in the news on-line, 2 November 2012

21:09:51 local time map of china CHINA

* Famous outerwear brands found coated with toxins:

Outdoor wear from many of the world’s leading brands is coated with environmentally damaging and hormone-disrupting toxins, the environmental group Greenpeace has warned.

The group tested 14 rain jackets and rain trousers for women and children from 13 top brands, including adidas and Vaude, and found that every sample contained perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a substance within the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) group, which is used to make clothing water-resistant but can reduce fertility and damage immune systems.

Products from Jack Wolfskin, The North Face, Patagonia, Kaikkialla and Marmot have the highest concentration of PFOA, Greenpeace said in a report published this week.
Of the 14 pieces of clothing, 11 were made in China and three were made in Indonesia, Vietnam and Ukraine.  read more.

* NCTO Praises U.S. Decision To Join WTO Consultations On China Textile Subsidy Case:

NCTO President Cass Johnson praised the decision by the United States government to join the consultations between Mexico and China regarding Chinese textile subsidies. 

“We are pleased that the U.S. is joining the consultations on this very important case.  For decades, large and comprehensive subsidies by the Chinese government have prevented free and fair markets from operating in world trade in textiles and apparel.
These subsidies have directly contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S. textile workers.   The landmark case by the government of Mexico exposes the Chinese government intervention for exactly what it is – a mercantilist state-guided effort to control one of the world’s largest manufacturing sectors.”

Over the last eleven years, imports of Chinese textile and apparel products have increased by 523 percent or $34 billion and now total nearly $41 billion.
Chinese market share increased from 10 to 40 percent.
During the same period of time, 379,000 U.S. textile jobs were lost as trade shifted out of the Western Hemisphere.
Textile and apparel producers in Mexico, Central America and the Andean regions lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs as well. read more.

21:09:51 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* P10 pay hike for minimum wage earners in NCR takes effect today, Nov. 1:

The second tranche of the cost of living allowance (COLA) amounting to P10 granted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) last May to daily minimum wage workers in Metro Manila shall take effect today, November 1, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Thursday.

“This raises the daily minimum wage in the NCR’s non-agricultural sector to P426 basic pay plus P30 COLA, or a total of P456. For other industries/sectors, the daily minimum wage will be P389 basic pay plus P30 COLA, or a P419 daily minimum wage rate,” said Baldoz, who is chairman of the National Wages and Productivity Board, the attached agency of the DOLE that supervises the country’s tripartite regional wage boards.

On May 21 this year, RTWPB-NCR mandated a minimum wage hike of P30 in cost of living allowance (COLA) through the issuance of Wage Order NCR-17. read more.

* P10 COLA, signal of ‘libing’ wage for workers – KMU:

“Instead of living, workers could only get libing (burial) wages under Aquino.”

This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno following today’s implementation of the P10 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for workers in the National Capital Region.
According to KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog, the P10 COLA marks the beginning of a five-year wage freeze under the newly-implemented Two-Tiered Wage System.

“The timing of the implementation of the P10 COLA for NCR workers is perfect. Through meager wage hikes and COLA’s, this government has been putting a gravestone on workers’ hopes for a living wage,” Labog said.
“Workers’ right to a living wage would be buried. There would be no more hikes for the next five years under the Aquino government’s new wage system,” he added.
read more.

20:09:51 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Guest workers vulnerable to exploitation:

When he decided to leave home to work abroad early this year, Nguyen Van Thi never thought he would be back so soon. But only four months after moving to Russia, the 26-year-old returned to northern Ha Nam Province.

“We guest workers usually tell ourselves that we will not come back until we can bring home at least VND5 billion (US$240,000) for starting a business,” he says.

Now, as a returnee, he is unemployed, haunted by the harsh working and living conditions he experienced abroad. He also owes more than VND20 million (US$1,000) to the intermediary who promised to help him get a job at a Russian footwear factory, a simple manual job requiring no foreign language skills that seemed attractive because he would be living and working with only Vietnamese, Thi says.

However, when he got to Russia, he was given a position as a porter in a Chinese company, he says, adding that sometimes he had to work for as many as 17 hours in one day. read more.

20:09:51 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* FTI: SMEs won’t survive wage hike:

A large number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will probably be forced to shut down by the introduction of a nationwide 300 baht daily minimum wage, Jane Namchaisiri, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said on Friday.

