in the news on-line, 3 October 2012

 05:40:29 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Philippines may get more EU trade perks:

The Philippines may qualify for additional trade preferences or tariff reductions through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus or GSP+ of the European Union, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Monday.

“Our trade office in Brussels met with industry groups and multinational companies in Europe who welcomed the news that the Philippines may qualify for the GSP+. We are determined to take advantage of this opportunity and have instructed our trade office to work closely and coordinate with the GSP desk of the EU Commission Directorate General for Trade to expedite our application,” Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said in a statement. EU is the European Union.

GSP+ grants additional preferences or tariff reductions applied under the EU GSP General Arrangement. DTI said that the Philippines, along with Pakistan and Ukraine, share the possibility to be eligible for GSP+. read more.

04:40:29 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam probes slave labor in Russia :

The Ministry of Public Security is investigating a case in which more than 100 Vietnamese workers are believed to have been forced into “slavery” at a garment factory in Russia.

The ministry’s Crime Police Division said the workers were recruited by Vinastar, a medium-sized business in the village of Savino, southeast of Moscow, to work for two companies – Vinastar and Garizon Open.

All the workers have returned to Vietnam. Many of them lodged complaints with the ministry’s Crime Police Division immediately after they arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
They told police that they had been lured to work in Russia by labor brokers who told them they would receive wages of US$500-700 per month.

After arriving in Russia, they had their passports taken from them. They were kept in a closed factory and forced to work 12-18 hours per day without being given the promised pay. The working conditions were poor and unhygienic, and they were not given sufficient food.
Nguyen Duy Than Nhan, a 32-year-old worker from Ho Chi Minh City, told news website Dan Tri that she had paid an intermediary $600 and was promised a monthly salary of $700 with a two-year garment contract. read more.

04:40:29 local time map of laos LAOS

* Carol Cassidy: Crafting a social enterprise:

Brilliant, beautiful, deep — the craft of Carol Cassidy is layered with artistry, colour and experience.

On exhibition now at the Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (www.shaliniganendra.com ), these gorgeous textiles both embody the beauty, quality and craftsmanship of Lao weaving traditions almost lost to the ages and reflect the inspiring journey of revival and empowerment pioneered by Cassidy’s Lao Textiles over the past 23 years.

Moving to Laos in 1989 and setting up the revolutionary Lao Textiles a year later, Carol Cassidy has helped scores of Lao women reclaim their ancestral silk weaving traditions and, through hard-earned skill and innovation, bring these traditions into the modern market. read more.

04:40:29 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Fancy words can’t hide ugly reality of child labour:

PM Yingluck’s speech to UN emphasised maximising human potential, but under her watch the worst forms of child labour have flourished in Thailand

The US Labour Department late last week released three new reports on child labour as mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000.
The aim of this landmark Act is to gauge the situation, and document efforts by US trading partners and beneficiaries to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. Of the three recently released reports, perhaps the most shocking for Thais is the annual “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour”.

The report delivers country-specific suggestions for actions that would help combat the problems. But, judging from the content of this latest report, Thailand has not lived up to its commitments.
The report claims that Thailand is using forced labour in the fishing sector. Moreover, Thailand is also listed as continuing to use child and forced labour in both the garment and the shrimp industries, as well as child labour in sugarcane production and pornography. read more.

04:40:29 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Workers’ ‘resignations’ disputed:

Workers at shuttered plush-toy company First & Main claimed yesterday their bosses had forced them to thumbprint resignation letters they had not written, a plan they feared could deny them severance pay.

Mech Mom, a representative of the 357 workers at the US-owned factory, in the capital’s Sen Sok district, said about 30 had refused the final installment of their outstanding wages because of the demand.

“The company representative forced the workers to thumbprint resignation letters and took back their factory ID cards in exchange for the money,” she said, adding that only about 20 workers had written resignation letters. read more.

