOL officials from the provincial labour protection offices and Social Security Office. read more.

07:02:10 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Rare win for Ocean Garment strikers:

Ocean Garment, the Phnom Penh-based clothing manufacturer at the centre of sexual harassment claims and an illegal strike that lasted more than two weeks, has agreed to compensate more than 2,500 workers for wages lost during the protests, a move union advocates have highlighted as rare.

A throng of more than half of the Dangkor district factory’s work force hit the pavement on August 11, rallying behind six female workers who claimed manager Faruk Ahamed made sexual advances – claims that are now being dealt with Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

After a number of meetings with the workers’ Collective Union of Movement of Workers, Ocean management on Saturday announced workers would receive half their daily wage and allowance for the 16-day protest, with each to be paid $20 in total.

While CUMW had lobbied Ocean for full compensation, they accepted the 50 per cent deal, worker representative Keo Kim Heang said yesterday, adding she would announce the news to workers today. read more.

* Workers from Taiwanese-controled factory march for bonuses:

More than 200 workers and union representatives from Horus Industrial Corp marched Friday to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training to demand long-service bonuses.

They also sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for the creation of a monitoring committee.

“The factory owner has recently done something bad to cause workers to stop working. Only 100 of the 2,000 workers are still working,” the letter said. “We have to strike.”

Horus makes sportswear, jackets and pants. The company is 90 percent controled by Taiwanese interests with the remaining 10 percent held by Cambodian interests.
to read.

* Workers can take up to three days off to register to vote:

Labor Minister Vong Soth is letting garment factory workers take off between one and three days to register to vote in response to a request of National Election Committee (NEC).

In a letter dated Wednesday, the  ministry said the workers would be allowed to register during the second week of October without have their bonuses or salaries cut. to read.

* Cambodia To Host the 5th ASEAN Forum on Labor Migration:

Cambodia will organize the 5th ASEAN Forum on Labor Migration in early October, in Siem Reap province in order to help protect and promote the migrant workers’ rights.

The information was made known by H.E. Seng Sakda, Director General of Labor at the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training during a press conference here on Sept. 5.
H.E. Vong Sauth, Minister of Labor and Vocational Training expressed his concern over the migrant workers, particularly women and children, who might be victims of labor exploitation and human trafficking.

Moreover, he asked for some concrete measures in order to assist the migrant workers including the management of private recruitment agencies and the procedures of the migrant workers’ registration and recruitment, etc.
Cambodia has bilateral cooperation on labor migration with Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Kuwait and Qatar, etc. to read.

08:02:10 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Anger as govt backsliding on health meets strong rejection:

Workers and the poor have rejected the government’s idea of gradually implementing social security programs and to impose premiums for the services, saying the people have a right to basic social security protection for free.

They showed their anger in response to a statement from Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono that the government would launch the national healthcare program in January 2014 and implement it gradually until 2019.

The minister also said either employers or workers would pay an aggregated 5 percent contribution to the program.

The government says it has set aside Rp 25 trillion (US$2.6 billion)as its contribution to cover more than 96 million poor people as premium aid recipients (PBI).

The Action Committee for Social Security (KAJS) and an alliance of labor union confederations accused the government of a lack of seriousness in implementing the long-waited programs. read more.

* Indonesia debates minimum wages as it climbs the skills ladder:

Already facing a challenge when it comes to labour skills, Indonesia appears destined to face the same experience as Thailand, where minimum wages have risen out of proportion to skills or productivity.

The Indonesian government has been discussing a new approach to setting minimum wages to protect low-level workers, with rates to be set by regional governments to reflect local costs.
Minimum wages in Thailand are set by a central body comprising government, business and labour representatives, but in the past they have varied by province depending on living costs. Starting on Jan 1 next year, however, the rate will be 300 baht a day everywhere.

However, in Indonesia there is no guarantee that a company will pay its employees based on the minimum wages, and as in other countries, labour unions and trade organisations look at ways of negotiating higher minimum wages each year.
Increases in minimum wages have been seen as inadequate in helping workers to stay ahead of inflation and cover basic expenses, such as housing rent, transport and food.