He said many SMEs had complained to the FTI that they were not ready for the government’s planned  increase of wages in the remaining 70 provinces on Jan 1, 2013.
Small manufacturers who were now paying the daily minimum wage of 160 baht would be severely affected as their labour costs would increase substantially, by 80%, said Mr Jane. read more.

19:09:51 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* CCC floats fire-safety campaign for RMG workers:

The Netherlands-based Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has launched a programme to save Bangladeshi apparel workers from factory fire.

The organisation said since 2006 at least 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires while they were making products for top global fashion companies, like Gap and H&M.

The CCC said such deaths can be prevented in future, if the companies like Gap follow the examples of companies like Tommy Hilfiger by agreeing to a fire safety programme.

The programme includes independent inspections, mandatory repair and renovation of safety hazards, a central role for workers and unions, transparency and binding commitments to protect workers. read more.

* Reopen Hall-Mark units: RMG workers:

Garments Shramik Sangram Parishad, a platform of the garment workers, on Thursday demanded reopening of all factories of Hall-Mark group under the government’s supervision to ensure the workers’ job security.

Labour leaders also demanded payment of all due wages and allowances of 17,000 workers, as the controversial business group shut down its factories in Savar on October 30 violating the current labour law.
The parishad organised a press conference at its office in the city to press home its demand.Advocate Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, coordinator of the platform, read out the written speech at the press conference.
They demanded trial and punishment of all accused including the owner of Hall-Mark group for swindling money out of Sonali Bank.
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more.

* All cases in Hallmark scam by Dec: ACC chair:

The Anti-Corruption Commission will sue 31 people of four more companies in the middle of this month for swindling Tk 860.86 crore from Hotel Ruposhi Bangla branch of Sonali Bank, an official said on Thursday.
The commission will file cases against 20 Sonali Bank officials and 11 executives of four companies—T& Brothers Limited, the Paragon Group, the Nakshi Knit Composite Limited and the DN Sports Limited.
The commission may not file case against Khanjahan Ali Sweaters Limited since its inquiry did not find any irregularity against it. read more.

* Tannery workers protest against move to allow export of raw hide:

Tannery Workers Union, the labour rights body of the tannery industry, on Thursday called on the Awami League-led government to refrain from its move to allow export of raw hide from the country.
The president of the union, Abul Kalam Azad and general secretary Abdul Malek in a press statement expressed concern over the proposed move of the government to allow export of raw hide.
Referring to commerce minister GM Quader’s remark in the media that government was going to take initiative to export raw hide from Bangladesh, the labour leaders said that it would go against the interests of the country. read more.

* ‘Export of raw leather may ruin industry’:

The leather traders, manufacturers and exporters are strongly opposing the government’s move to export raw hides arguing that such decision may cause ‘total ruination’ to the leather industry.

Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) and Bangladesh Hides and Skin Merchant Association (BHSMA) held emergency meetings on Thursday following the government’s indication of allowing raw hides export from Bangladesh.
Commerce minister G M Quader on Wednesday had told the reporters that the government was examining the possibilities of exporting raw hides from the country as the prices of raw leather dropped to lower bottom during the Eid-ul Azha when around half of the country’s total production is harvested. read more.

* RMG exports defy global slowdown:

The export of ready-made garments (RMG) from Bangladesh was unhindered despite the ongoing global slowdown while the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) was slower but still better than that of any other regional countries, traders and officials said on Wednesday.

Had there been no slowdown, Bangladesh could have expected a faster growth in its total exports and thus could meet the target of $28 billion in the current fiscal year to June 2013, the traders said. read more.

* Raw cotton import rises significantly:

Country’s raw cotton import surged significantly over the last couple of months, according to port statistics.

Local textile millers said the demand for raw cotton has increased as the country’s export of clothing is picking up gradually.
On a monthly basis, the import of raw cotton is growing on an average by 1,000 containers, according to private container depots that handle raw cotton in 17 depots in Chittagong.
Raw cotton is one of the items that are largely imported by the local textile millers.
read more.