* IMF revises GDP projection for Cambodia upward to 7%:


Garment workers pictured during their working hours in Tai Yang factory, in Kandal province, last month, Sept. 2012. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The International Monetary Fund has revised Cambodia’s economic growth projection to between 6.5 and 7 per cent, up from 6.2 per cent in April, saying the country could manage a sound macro-economy because of the growth in four main sectors: manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and construction.

According to Ek Tha, spokesman for the Office of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An met with a group of IMF’s mission staff led by Olaf Unteroberdoerster, deputy director for IMF’s Asia and Pacific department in Phnom Penh yesterday to discuss the country’s economic performance and share some economic indicators for the sustainable growth of Cambodia.
(….)
“All four engines of the Cambodian economy show good performance,” he said. “Exports are still strong. Even the exports of garments to the EU are still increasing. The exports from new industries such as automobile parts, whose production just started this year, will contribute the growth of the total export,” said Suzuki. read more.

05:40:29 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Concerns on minimum wages:

We refer to the letter “Minimum wage saga continues(The Star, Sept 27) by Peter Raiappan and “Addressing issue of minimum wage” (The Star, Sept 30) by Shamsuddin Bardan.

The secretariat of the National Wages Consultative Council fully appreciates both writers’ opinions and concerns on the implementation aspect of the Minimum Wages Order and the issues arising.
The secretariat would like to assure the writers that their views are indeed pertinent and there will be sufficient deliberation.
The Minimum Wages Order 2012 which was gazetted on July 16 has to be read together with the National Wages Consultative Council Act 2011 (Act 732).
read more.

05:40:29 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Greater Jakarta: Workers to go on strike on Wednesday:

At least 100,000 workers grouped under the Tangerang Labor Action Committee are planning to strike on Wednesday to demand the government eliminate outsourcing, contract-based employment and cheap wage politics currently applied by industrial firms.

“The current system has caused workers the loss of certainty and rights over finding a decent job,” Poniman, the chairman of Tangerang Raya Workers Union told The Jakarta Post on Monday, adding that the workers would gather at 27 industrial zones in Tangerang including Cikokol, Jl. Daan Mogot, Karawaci, Poris Plawad and Serpong.read more.

* Workers plan strike in protest against salary and outsourcing:

Around 2.8 million workers in 24 cities and on 80 industrial estates nationwide will go on strike in protest against outsourcing practices, a cheap labor policy and the planned gradual implementation of the national health care for all program.

Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) Said Iqbal, said Wednesday’s rally would be the first in a series of protests and it would only be a warm-up to remind relevant parties and the public of their
seriousness.
He said most workers on industrial estates would not go to work so that their employers would see a massive loss in production.

“We are serious about holding strikes until the government listens to our demands. We are waiting for immediate solutions to the chronic issues,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. read more.

* Labor Groups to Hold Mass Protest in Greater Jakarta:

The Indonesian Council of Workers (MPBI) on Tuesday said it is planning to stage massive protests against the practice of outsourcing on Wednesday, potentially leading to major traffic congestion in the capital and its satellite cities.

“MPBI apologizes to the people of Indonesia if they feel their comfort is disturbed or they get trapped in congestion,” said Said Iqbal, the president of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI). read more.

* Strikes start with sweeps:

Hundreds of workers carrying Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) flags, swept factories around the industrial area in Pulo Gadung, East Jakarta, demanding those working halt their activities and join the nationwide strikes.

“We started sweeping at 7 a.m.,” said Arif, one of the protesters, while his group swept the factory of cosmetics company PT. Martina Berto.
“After we finish the sweep, we will stage a protest at Bunderan Rawa,” he said referring to a traffic circle in the area.

Pulo Gadung protesters, the man said, would stay around the area and would not join protests at the presidential palace and the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
The sweep resulted in hundreds of women in blue overalls rushing to the gates of the factory, some applauding, others crying.

“We’ve been told that there is a protest today, but most us are afraid to take part, fearing the company will fire us,” Nila, who has been working at the company for two years, said through her tears. read more.

* Govt claims more value-added products in exports:

Despite a continuing slip in monthly exports, Indonesia’s export structure has improved as shown by a rise in shipments of more value-added products, a trade official says.