Alex Denni, executive partner of Dinamis Human Capital, sees minimum wage regulations as a short-term solution for countries that are making the transformation from poor to developing status.
“If you seek fairness, it is not about the minimum wage, but it is about the minimum ratios for each industry, and the ratio of compensation compared to total revenue of the company,” he said. read more.

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:

1. Industrial Relation: Employer have to promote dialogue with Union.
read more.(= google translation)
2. New report evaluates decade of Better Factories Cambodia. read more.
3. ASEAN slated to begin FTA talks next year. read more.
4. Govt remains upbeat despite index slip. read more.
5. RI to host biannual global export forum. read more.
6. Consumers Upbeat on Economy. read more.
7. Central Bank to Allow Rupiah to Weaken for Exports’ Competitive Edge.
read more.
Overvieuw via:  Media Updates – Better Work Indonesia

06:32:10 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Myanmar garment workers protest in Yangon:

About 1,000 textile workers marched through Myanmar’s main city Yangon yesterday to demand increased pay, in the latest show of labour activism following the end of decades of military rule.
Long silenced under the generals who ran the country for almost half a century until last year, Myanmar’s workforce is now daring to speak out to call for better wages and conditions.
The protesters walked for several hours from their factory to a government labour office in Yangon. Police did not intervene even though the demonstrators did not have official permission.
“I’m here to ask for a salary increase,” said a female worker who said she earned about $90 a month including overtime.
“When other factories faced protests, our employers persuaded us not to demonstrate and promised they would take care of us. But they just gave us a bottle of cooking oil. Nothing else,” she said.
Hundreds of employees at other factories went on strike earlier this year demanding improved working conditions, picketing outside the more.

06:02:10 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Unrest Threatens Bangladesh’s Key Garment Export:

Bangladesh’s $19 billion garments industry attracts some of the world’s biggest clothing brands because of low costs, but many retailers say unrest over pay and delayed shipping schedules are eroding that advantage.

The killing of a labor activist and increasing publicity of unsanitary and unsafe working conditions at the country’s 4,500 garment factories is also making some retailers worried about their reputation.
Bangladeshi factories make clothes for brands including Tesco, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M , Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Carrefour. Wages are as low as $37 a month for some workers.

In June, more than 300 factories near the capital Dhaka were shut for almost a week until the government and factory owners promised to consider pay demands and persuaded them to return to work.
“Unrest in the ready-made garment sector is a major concern for us,” said a country manager of a large international wholesale customer, primarily located in the United States.

“We have calculated that a two-week work disruption in factories producing 1.5 million units of garments daily would lead up to $8 million losses,” the manager said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* Workers, retailers worried over Bangladeshi garment sector:

Bangladesh’s garment industry is worth 19 billion dollars this year alone.
Retailers world wide depend on the country’s cheap labor to keep their costs down.
But poor working conditions and low pay have prompted protests by the country’s some 4 million workers.

One of them is Nazma Begum. She earns $51 a month- a third of which goes to pay for a room where she can raise her three children.
Nazma says unless standards improve, workers will continue to demonstrate.

Garment factory worker Nazma Begum saying:
“Now I get 4,200 taka ($51 USD) per month, which should be raised at least to 6,000 taka. I spend almost one-third of my wage for hiring a one room shelter while the prices of all daily necessaries are going gone up. Unless our pay is raised accordingly, there will be more unrest.”

Worker unrest spells bad news for companies like H & M, JC Penny, Mark’s and Spencer and others who buy clothes made in Bangladesh. read & see more.(video)

* Some suggestions to resolve crisis in garment sector:

Over the last thirty years, our garment industry has matured and stood on its own feet. The garment industry employs thousands of men and women and earns millions of dollars for Bangladesh. Undoubtedly, ours is a free market economy. But it does not mean that the garment factory owners may act for their own benefit ignoring the workers’ rights and vice-versa.

If the garment industry collapses or closes down, thousands of people would become jobless and an economic catastrophe may befall our country.

