06:13:10 local time CHINA
* Textile industry struggling:
China’s textile and garment industry is struggling with high inventories this year due to lower-than-expected demand and rising production costs, industry experts said Monday.
The total inventory of 51 mainland-listed textile and garment companies amounted to 29.6 billion yuan ($4.73 billion) by the end of June, a 2.1 percent year-on-year increase, data compiled by weekly newspaper Moneyweek showed Monday.
“Manufacturers’ overestimation of external and domestic demand has resulted in high inventories,” Wang Qianjin, an analyst at webtex.com, a Shanghai-based textile industry information website, told the Global Times Monday.
“A Chinese-made winter coat in department stores usually costs more than 2,000 yuan nowadays, while a similar coat made in Vietnam or Cambodia is 30-50 percent cheaper at foreign fashion chains such as H&M and Zara,” said Wang Rui, a 29-year-old consumer in Beijing.
“Production costs in China are about 15-30 percent higher than those in other Southeast Asian countries,” Sun Liwu, an analyst at consultancy Sublime China Information, told the Global Times Monday.
“Although the cotton price has dropped by 5 percent this year from a year earlier, labor costs rose by 15-20 percent year-on-year, and other operational and financing costs are all rising in China,” Sun said. read more.
* Esprit set to revive brand via rights offer:
Esprit Holdings Ltd plans to raise as much as HK$5.2 billion (US$671 million) in a rights offer to fund efforts to revive its brand after reporting a first-quarter sales decline.
The apparel company will offer existing investors the right to buy one new share at HK$8 each for every two held, Esprit said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Sales dropped 23 percent to HK$6.6 billion in the first quarter, it said in a separate statement. read more.
06:13:10 local time PHILIPPINES
* Solon hits DoLE for new wage system:
A lawmaker from the militant Anakpawis yesterday lambasted the Department of Labor and Employment for coming out with a directive to implement a two-tiered wage system in a bid to carry out the 22-point labor agenda of the Philippine Development Plan 2010-2016 of the Aquino administration.
According to Rep. Rafael Mariano the two-tiered system would adversely affect the workers who are going to get less pay under the new system.
The DoLE order, according to Mariano, was allegedly being implemented to protect millions of workers who are not being paid the minimum wage and to protect the businessmen who cannot afford to pay the minimum wage.
During the same privilege speech, Mariano also disclosed that a study conducted by the International Labor Organization among 72 countries showed that Filipino workers are among the lowest paid in the world next to Tajikistan and Pakistan.
05:13:10 local time VIET NAM
* Textile firms in need of long-term loans:
Unlike the business slowdown seen in some sectors, several textile firms have a demand for loans to expand their business.
At a conference on the textile and garment sector held by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Vietnam in HCMC last week, Dau Tri Dung at Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) said that prior to the conference, BIDV conducted a survey of 15 textile enterprises.
According to the survey, 60% of enterprises who have revenues of over US$10 million said that they needed to take out medium- and long-term loans.
Dang Phuong Dung, vice chairwoman and general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said textile-garment export was in difficulty due to a consumption decline in many markets. read more.
* Garment exporters bank on Japan:
Garment and footwear exporters are hoping that Japanese import orders will increase between now and the end of the year, according to the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
The expectation followed recent falls in the demand of several major markets in the world including the US, the European Union and Japan for similar products in China, the company said.
The Gia Dinh Textile and Garment Corp (Giditex) had recently opened a new production facility with the cooperation of Japan’s Tamurakoma Co for making Onward brand products for export to Japan. read more.
* Wage war :
Laborers work at a factory of Viet Huy Garment Company in Thuong Tin District, 20 km (12.5 miles) south of Hanoi. Lawmakers led by the National Assembly chairman have opposed a plan not to raise minimum wages next year. Photo: Bloomberg
Vietnamese legislators are split on a government plan not to raise minimum wages next year, with one side worrying about depleted state coffers and the other aiming to spur consumption.
A group of lawmakers led by the National Assembly chairman opposed the plan at a meeting Tuesday, arguing that raising the minimum wage would be necessary to boost the economy.
They argued that the minimum wage, currently at VND1.050 million (US$49) per month, should be increased to stimulate consumption and clear stockpiles.