Exports from January to July had indicated a bigger proportion of finished products, which implied a shift from upstream products to downstream products, Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Shares of garments to exports of textile and textile products rose to 60.95 percent in the January–July period from 59.65 percent a year earlier, while shares of yarn and fibers declined to 35.95 percent during the month from 37.78 percent in the past year, he said.read more.

03:40:29 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* RMG workers block Rupganj highway:

Workers of a readymade garments factory put blockade on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Aukhab area under Rupganj upazila in the district Sunday morning demanding due salaries and allowances.

Local sources said the workers of Harvest Rrich garments factory barricaded the highway and started staging demonstration at about 11am.
Meanwhile, they engaged in chase and counter chase with police and continue till filing the report.
Agitated workers said, “We are staging the protest programme as the garment owner failed to pay our due salaries and other allowances by promised time.”
read more.

* Bangladesh to propose for common D-8 textile mk:

Bangladesh will propose the formation of a common textile market for the D-8 (developing-8) countries to sell their own products to tap the benefit of the forum, sources said.

The member countries of D-8, with a combined population of nearly one billion offer a market worth US$20 billion for finished textile and garments.
Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers said the market, if formed, will help expand business manifold.

“The D-8 members have a large market for textile and garments. Formation of a common textile market will create scope for multiplying our business,” BGMEA chief Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told the FE Monday.
He said there are some tariff and non-tariff barriers among the member countries which are hindering the intra-D-8 business. “If a common textile market is formed, the barriers will be removed in phases through discussions.” read more.

03:10:29 local time map of india INDIA

* Battling crisis, weavers opt for five-day week:

As the powerloom sector in the country’s biggest man-made fabric industry is passing from a tough phase, the weaving community has unanimously decided to keep the units closed for two days in a week.

Leaders of the Federation of Gujarat Weavers’ Association (FOGWA) said the weaving sector in the city is on the verge of collapse due to 20 per cent increase in the prices of yarn – main raw material – dwindling demand of polyester fabrics and the financial crisis in the market.

“There is no other option left with the weavers, but to keep the units closed for two days in a week. This is being done to arrest the issue of overproduction,” said Ashok Jirawala, president, FOGWA.

The weaving sector has an installed capacity of 6.5 lakh powerloom machines which weave roughly three crore meters of polyester fabric on daily basis. The grey fabrics are then supplied to the textile traders and that it goes to the processing units for the final process. read more.

* South India spinners urge Centre to maintain minimum cotton stock:

The South India Spinners Association (SISPA), Coimbatore, has urged the Centre to retain a minimum quantity of cotton in the country before allowing exports to ensure price stability.

It also wants the Centre to restore the concession under the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) Scheme during the 10 month period it remained suspended in 2010-11.
The association, in its resolution adopted at its recent AGM, pointed out that the Centre permitted export of cotton even before the harvested cotton crop reached the market leading to fluctuation in prices. This caused huge losses to most of the mills last year and a similar situation has emerged during the current year also.
read more.

* Dollar Industries sets sights on Africa:

In 1973, Din Dayal Gupta set up Bhavani Textiles in West Bengal to cater to the growing hosiery needs of the State.

Almost two and a half decades later, Bhavani Textiles merged to form Dollar Industries Ltd. Din Dayal was the chairman and his son Vinod became its managing director.
After 16 years, Kolkata-headquartered Dollar Industries has emerged as the third largest inner-wear brand in the country’s Rs 2,500-crore hosiery segment with a 15 per cent market share. Listed on two stock exchanges in Calcutta and Jaipur, the company is weaving big dreams for a national expansion in another two to three years.

In 2011-12, it reported a 14.25 per cent growth in turnover to Rs 456.12 crore over Rs 399.23 crore in 2010-11.
“The growth has been primarily because of new diversifications and also because of the steering abilities of its leaders,” Managing Director Vinod Kumar Gupta said.