* EU cuts GSP beneficiary countries to 89 from 176:

Bangladesh will be benefited, say experts

The European Union on Wednesday issued its revised import preference scheme, known as the Generalised Scheme of Preference, for developing countries reducing the number of beneficiary countries to 89 from 176.
The new scheme will be effective from January 1, 2014, European Commission in Dhaka said in a statement on the day.
Experts said Bangladesh would be benefited both directly and indirectly because of reduction of beneficiary countries from GSP facilities in EU market as some of the excluded countries were competitive for Bangladesh. read more.

* RMG exporters’ mixed reactions to revised EU GSP list:

Local garment exporters have expressed mixed reactions over the European Union’s (EU) newly-revised Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) list, to be effective from January 1, 2014.

Abdus Salam Murshedy, immediate-past president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said the country may enjoy comparatively low competition in exporting ready-made garment (RMG) products to the EU market after the new list comes into effect, as many of its rival countries have been excluded in the new list. read more.

18:39:51 local time map of india INDIA

* Bonus: textile unions stage stir:

The Centre of Indian Trade Union-affiliated textile employees’ unions staged a demonstration in the city on Thursday evening demanding timely disbursal of Deepavali bonus for all workers in Tirupur knitwear cluster.

CITU district secretary M. Chandran said the textile entrepreneurs should immediately fix the bonus scale for the workers and it should be above the rates at which the bonus was disbursed last year by the respective units.
Trade unionists said that in view of the stupendous role textile workers played in the growth of the cluster, they should definitely be given enhanced bonus this season.
to read.

* German firm sets up food, textile testing, certification lab in Gurgaon:

With antibiotic residues found in honey, pesticides in colas, lead traces in toys and azo dye in apparel, consumers and regulators have become more discerning and demanding.

And this has forced producers to become more quality conscious in the export and domestic markets, says Ishan Palit, Chief Executive (Product Services) with German testing and certification major TUV SUD.The company has set up its 11 {+t} {+h} lab in Gurgaon to support multiple sectors, including nutritional and health supplements, food, toys, jewellery and textile. read more.

* NTC ropes in two global cos for technical textile plant:

With its board zeroing in on two international players for the first phase of its upcoming technical textile plants, National Textile Corporation (NTC) is soon set to kick off work on the project.

The Ministry of Textiles, along with NTC is planning to set up in all 12 technical textiles plants across the country on a public private partnership (PPP) mode. For this, expression of interests (EoIs) were invited resulting in 18 companies from around the world showing interest in the project. read more.

* New incentives to boost Madhya Pradesh textile industry:

A plethora of new incentives will be doled out by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to boost the textile industry in the central Indian state.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Global Investors Summit-2012, state Industries Commissioner RK Chaturvedi said Madhya Pradesh has all the necessary requirements for growth of its textile industry.
He said the state is currently the fourth largest in India in terms of cotton production. Moreover, Ujjain and Burhanpur are together home to 47,000 handlooms and 43,290 powerlooms. read more.

* Sharp eye on cops employing minors:

A seemingly innocuous Right to Information (RTI) query has forced the Delhi Police to rein in employees who may be encouraging child labour.

Issued by its Special Protection Unit (Women & Children) or the SPUW&C, a new notification has instituted physical checks to ensure that no police officer employs any person aged below 14 years for any task either at a police station or his/her residence.

“The Central Government’s Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act prohibits the employment of persons younger than 14 years across the country with employers liable to be penalised in accordance with law. Why should police officers be treated differently?” asked a Delhi Police officer.

This means is that the next time you are served tea by a child, or see a young teenager going about household chores in a police colony, a simple complaint against the child’s identified employer(s) — irrespective of his/her rank — can land them in serious trouble. read more.

18:39:51 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka moves background agency DoC to battle frontlines:

* First national level market diversification effort takes off in earnest
* Rishad praises apparel sector for breaking into three new int’l markets ‘under difficult conditions’

As its global market destinations turned more challenging, Sri Lanka, in a major move, has positioned its Department of Commerce (DoC) to the frontlines of its exports drive, suddenly vesting an otherwise quiet, background agency with a crucial new role.
“As you may already know Sri Lanka’s main export markets are the EU and the US. But there is a recession in these important markets and the latest signs are that this slump could last for another 2 to 3 years. Identification of new markets for our exports and expanding current segments therefore should be done on an urgent basis. I am pleased to say the launch of the Consultative Committee on Market Diversification can ensure that these twin needs are addressed effectively” announced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 01 November. read more.