Nguyen Sinh Hung, chairman of the assembly, said the government had drawn up plans to reactivate the economy and clear stockpiles, but the plan to keep wages low would work against economic rejuvenation strategies. read more.
05:13:10 local time THAILAND
* Free Somyot Updates:
Human Rights Council states its position:
The Human Rights Council of the UN spells out its position on Somyot’s case, stating clearly that he should be released immediately. This is a massively important statement from the UN that Somyot should be released now. to read.
OHCHR Visit Somyot:
On the 15th October the OHCHR Asia Regional representatives visit Somyot and discuss his case. The OHCHR will support his case over the coming months and we are hopeful that their support will strengthen Somyot’s chances of release in December. to read.
World Council fo Churches & National Council of Churches support us:
Sukanya, the wife of Somyot, spoke at a meeting this week organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches (NCC). Both organizations pledged to support the call for the release of Somyot and his legal case against unfair detention .to read.
* Fashion firm set to cash in on AEC:
Reno (Thailand) Co, the producer of fashion apparel under its seven brands including AIIZ, is keying in on the Asean market, hoping it will help double its sales after the opening of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
From 2013-15, the Asean market is expected to generate sales of between Bt3 billion and Bt4 billion for the company. Currently, the overseas market contributes 18 per cent to its total sales, which are projected to expand 25 per cent from Bt4 billion last year. read more.
05:13:10 local time CAMBODIA
* Angry Cambodian factory workers march to protest supervisor who tore up late king’s picture:
Factory managers expressed regret and dismissed a Chinese supervisor on Monday after angry Cambodian garment factory workers demanded that she be punished for tearing up a poster of their late former king.
More than 1,000 workers marched to the Royal Palace after the head of the sewing section of two related factories ripped in half a portrait of former King Norodom Sihanouk she had seized from a worker before the morning shift began. She accused the employees of shirking work. read more.
* Sentencing swift in Sihanouk pictures ripping case:
Less than 36 hours after Wang Zia Chao provoked a strike by destroying two photos of the late King Father in front of hundreds of Cambodian garment workers, the Chinese factory manager was booked, charged and convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which last night sentenced her to a year in prison on charges of intentionally causing damage.
The sentence was immediately suspended and she will be deported to China, said Judge Seng Neang, adding that she will also be fined 2.5 million riel ($625) and “charged with damage to the late King Father in accordance with articles 410 and 107 of the penal code”.
In court, yesterday, Zia Chao begged forgiveness, saying she had not realised the photos she pulled out of a worker’s hands on Monday and destroyed were of Norodom Sihanouk, who died of a heart attack on October 15. read more.
* Ancient Silk Industry Hangs by a Fine Thread:
There is a buzz that emanates from inside a room at the General Directorate of Agriculture in Phnom Penh. It’s the sound of dozens of beige, furry silkworm moths, flapping their wings in rapid bursts as they do when face-to-face with a mate.
Individually inspected and paired, the prospective couples, buzzing continuously, have been placed on several sheets of newspapers to get on with the job of moth reproduction.
In four to six days, the female moths will be placed on a chemically treated egg sheet and isolated for oviposition before eventual eggs are sterilized and incubated.
06:13:10 local time INDONESIA
* North Sumatra labor unions reject minimum wage hike:
Labor unions in North Sumatra have opposed the provincial administration’s decision to raise the 2013 provincial minimum wage by only Rp 105,000 (US$10.92), or from Rp 1.2 million to Rp 1,305,000 per month.
The workers, affiliated with various labor unions, threatened to hold a mass rally to protest the amount, saying it was far from their expectations of at least Rp 2 million.
North Sumatra Labor Council president Pahala Napitupulu said that raising the minimum wage to only Rp 1,305,000 for 2013 was inhumane because it would not cover workers’ daily living needs. read more.
04:43:10 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Salaries of skilled workers in Myanmar to rise up to 50%:
The business community in Myanmar is planning to increase the salary of skilled employees by 20 to 50 per cent in the next six months.
With the rapid rise of foreign investments, economic analysts said companies would like to stay competitive by offering their staff better labour packages.
In Myanmar, the pay gap between business executives and lower employees is huge. The minimum monthly salary of a regular employee is about 30,000 kyats (US$35) while an executive enjoys around 300,000 kyats ($350) a month, according to labour market sources. read more.