According to him, the company has, over the years, increased production capacity, which has helped it grow. Its manufacturing facilities are spread across Tirupur, Ludhiana, Delhi and Kolkata.
The company started with men’s inner wear. Subsequently, it increased its portfolio to women’s inner wear, socks and children-wear. Later, it introduced premium men’s inner wear under the Big Boss ‘Club’ range. With success in the inner-wear segment, the company is now testing waters with men’s apparel. It has recently launched the Force Go Wear brand of denims. read more.

* Rs. 2.2 crore worth khadi products to be sold in Tirupur:

The Tamil Nadu Khadi and Village Industries Board (TN-KVIB) targets to sell Rs. 2.2 crore worth of khadi products through its five ‘khadi craft’ outlets and 23 temporary khadi sales depot in Tirupur district as part of the special Deepavali discount sale, which commenced here on Tuesday.

G. Balakumaran, assistant director of TN-KVIB, told The Hindu that customers could avail themselves of a price discount of 30 per cent on all khadi-cotton and khadi- polyester products and 20 per cent discount on khadi-wool and khadi-silk products.

The khadi kraft outlets and the sales depots would offer a wide range of products from readymade garments, bed spreads, towels and village industries products like toilet soaps, honey, and washing soaps. “This year, the main attraction is the introduction of wide range of apparels both for men and women in new styles. The clothes are weaved by traditional artisans and its designs been developed by Saranya Fashion, a women’s group formed under Mahalir Thittam scheme of the government,” Mr. Balakumaran said. read more.

02:40:29 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile exports get no boost in Saudi Arabia, Bosnia despite low tariff:

The country’s textile export failed to get a boost in terms of market share in Saudi Arabia and Bosnia despite low tariff/duties offered by these countries for Pakistani textile products, informed sources revealed to Business Recorder.

According to the sources, Saudi Arabia offers five percent while Bosnia offers 15 percent tariff for Pakistani textile products, however some serious measures from government side are awaited to take advantage and maximise market share in these countries, sources added.

Saudi Arabia’s total textile imports stand at 3.6 billion dollars per annum whereas Pakistan’s share in it is 51.7 million dollars per annum. Major textile import items to Saudi Arabia include babies’ garments whereas Pakistan has very small capability in this regard. read more.

* TCP to procure one million cotton bales, assures Elahi:

Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) will be given immediate instructions to start procurement of one million bales of cotton from farmers, said Deputy Prime Minister and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. He said this while talking to a delegation of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, which headed by Abdul Rehman Kanju, called on him at the State Guest House here on Tuesaday.

Regarding agricultural tariff for electricity and other issues of farmers, Elahi assured the delegation that he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for its resolution. “We are still standing shoulder to shoulder with the farmers and would go to every extent for the resolution of their problems,” he said, adding: “We have always supported the farmers and he would discuss their problems with PM Pervez Ashraf for their resolution.” read more.

* Industrial safety: 63 high fire risk factories in residential areas identified:

 Local government officials have found at least 63 factories in residential areas in the city that pose an extremely high fire risk, The Express Tribune has learnt.

In an ongoing survey, the District Office of Enterprise and Investment Promotion has found over 10,000 factories in Lahore, around 7,500 of which are located illegally in residential areas.
The Industries Department ordered a survey of all factories in the city after the collapse of the Orient Labs factory in Kharak in March, killing 26 workers. Last month, 23 died in a fire at a shoe factory on Bund Road.

The district office has completed its survey in eight of the nine towns of Lahore, excluding Ravi Town. The surveyors created a safety index upon which each factory was judged. For example, an industrial unit was given 10 points if it was located in a highly congested area that was inaccessible to fire fighting vehicles.
Other factors that made factories vulnerable was a lack of fire safety equipment, the presence of boilers or other high-pressure vessels, or the presence of highly flammable chemicals. Factories that ended up with more than 50 points were termed highly dangerous.

District Officer for Enterprise and Investment Promotion Muhammad Azhar Hussain said that 63 factories had been found to be very vulnerable to fire.