In order to run our garment industry smoothly and efficiently and to save it from any ominous threat, we strongly feel and recommend that the following three steps, including others, if any, may be taken immediately by our government:

i) A common service rules and regulations for all the garment factories may be made.

ii) Owners of the garment factories may pay wages and overtime to the workers on or before the seventh day of each month and also the yearly bonus at least before the religious festival.

iii) In case the owners of the garment factories fail to pay the wages, overtime and bonus, our ministry of industry may handover the failed garment factory to another successful garment factory owner or to any private individual through tender and auction.

iv) Our ministry of industry may be held responsible for maintaining accountability, transparency, safety and security of all garment factories and the welfare of the workers and staff members of the factories. to read.

* Hallmark workers block Savar highway:

Workers of Hallmark Group demonstrated on the Dhaka-Aricha highway on Friday for what they said was to resist persecution of their employers on ‘false charges’, blocking traffic on the busy highway for an hour.

Hallmark’s Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud is currently facing investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission as Bangladesh Bank traced breach of rules by Sonali Bank in disbursing over Tk 26 billion in loan to his textile firm.

Eye-witnesses said around 4000 workers formed a human chain on the highway that goes by their factory at Nandakhali at Tetuljhora in Savar, carrying posters, leaflets, banners and festoons.
They took out a protest procession that turned violent when some of the demonstrators pelted stones at several vehicles passing by, leading to a halt in traffic for an hour from 11am.
Police intervened and brought the situation under control.

The workers’ demands include withdrawal of ‘false cases’ against Tanvir and government intervention to ensure their livelihood. read more.

* Garment makers urge Muhith to ease bill purchase conditions:

Garment makers urged Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Friday to ease conditions for inland bill purchase (IBP) at a time when the country’s largest state bank, Sonali Bank, is tainted with a loan scam.

IBP is essentially a credit facility that takes place when a bank gives guarantee to its client for purchase of goods and services from the local market.
Bangladesh Bank in a circular on July 11 reduced the power of purchasing IBP by the branches of banks as the banking regulator detected irregularities in disbursement of loans against opening of letters of credit.

The regulator found a significant rise in collecting funds through preparing accommodation bills against LCs, without any real business transaction.
The trend of bill purchase increased as those transactions were handled at branch level, with the principal branch kept in the dark. read more.

* Workers’ welfare:

The government’s willingness to ensure welfare of those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brows comes as recognition of the labour that goes into the production of foods and other materials either for domestic consumption or export beyond the border.
The contribution of workers of the labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and garments factories often goes unrecognised mostly because they have little bargaining power for their labour. In an overpopulated country like Bangladesh the supply of farm hands is yet to pose any problem like it does in the major industrialised countries.
It is only natural that labour is cheap here.
Farm labourers have of late been short in supply in the paddy cultivation and harvesting season. Yet the greater demand for farm labour has not raised such labourers’ wages beyond any rational level. In the face of repeated and prolonged demonstrations a slightly raised wage package was announced for the country’s garments workers, thanks to the government’s mediation in the matter. The informal manufacturing sector, though, has not as yet implemented any wage structure for its workers.

Small wonder, therefore, simmering discontent at times flares up in the garments sector where workers have little difficulty to mobilise themselves for demonstrations. On this count, agricultural labourers and other industrial workers are particularly disadvantaged.
Together they may be the engine of economic development in the country, yet the tendency is to underestimate their contribution.
Unfortunately, government functionaries, political bigwigs and trade union leaders often do not have their hearts where their mouths are. The prime minister has already demonstrated her soft corner for the workers.
When the negotiations over fixing minimum wages for garments workers were about to break down, it was her personal initiatives that saved the day. Clearly, the impression was that she liked to offer a higher pay package for workers but for the opposition by the owners of garments units. read more.

* China to relocate labour intensive industries to B’desh:

Entrepreneurs of Fujian province of China is considering relocation of labour intensive industries to Bangladesh and will offer scholarships to Bangladeshi students to study agriculture in the province, which is famous for its industrial and agricultural development.

This was stated by the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Provincial Committee Chen Wenquing in response to a request of Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni in Xiamen, Fujian on Saturday.