04:13:10 local time BANGLA DESH
* Hall-Mark workers clash with cops, 200 hurt:
Over 200 people were injured, most of them with rubber bullets, as garment workers of Hall-Mark Group fought pitched battles with police on the capital’s outskirts Savar Tuesday morning.
The clashes are the sequel of demonstration that started in the early hours of morning when a large number of workers of different garment units of Hall-Mark Group gathered in front of their office at Hemayetpur demanding immediate payment of their arrears and eid bonus.
At first police drove the demonstrating workers from the office premises.
After facing police resistance, the workers put barricades at Jorpul point on the Dhaka-Aricha highway and damaged several vehicles, causing massive suffering for holidaymakers heading home for the puja and eid vacations.
The marauding workers attacked the law enforcers when they again tried to disperse the workers from the highway, prompting the sporadic clashes that were continuing till 11:30am.
The casualties were reported as the law enforcers fired rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrating workers and contain the unrest.
Different units of Hall-Mark Group, owned by Tanvir Mahmud, were shut down recently following labour unrest. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Garment workers clashed with law enforcers for eid bonus:
Several thousand demonstrating garment workers of Hall-Mark Group clashed with law enforcers in Savar yesterday, trapping homebound people in a three-hour traffic jam, inset, on Dhaka-Aricha Highway. The protesters were demanding arrears and eid bonus. Photo: STAR. to read
* Hallmark workers clash with police, block roads:
At least 200 people, including 10 police personnel, were injured on Tuesday as several hundred irate garment workers clashed with police and put up barricades on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway at Hemayetpur in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, demanding that they be immediately paid their arrears and festival bonus.
The garment workers belonged to the controversial Hall-Mark Group. All kinds of vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway were suspended and hundreds of vehicles stranded in queues for around two-and-a-half hours, causing untold suffering to people heading home ahead of Eid. The protesters vandalised several vehicles.
Local residents and witnesses said several hundred workers of 60 readymade garments (RMG) units of Hall-Mark Group located at Hemayetpur in Savar launched a work abstention programme and staged a demonstration demanding immediate payment of their arrears and festival bonus after they found a notice announcing closure of the factory. read more. & read more. & read more.
* 100 hurt as police clash with Hallmark workers:
At least 100 workers were injured and about 50 vehicles vandalised during a series of clashes between the police and workers of the scandal-hit Hallmark Group at Hemayetpur in Savar on Tuesday.
The workers, who were demanding salary and Eid bonus, also blocked the busy Dhaka-Aricha highway at Jhorpull point for about three hours.
The clashes began at Hallmark Group’s factories at Nandakhali in Hemayetpur in the morning as the workers demanded salary, overtime and festival allowances.
Traffic on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway remained suspended for three hours as the workers took to the streets at 9:00am.
The police lathi-charged them, and also fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control. read more.
* 120 garment workers retrenched:
One hundred and twenty workers of Jahin Tex Garments Factory at Hotapata in Sadar upazila were retrenched on Monday.
Gazipur Shilpa thana officer-in-charge Mohsin Hossain said the workers of factory, run by Givency Group, demanded a 10-day leave on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
The workers observed work abstention from October 18 as the authorities turned down the demand.
On Sunday, the authorities at a meeting with the workers decided to give an eight-day leave, which was rejected by the workers.
The authorities on Monday retrenched the workers clearing their due wages and bonus.
The workers said that they would go for a tough movement over the retrenchment after Eid. to read.
* Fire guts 20 warehouses in Gazipur:
At least 20 godowns of cotton and garment wastes were gutted in a fire at Mill Gate in Tongi thana on Tuesday night.
Fire service sources said the fire originated from an electrical short circuit at a warehouse at about 8:30pm and soon engulfed the adjacent godowns.
On information, firefighters from Tongi and Gazipur headquarters rushed in and doused the flame at about 10:30pm.
The affected owners claimed that the extent of loss from the fire could go up to up to Tk one crore. to read.
* Garment workers solidarity rally with UK workers in Dhaka:
The following message of support was sent to Unite – for fighting workers and people of England:
Expressing support to the today’s, October 20, All England day-long protest demonstration of workers, trade unions and general masses
Workers, trade unions and general masses of the UK are holding day-long protest demonstration today, October 20, all over the England to protest against austerity measures of the Government. Workers and general people of the UK are being seriously affecting austerity policy of the Government since it has drastically cut peoples’ welfare funds, education & health expenditure. The British Government also withdrawing subsidy and public responsibility from these sector. Thousands of workers are losing job from Government establishment and service sector as a result of lending these to private sector under so-called formula of reducing public responsibility. Today’s demonstrations is being held to protest against this policy.