He said that the survey was started after the Kharak incident to check all the industrial units in Lahore. He said that the surveyors were also checking industrial units which claimed to be cottage industries, as well as factories in industrial zones such as Quaid-i-Azam Industrial Estate, Sundar Industrial Estate and a section of Ferozepur Road. They had inspected steel re-rolling mills near Mehmood Booti, pharmaceutical factories on Multan Road, and textiles and chemical units. He said that there were around 2,000 factories located in industrial zones. read more.

* No action: District govt turns blind eye to factories in residential areas:

The district government is perhaps waiting for a repeat of the twin industrial fire accidents in Lahore and Karachi to justify action against illegal factories operating in the residential areas of Rawalpindi.         

Business activities cannot be carried out in residential areas and the Town Municipal Administration (TMA) officers are bound to ensure a conducive environment for residents under the Punjab Local Government Ordinance. But a survey of the garrison city, reveals that the ground reality is quite different.

Around 130 illegal factories are functioning in various residential areas of the city, out of which 40 are located in Khyaban-e-Sir Syed, Bagh Sardaran and Khyaban-e-Iqbal areas. read more.

  THE KARACHI  FIRE:

* With only 4 days to go, Adil’s wedding plans cut short:

 On the evening of September 11, Mohammad Adil was very excited. At his workplace, he waited anxiously for his salary to be handed out so that he could rush off to Saddar. At a men’s boutique there, an off-white embroidered sherwani waited for him. In four days, Adil was to wear the sherwani on his wedding day.

But the 22-year-old, who wanted everything to be just right at the reception, never got to see his new clothes or get his salary. For that evening while he stood waiting at Ali Enterprises, a fire broke out at the ill-fated garment factory, burning him and his younger brother Asif alive. They were among the 259 people who lost their lives in the Baldia factory blaze.

Only a week ago, Adil’s humble house in Orangi Town No 7 echoed with wedding songs. It is now home to grief-stricken people. Shell-shocked, his mother sits in a corner staring into space. Though a week has passed since her two sons perished in the fire, she refuses to budge from that end.

Adil’s room which was decorated with buntings and streamers for his big day remains as it is. “We haven’t removed anything from here,” said Adil’s elder brother Raheel crying. “We can’t believe he is gone.”

Two months ago, Adil had married a colleague from the factory in court against the family’s wishes. But after much pleading, the family gave in to his wishes and decided to hold a joint valima reception for Adil and his older brother on September 15. Like Adil and Asif, Raheel also worked at the factory but was on leave for his wedding. The three brothers worked as machine operators on the third floor of the factory, where the highest number of deaths were reported. read more.

map of Asia

Under “special reports” you can find: an overview of articles about the Garment factory Fire in Karachi (and Lahore).

PHILIPPINES
* Philippines may get more EU trade perks

VIET NAM
* Vietnam probes slave labor in Russia

LAOS
* Carol Cassidy: Crafting a social enterprise

THAILAND
* Fancy words can’t hide ugly reality of child labour

CAMBODIA
* Workers’ ‘resignations’ disputed
* IMF revises GDP projection for Cambodia upward to 7%

MALAYSIA
* Concerns on minimum wages

INDONESIA
* Greater Jakarta: Workers to go on strike on Wednesday
* Workers plan strike in protest against salary and outsourcing
* Labor Groups to Hold Mass Protest in Greater Jakarta​
* Strikes start with sweeps
* Govt claims more value-added products in exports

BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers block Rupganj highway
* Bangladesh to propose for common D-8 textile mk

INDIA
* Battling crisis, weavers opt for five-day week
* South India spinners urge Centre to maintain minimum cotton stock
* Dollar Industries sets sights on Africa
* Rs. 2.2 crore worth khadi products to be sold in Tirupur

PAKISTAN
* Textile exports get no boost in Saudi Arabia, Bosnia despite low tariff
* TCP to procure one million cotton bales, assures Elahi
* Industrial safety: 63 high fire risk factories in residential areas identified
* No action: District govt turns blind eye to factories in residential areas
* THE KARACHI FIRE:
* With only 4 days to go, Adil’s wedding plans cut short

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Convention on the Rights of the Child
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I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
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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
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