The Foreign Minister discussed the whole range of bilateral economic issues and ways and means to further boost trade and investment between Bangladesh and China, especially with Fujian province, according to a message received here on Saturday.

Dipu Moni also informed the Chinese leader of Bangladesh government’s plan to establish an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ for Chinese investors and urged for taking advantage of competitive labour forces and various duty-free facilities enjoyed by Bangladesh in most of the developed countries, including the European Union.

Chen Wenquing, one of the most influential policymakers in the Fujian province, has shown keen interest in Bangladesh and was encouraged by the presentation of Dipu Moni on the investment prospects in Bangladesh.

Referring to an entrepreneur of Fujian province, who has been successfully running industries in Bangladesh and employed over 8,000 workers, Wenquing informed the Bangladesh Foreign Minister about the interest of other investors from the province to invest in various sectors in Bangladesh, particularly, in the textile sector.
read more.

* Ticfa: High duty on B’desh products in US market could be reconsidered:

The US will reconsider the issue of reducing the high duty on Bangladeshi products in the US market if the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) is signed, US Acting Secretary of State William J Burns said during a meeting with Dipu Moni on Monday.

At the hour-long meeting at the US State Department, both leaders discussed issues of mutual interests such as bilateral trade and investment, development, energy and security sector cooperation and the upcoming Partnership Dialogue, said an official release received here Thursday.

Regarding Bangladesh’s garment export to the USA, Dr Dipu Moni noted that the duty- and quota-free market access for the Asian LDCs, including Bangladesh would significantly contribute to the expansion of their trading ties with the USA. read more.

* Farmers frustrated over low jute price in Kurigram:

Low prices of jute in the local market have frustrated growers of the district this year.

Local farmers cultivated jute with great enthusiasm in nine upazilas of the district this year as there was good harvest as well as satisfactory price of jute last year.
However, now they have been gripped with anxiety as the market price of jute is much below their expectation.

Local Department of Agriculture Extension sources said about 21,111 hectares of land were brought under jute farming in the district this year. Of the total land, jute on 3,059 hectares was damaged due to flood.
The government fixed the rate of per maund jute at  Tk 2,200 but the local big businessmen, licensed by the government, refused to buy jute at the official rate, said farmers.

The farmers alleged that the businessmen are buying jute at low prices in a bid to get more profit, which affected them badly. read more.

* BKMEA polls on Sept 15:

Hectic campaigns by candidates of two panels warmed up atmosphere in Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association as its 652 voters are set to elect its new leaders on September 15.
Former BKMEA president Fazlul Haq, the leader of one panel with 24 candidates in his camp campaigned throughout Saturday in knitwear factories at the Panchabati industrial hub at Fatulla. read more.

05:32:10 local time map of india INDIA

* Getting ready for the new law against child labour:

The challenges are to assess the scale of the problem, increase capacity to enforce the new amendments and prepare for realistic rehabilitative steps

The Union Cabinet’s green light to the amendments in the existing law against child labour is encouraging.
When it comes into force, all forms of child labour under the age of 14 years will be banned, the employment of children in the 14-18 age group in hazardous occupations prohibited and child labour a cognisable offence.
This would also mean scaling up the state’s efforts and responsibilities, enhanced expenditure and more involvement of the police and judiciary, if the government is serious about the enforcement of the newly tagged Child and Adolescent Labour Prohibition Act. read more.

* Interest subsidy delay throws a spanner in works of Sarvodaya Sangh:

The fall in production of steel and textiles has hit workers badly

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi welcomes us at the entrance of the village-industries complex of Pollachi Sarvodaya Sangh, at Singarampalayam, about 20 km from here.  The sprawling 30-year-old campus on 23 acres has eight worksheds to make products such as steel furniture, groundnut oil, and neem oil soaps. On a September afternoon, a handful of workers employed at the sheds are having an extended break after lunch and the machines lie idle.

Those making steel furniture are without work for the last 10 days and the soap-making facility has not been used for the last one month, says manager of the complex S. Shanmugasundaram.
“Production has come down drastically during the last one month since the Sarvodaya Sangh has not been able to get the required funds to buy the raw material,” he says.