* Apparel Industry to hit US $ 5 bn mark by 2015:

Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SAEA), Pioneer Association of the apparel export industry hopes to be a US $ 5 billion industry by 2015.

Chairman of SAEA, Rohan Abayakoon told Daily News Business that though last year was a tough year for them, they are aiming at the US $ 5 billion mark.
“Last year our income was around US $ 4 billion. However, this year as a result of the economic downfall in Europe and the United States we have experienced a 7 to 8 % reduction in terms value and volume and currently the industry value is US $ 3.6 billion,” he said. read more.

18:09:51 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile sector dejected with gas suspensions:

Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) severely criticises ‘highly discriminatory four days gas closure’ to Faisalabad region while allowing five days supply to Lahore region. This decision of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) was beyond comprehension and tantamount to undue excess towards Faisalabad region, said FCCI President Mian Zahid Aslam, talking to media on Thursday.

He said that textile industry was the backbone of Pakistan economy, contributing more than 60% to total foreign exchange earnings and sharing 34% of total national industrial productivity.

Faisalabad was the biggest textile industrial centre of the country with more than 225,000 power looms, 500 printing mills, 400 sizing factories and more than 50 spinning mills; earning $4 billion from textile exports annually, he said. read more.

 * Pakistan textile exporters unhappy over gas load-shedding:

Breach of commitment by gas authorities to restore gas supply to Punjab industries from October 29, has raised the fury of Pakistan textile industry representatives.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Asghar Ali and Vice Chairman Muhammad Asif said producers and exporters prepared their production and supply plans and invited labour based on the gas authorities’ commitment. However, instead of restoring supply, the gas utilities extended the load-shedding on its own, without taking stakeholders in confidence.
They said if the Government is not in a capacity to bridge the demand-supply gap, it should have at least invited all stakeholders on board and prepared a proper load-shedding plan, thus allowing the producers to adjust their production schedules in lines with gas supply schedules.  read more.

* Suffering industries: FCCI condemns SNGPL for ‘discrimination’ in gas supply:

The Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) has criticised the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) for curtailing the gas supply to the industries in the Faisalabad region for most days in a week.

Calling the SNGPL’s schedule ‘discriminatory’, FCCI President Mian Zahid Aslam said the gas supply to industries in the Lahore region remained closed only for two days, compared to four days in Faisalabad.
He said that textile industry was the backbone of Pakistan’s economy accounting for more than 60 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, 40 per cent of employment and 34 per cent of the total national industrial productivity.

He said that Faisalabad was the biggest textile industrial centre of the country with more than 225,000 power looms, 500 printing mills, 400 sizing factories and more than 50 spinning mills.
The country earned US$4 billion (Rs382 billion) from textile exports annually, he said.
“Depriving such an important sector and the hub of the textile industry of gas for four days a week will crush the industrial sector as well as destroy the textile exports of the region,” he said. read more.

* Textile industry saves Rs 400 million through energy efficiency program:

The implementation of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program (REEE) yielded per annum savings of Rs 400 million for Pakistan’s textile industry.

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) had initiated the program in collaboration with the GIZ, a Germany-based organisation.
A meeting between Bernhard Mayhofer, Principal Advisor, REEE program-GIZ, Germany, with Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Chief Executive Officer of Smeda took place here on Wednesday.
The CEO Smeda welcomed the GIZ’s principal advisor and assured him of full cooperation from Smeda for the expansion of the REEE Programme. read more.

* APTMA seeks regionally competitive interest rate:

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir has urged for the provision of regionally competitive interest rates in the wake of improvement in economic indicators. He has lauded the government for bringing the inflation rate down to 8% besides improvement in the current account deficit.

This vital sign of improvement in the economic indicators is a big achievement for the government and should be reflected in the upcoming monetary policy to reinforce the government’s commitment of strengthening the economy through investment-friendly measures, he added. He said that it is imperative for the economic managers of the country to consider a further reduction in the interest rate as a confidence building measure to encourage industrial investment in the country.
read more. & read more.

* Bucking the trend: Tauseef Group buys out rivals, targets IPO in 2013:

Not everyone in the textile industry is having a rough time: some are taking advantage of their size and cash flows to buy out smaller, financially distressed rivals. The Tauseef Group is one such textile conglomerate. Having benefited from an early and timely decision to invest in Bangladesh, the Faisalabad-based group is now using the profits from that foreign venture to buy out dying competitors at home.