A garment workers solidarity rally and procession held in Dhaka City today expressing solidarity with the demonstrations of British workers and general people. The programme was held in front of the National Press Club at 12:00 noon. Several hundred Garment workers, holding red and green Bangladeshi national flag, took at the rally and procession that concluded at Paltan Crossing after parading through Supreme Court, Foreign Ministry and Topkhana Road. read more.
03:43:10 local time INDIA
* Working in India’s Textile Mills and the Sumangali Scheme:
Chitradavi first started working in the mills when she was 17. (Photo: Michael May)Indian textile mills increasingly rely on young women and girls for labor.
Many of the young female workers sign contracts known as the Sumangali scheme.
The mills withhold part of their paychecks and then give them a lump sum for a dowry four years later.But if the workers leave before the four years are up, they lose all of the money. Michael May has the story. more (audio).
* Pokarna To Foray Into Readymade Garment:
Having gained experience in its long association with textile major Raymond for over two decades, Pokarna Ltd, a Hyderabad-based company engaged in granites and fabrics, has set its focus on the burgeoning readymade garments business in a big way.
The company is setting up a state-of-the-art unit with imported equipment from Germany, Italy and Japan to manufacture branded high-end garments with an estimated investment of over Rs 15 crore initially, said Mr Gautam Chand Jain, chairman, Pokarna Ltd. read more.
* Investment worth Rs3,834 crore received in textile sector:
Maharashtra government said today that investment worth Rs3,834 crore have been received in the textile sector, generating employment to 29,220 people in the cotton-growing belt of Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra.
State textile minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan told reporters that since the new policy was announced in March 2012, 411 proposals have been cleared and Rs3,834 crore have been invested.
The new textile policy called for giving 10% capital subsidy on capital investment to new textile units approved and set up in Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra, under the textile policy of 2011-2017. read more. & read more.
* GHCL mulls supplying home textiles to Bharti Walmart:
With the FDI in retail being opened up, home textiles and soda ash player Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Limited (GHCL) is mulling supplying made-ups to retailers like Bharti Walmart and IKEA. For this the company is also expanding its manufacturing facility at Vapi in Gujarat.
“We are already supplying our home textile products to Future Group apart from exporting to western countries. Yet, instead of going in for our own retail chain, we are mulling supply of our home textiles to big retailers that are set to come like Bharti Walmart and IKEA, among others. For this to happen, we have already begun expanding our manufacturing capacity at our Vapi plant. However, we are yet to initiate any talks with them,” said RS Jalan, managing director, GHCL. read more.
03:13:10 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA urges government to suspend gas supply to CNG stations for 90 days:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) retaliated in a tit-for-tat fashion against the Pakistan CNG Association’s criticism and demanded of the government to suspend the gas supply to CNG pumps for 90 days in winter. The Central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir came up with the demand on Tuesday morning flanked by the top APTMA leadership.
He said that gas curtailment to CNG pumps for 90 days in winter is a must to keep the Captive Power Plants (CPPs) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) operative for sustainable exports and employment in the country. He leapt forward with another extension to the demand, saying that the CNG price should be brought at par with the petrol prices in the country in case the government does not close supply to CNG pumps for 90 days. read more.
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Court extends deadline for final list of charges to Nov 2:
The deadline for the final list of charges or challan in the Baldia factory fire case was extended to November 2 by the second judicial Magistrate, West, Sohail Ahmed Mashori, on Tuesday.
The case pertains to a September 11 fire that broke out in the factory, killing at least 289 workers in what was called the country’s worst industrial incident.
The investigating officer, Jahanzaib Khan, requested the court for more time to submit the challan as he said the police was still waiting on reports from different organisations.
Khan told the court that the factory was not built according to the approved construction plan and that machinery was blocking the exit and entry points inside. According to the fire brigade’s report, the fire did not start due to inflammatory materials.
Another reason for the delay in the submission of the challan, according to the officer, was that the owners of Ali Enterprises had not provided the factory data.