On an average, a silk unit run by the Gandhipuram Sarvodaya Sangh at Vadavalli, Coimbatore, used to produce yarn worth Rs. 8-10 lakh monthly. But now, the production has slumped to Rs. 4 lakh.
“If we do not get the interest subsidy soon, it will be very difficult to continue operations,” says G. Jayakanthan, secretary of the Sangh, which has taken a loan of Rs. 1.5 crore. read more.

* Silk City weavers starving:

Their nimble fingers weave the golden textile that dress the glitterati, but they themselves remain half clad and ill-fed. The 60,000 and odd local weavers of this Silk City are, in fact, worse off than unskilled workers, earning a measly Rs 20 to Rs 70 per day, making it a tough task to manage two square meals for themselves and their families.

Silk industry in this city goes back 200 years. Even now, it ranks second, next only to Karnataka in the production and export of silk fabrics. But a number of factors, including lack of credit, power shortage and increasing competition from other silk-producing centres in the country, have robbed the sheen of the local industry and brought the weavers to the brink. read more.

* Stitches from the past coming loose:

Once thronged by the fashionable and well heeled of the city, the inhabitants of Tailor galli in Chhaoni area today follow a very humdrum lifestyle. The booming boutiques and stores selling ready-made clothes have taken a toll on footfalls in this lane. But more than 300 tailor families who still live here say that there is nowhere else to go and nothing else that they can do.

“When the military troops move they carry with them their cooks, washermen and tailors,” says Kishore Singwar who has a shop and house in the lane. “Our forefathers who hailed from Andhra Pradesh moved with the battalions and relocated here as they used to stitch military uniforms,” he informs.

Most of the families hail from areas around Gadchiroli. Others moved from Vijayawada. They were residing there by the riverside but got tired of frequent floods and moved here.

“This area is known as Ganpatrao ki Chaoni,” says Suresh Kadrey whose shop SV Kadrey Tailors once boasted of a clientele which was considered cream of the society. “Sophisticated machines did not exist in those days. Entire families were employed in the task of stitching clothes. That is the reason shops here are part of homes of tailors,” says Kadrey. read more.

* Four more farmers end life:

Even as deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar held a janata darbar on Friday, it doesn’t seem enough to lift spirits of debt-ridden farmers in the district. Four farmers, who lost standing crops due to heavy rainfall in the last week, committed suicide in different villages. On Saturday, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan held a review meeting at the divisional headquarters, Amravati, which was attended by top officers.

Pundlik Ukey of Salebhati, Dipak Vajpayee of Phulsawangi, Atul Kute of Tirzada and Sitaran Rathod of Sewadas Nagar are the farmers who took the extreme step. This takes the tally of farmers who committed suicide in Vidarbha in 2012 to 536, said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS).

“Vidarbha’s agrarian crisis is in its seventh year. Farmers’ suicides are being reported since June 2005, one every eight hours. As per government records, more than 9000 distressed farmers have ended their life due to crop failure, fall in cotton prices and wrong policies of the central government regarding minimum support price and export,” said VJAS. read more.

* Cotton crop fall may hit textile firms:

Apparel prices are unlikely to rise despite an expected fall in cotton production in the country as slackened demand has crimped the pricing power of manufacturers. While the Union textile ministry’s Cotton Advisory Board has estimated production in the 2011-12 season to touch 35 million bales, experts see it averaging 34 million due to deficient rainfall in main producing states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Industry experts said while cut in production increases cotton prices and, in turn, garment prices by 3-4% and apparel prices by 10-15%.
But this time, they may not head north as economic slowdown has significantly impacted buying, evident from low business despite extended sale season across categories. read more.

* Textile sector investments: It’s Gujarat versus Maharasthra:

It’s like clash of titans for attracting fresh investments in textile sector. As Gujarat and Maharashtra, major cotton producers of the country, through their new textile policies are hoping to reverse trend of their cotton being exported to neighboring states for processing and instead have units in there areas.