Tauseef Enterprises, the group’s main entity, has bought out two firms that had been shut down – Light Hosiery Mills and Ehsan Yousaf Textile Mills – and bought a 50% stake in another struggling company, the Jaguar Group. All three of the companies are based in Tauseef’s home town of Faisalabad. read more.

* Operation against factories lacking safety measures:

Rawalpindi City District Government (RCDG) has decided to start an operation against dangerous factories in residential areas from next week, under which strict action would be taken against owners of the factories without proper security and safety measures.

According to sources, after the recent blaze incident in Karachi, Rawalpindi city management decided to restart the campaign against owners of the factories lacking sufficient safety measures, especially against those in residential areas.

Earlier, the operation to shift the dangerous factories out of the residential areas was stopped before Eid-ul-Azha on pressure of some unknown elements. read more.


* Families await bodies after Karachi factory fire:

At the only morgue in Pakistan’s largest city lie the blackened remains of 32 people killed in one of the worst industrial accidents in the country’s history, wrapped in white plastic body bags waiting for DNA tests to determine who they are.

That means an excruciating wait — so far more than a month — for families whose relatives are believed to have been killed but have not been accounted for.
One of those in the morgue may be the daughter-in-law of Aisha Bano. Bano’s son and his wife both were working as stitching machine operators in the warehouse-factory producing jeans and other clothes when it was ravaged by a Sept 11 blaze. The son is known to have died. His wife is still missing.

Bano says her grandchildren have continuous nightmares about their missing mother, dreaming that she’s trying to get home.
“Almost every midnight one of them wakes me up to tell me somebody is outside the house calling their names and pleading to open the door,” said Bano, tears rolling down her cheeks. read more.

18:09:51 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Over 100 companies boycotting Uzbek cotton:

A non-profit organisation, Responsible Sourcing Network, announced today that over 100 well-known world brands and companies had refused to use Uzbek cotton.

A famous apparel manufacturer, the Spanish brand Zara, has become one of the companies that recently refused to use Uzbek cotton because of forced labour of millions of children.
Thus, the number of companies that have boycotted the “white gold” from Uzbekistan has reached the record-breaking figure of 100, and even exceeded it, the Responsible Sourcing Network reported.
The organisation’s list includes 108 companies, among them manufacturers of apparel and accessories such as H&M, Gap, Walmart, as well as de luxe brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. read more.


map of Asia

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

* Famous outerwear brands found coated with toxins
* NCTO Praises U.S. Decision To Join WTO Consultations On China Textile Subsidy Case

* P10 pay hike for minimum wage earners in NCR takes effect today, Nov. 1
* P10 COLA, signal of ‘libing’ wage for workers – KMU

* Guest workers vulnerable to exploitation

* FTI: SMEs won’t survive wage hike

* CCC floats fire-safety campaign for RMG workers
* Reopen Hall-Mark units: RMG workers
* All cases in Hallmark scam by Dec: ACC chair
* Tannery workers protest against move to allow export of raw hide
* ‘Export of raw leather may ruin industry’
* RMG exports defy global slowdown
* Raw cotton import rises significantly
* EU cuts GSP beneficiary countries to 89 from 176
* RMG exporters’ mixed reactions to revised EU GSP list

* Bonus: textile unions stage stir
* German firm sets up food, textile testing, certification lab in Gurgaon
* NTC ropes in two global cos for technical textile plant
* New incentives to boost Madhya Pradesh textile industry
* Sharp eye on cops employing minors

* Sri Lanka moves background agency DoC to battle frontlines
* Apparel Industry to hit US $ 5 bn mark by 2015

* Textile sector dejected with gas suspensions
* Pakistan textile exporters unhappy over gas load-shedding
* Suffering industries: FCCI condemns SNGPL for ‘discrimination’ in gas supply
* Textile industry saves Rs 400 million through energy efficiency program
* APTMA seeks regionally competitive interest rate
* Bucking the trend: Tauseef Group buys out rivals, targets IPO in 2013
* Operation against factories lacking safety measures
* Families await bodies after Karachi factory fire

* Over 100 companies boycotting Uzbek cotton

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 5 November 2012

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