Gujarat announced its textile police last week and Maharashtra had announced it in March this year. On Monday, Maharasthra textiles minister Naseem Khan along with his senior officials will hold a road show in Ahmedabad to attract Gujarat’s textile units in Gujarat.
Interestingly, Gujarat government is too hoping to tap units in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for bring in investments in the textile sector.

Maharashtra government is estimating the policy will help ring Rs 40,000 crore investments and create 11 lakh new jobs in the textile sector in the next five years. Under the policy, the Maharasthra government is offering a 10 per cent capital subsidy for new textile projects in Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra.
read more.

* Second quarter to be tougher for spinning industry:

While spinning companies posted healthy bottomline as compared to their peers in the textile value chain for Q1 of current fiscal due to rising yarn prices, demand for cotton yarn has begun to dwindle.
The industry fears tough demand and pricing condition in coming months.

“There is a recovery in the cotton yarn vertical. Spinning companies and integrated textile companies with good yarn businesses have done well in the first quarter of the current fiscal. While cotton yarn prices rose, cotton prices declined leaving spinning companies in a better position than last year. However, the coming months are uncertain,” said DK Nair, secretary general of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI).

Spinning companies like Vardhman Textiles, Nahar Spinning and Nitin Spinners posted profits for Q1 of fiscal 2012-13 as against losses in the corresponding quarter last year. read more.

* Planet Retail may sell apparel brand rights to Arvind:

Ramesh Tainwala-led Planet Retail, will completely exit the rights for apparel brands Nautica, Next, and Debenhams, which it holds.

The company has finalised a deal to sell them to textile and apparel major Arvind. An announcement on this is expected in three to four days, said a source in the know.
Though Tainwala did not mention Arvind, he said he was currently in talks with a “friend” who has the capability to absorb the brands and provide it with backward integration support. read more.

* Levi’s scales down after India retail rush:

American denim giant Levi Strauss & Co is unwinding its aggressive India retail expansion, shuttering unviable stores and axing some jobs, as part of a restructuring plan to boost profits. Levi’s, Reebok and Benetton have been the most ambitious foreign fashion brands, placing big bets on the India growth story.

The fully-owned Indian subsidiary of the San Francisco-based company is closing down the flagship large stores Levi’s Square — located on some of India’s busiest shopping streets — and halting expansion of the low-cost jeans brand Denizen, said multiple sources familiar with the development. read more.

* Reebok scam: Staff exodus affects probe; process of tracing records slowed:

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office is finding it difficult to make headway in the Rs 870-crore alleged scam at sportswear maker Reebok India because an exodus of employees has slowed down the process of tracing records.

A senior official, who did not wish to be named, told ET that the agency is either unable to access documents or taking much longer than expected to get the relevant records from the company. As a result, it is likely to miss the deadline of September-end set by the corporate affairs ministry, the official said.

In May, the company had filed a first information report with the Gurgaon police, accusing its India chief executive Subhinder Singh Prem and chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat of irregularities. While both the accused denied the charges, the ministry handed over the case to the SFIO to scrutinise the company’s accounts for misappropriation of funds, inventory diversion, and fictitious inflation of sales revenue. read more.

* Reebok India asks franchisees to move to cash-and-carry model:

German sports goods maker Adidas AG is moving its Reebok business in India to a cash-and-carry model to protect itself from further losses in domestic operations.

As a part of this exercise, the company is understood to have given its franchisees an ultimatum to move to the new terms and conditions latest by November.
In a recent analyst call, Adidas Group Chairman of Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Hainer, had said, “We will clean up India, there is no doubt, because we want to have a clean sheet. Reebok customer review will be completed in the next few weeks and the company will move towards a profitable business model for the brand.” read more.

05:32:10 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Brandix pledges carbon reduction:

After achieving its 2012 eco targets Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporter Brandix has pledged a further reduction of its carbon footprint by 2020.

The head of environment and energy management of Brandix group, Iresha Somarathna told a media briefing that using 2013 as the base year, Brandix will make further investments in processes and innovations that progressively reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, aiming at a further 20 percent reduction of the Brandix Eco Index over the next seven years. read more.

05:02:10 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Labour Conferance at Fasalabad:

Pakistan textile Garments and Leather Workers Federation is convening a Labour Conference on 9 September 2012 Faisalabad.

On the agenda of  Conference are:
Change in Labour Laws and its impacts on Labour Rights .
Violations Committed by the State in ILO Perspectives.
Failure of the Government to Implement the minimum Wages Laws.
Non eradication of Contract Labour system and daily Wages Labour
& Impact of Energy Crisis upon the Textile Garments Lather Workers and industries

The Labour Conference has Convened in  Collaburation  With Punjab Federation of Labour unions , Faisalabad jainbaz Labour federation; Power looms workers union and all affiliated unions of PTGLWF.
(source :Pakistan Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation in Pakistan- PTGLWF.)

* ”Value-added textile sector facing financial crunch”:

The value-added textile sector is facing financial crunch as several incentives announced in the textile policy 2009-14 have not been provided so far. Chairman, Towel Manufacturers” Association of Pakistan (TMA), Feroze Alam Lari has requested the ministries of commerce, textile industry and the State Bank of Pakistan to look into the current economic scenario and try to save the ”sinking” textile exports before it is too late.

He has, however, welcomed the instructions of State Bank of Pakistan to banks and DFIs about processing markup claims and providing investment support to textile industry under Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme announced by ministry of textile industry, and expressed the hope that it would encourage investment for up-gradation of machinery and technology in textile more.

* GIDC reduced for entire industry- APTMA:

Spokesman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has said the government has reduced Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) for the whole industry and not only APTMA to ensure sustainability and compatibility on domestic and global fronts.

According to him, the government had introduced Gas Infrastructure Development Act in 2011 with a Cess of Rs13/MMBTU, which was increased to Rs100/MMBTU in the Finance Bill of 2012-13. The industry at large opposed the arrangement and demanded the government of reducing it to Rs50/MMBTU. The government agreed to the demand and reduced it accordingly as per the industry more.

* Textile tycoons get Rs13 bn relief:

The government has reduced the gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) by 50 percent per million British thermal units (MMBTU) for the industrial sector, a senior official said on Friday. A notification to the effect has already been issued.

With the issuance of the notification, the gas infrastructure development cess to the industrial sector becomes the lowest compared to other sectors. “At present, CNG consumers are paying the highest GIDC of Rs300 per MMBTU whereas industrial consumers will now pay Rs50 per MMBTU,” the official at the ministry of petroleum and natural resources said. “This decision will deprive the national exchequer of revenues worth Rs13 billion per annum.” read more.

* No FDI needed in textile sector, says Dr Husain:

Pakistan does not need foreign investment in textiles since the country enjoys revealed comparative advantage and local investors respond positively to the enabling environment, said Dr Ishrat Husain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on Saturday.

Revealed comparative advantage is a measure of competitiveness and is estimated as a ratio of the share of a given product in a country’s exports its share in world exports. This ratio takes a value greater than one, the country has an RCA in that product. If it is less than one, the country has a comparative disadvantage.

Dr Husain said that over $5 billion were invested in balancing and modernisation of the textile industry between 2002 and 2007, adding that during that period the macroeconomic indicators were strong. The rupee was stable against the dollar and inflation and bank markups were low, he added. read more.

* Rains damage standing cotton crop: major losses likely in Sindh:

Ongoing heavy rains have badly hit the standing cotton crop across the country and may also hurt the cotton production target of 15 million bales. Market sources told Business Recorder that the current rain spell hit almost the entire cotton belt in Punjab and Sindh, but major losses are expected in Sindh’s interior, where cotton crop was ready for harvest.

They said that heavy rains had hit almost all cotton crop areas, including Mirpurkas, Sanghar, Hyderabad, Badin, Thatta, Kot Ghulam Muhamad, Diplo, Tando Alahyar and Golarchi. In Punjab, cotton fields in Multan, Raheem Yar Khan, Bhalwalnagar, Bahawalpur, Vehari, Rajanpur and other cotton growing areas were affected.
read more.

05:02:10 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* “Shoot Me”: We are not cotton slaves, cotton slaves are not us?:

Millions of people in Uzbekistan – public-sector workers, students and pupils – have been sent to pick cotton as the cotton-harvesting campaign begins.

Poet Rifat Gumerov, filmmaker Oleg Karpov and linguist Aleksey Ulko took part in the latest issue of a debate programme by the Shoot Me open society.
“The difference of these cotton-harvesting campaigns from the Soviet ones is that you [pickers] are not fed but you have to bring your own foodstuffs and if you run short of them you have to buy it from the local population. You also get to and return from cotton fields at your expense,” Gumerov said.

“What is the meaning of the cotton-harvesting campaign,” asked Ulko.
“The meaning is, like in that joke: ‘Announcement: “Everyone will be hanged tomorrow.” One steps forward and asks: “Do we need to take a rope with us?”
In our situation, one needs to take a rope for oneself and for a neighbour in case he forgets it,” Karpov replied.

“Slave labour is never efficient because if a person has no material interest and is not involved in his activity, his efficiency will be very low, Gumerov believes.
read more.

* Cotton harvesting leaves Uzbek banks without cash:

With the beginning of the cotton harvesting campaign banks in Uzbekistan has been forced to send all their cash to pay cotton pickers.

Depositors of a number of commercial banks in Uzbekistan cannot withdraw their own money while public and private workers are not being paid their salaries. There is cash only to pay out pensions and social payments.
Banks are promising to issue cash to fixed-term deposit holders whose turn has come to withdraw deposits and interests in October at best.
Until then, depositors’ money will be sent to on-demand accounts.

So far, they are giving only one answer to any withdrawal request: “all cash is sent for cotton”.
At the same time, bank staff members are referring to the Uzbek Central Bank’s unofficial order to send cash resources to regional bank branches to pay to cotton pickers.
“We have been offered to choose between receiving payment on our plastic cards and waiting for the end of cotton harvesting when the bank will have cash,” says an employee of a firm that is served by the In-Fin Bank. read more.

map of Asia

* Thailand Ministry of Labor to enhance Partnership Industrial Relations

* Rare win for Ocean Garment strikers
* Workers from Taiwanese-controled factory march for bonuses
* Workers can take up to three days off to register to vote
* Cambodia To Host the 5th ASEAN Forum on Labor Migration

* Anger as govt backsliding on health meets strong rejection
* Indonesia debates minimum wages as it climbs the skills ladder
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update

* Myanmar garment workers protest in Yangon

* Unrest Threatens Bangladesh’s Key Garment Export
* Workers, retailers worried over Bangladeshi garment sector
* Some suggestions to resolve crisis in garment sector
* Hallmark workers block Savar highway
* Garment makers urge Muhith to ease bill purchase conditions
* Workers’ welfare
* China to relocate labour intensive industries to B’desh
* Ticfa: High duty on B’desh products in US market could be reconsidered
* Farmers frustrated over low jute price in Kurigram
* BKMEA polls on Sept 15

* Getting ready for the new law against child labour
* Interest subsidy delay throws a spanner in works of Sarvodaya Sangh
* Silk City weavers starving
* Stitches from the past coming loose
* Four more farmers end life
* Cotton crop fall may hit textile firms
* Textile sector investments: It’s Gujarat versus Maharasthra
* Second quarter to be tougher for spinning industry
* Planet Retail may sell apparel brand rights to Arvind
* Levi’s scales down after India retail rush
* Reebok scam: Staff exodus affects probe; process of tracing records slowed
* Reebok India asks franchisees to move to cash-and-carry model

* Brandix pledges carbon reduction

* Labour Conferance at Fasalabad
* ”Value-added textile sector facing financial crunch”
* GIDC reduced for entire industry- APTMA
* Textile tycoons get Rs13 bn relief
* No FDI needed in textile sector, says Dr Husain
* Rains damage standing cotton crop: major losses likely in Sindh

* “Shoot Me”: We are not cotton slaves, cotton slaves are not us?
* Cotton harvesting leaves Uzbek banks without cash

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