21:18:19 local time CHINA
* Most Chinese prefer working for foreign companies:
The majority of Chinese employees prefer to work for foreign companies, but employment at State-owned firms is growing in popularity, a survey has found.
China’s Most Desirable Employer Survey, conducted by Antal International, a global employment service provider, polled more than 3,600 employees in China and found that 66 percent prefer to work for foreign companies.
Sixty-eight percent of those polled work for a multinational or foreign company.
Each respondent was asked which company, excluding their current employer but within the same industry, was the most desirable. read more.
* Labor force ‘at turning point’:
The number of people of working age in China will decrease by almost 30 million before the end of this decade, posing a serious challenge to economic growth, an expert with a top think tank has predicted.
According to the World Bank, the country’s demographic dividend — when the largest section of society is of working age and the dependency ratio is low — has contributed more than 30 percent to the country’s rapid economic growth.
However, Cai Fang, director of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the dividend reached its peak in 2010. read more.
21:18:19 local time PHILIPPINES
* Workers bat for P125 wage hike, reject ‘libing’ wage:
Picketing the resumption of sessions in the House of Representatives this morning, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called for the passage of a bill seeking to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide and for an investigation into the government’s new wage system.
The workers called for the passage of House Bill 375, or the P125 Wage Hike Bill, and an investigation into the Two-Tiered Wage System sought by House Resolution 2783, both filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano.
To dramatize their contention that the new wage system will bring about “libing (burial)” and not living wages for workers, the workers carried a tomb marker that read “RIP: Living Wage Murdered by Two-Tiered Wage System.” read more.
* Workers Demand P125 Wage Increase:
Several labor groups staged a rally to demand a P125 across the board wage increase and an investigation into the new salary scheme for government workers at Monday’s resumption of the session at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.
Led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), labor and human rights groups urged the passage of House Bill 375, otherwise known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, and an inquiry on the “Two-Tiered Wage System’’ sought by House Resolution 2783. Both bill and resolution were authored by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano.
* ‘Last, meager wage hike kills, buries minimum wage’:
From now on, the KMU warned, the government will freeze minimum wages via its new wage system.
The last tranche of wage hike for Metro Manila employees, granted in the form of a P10 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), officially became effective since Nov 1. The government-backed Trade Union Congress of the Philippines welcomed it in a statement. It could be remembered that the TUCP filed a proposed hike with the Regional Wage Board early this year while other labor groups were demanding that these wage boards be scrapped.
For the progressive workers and youths, they only have stinging criticisms and ample warnings concerning the said wage hike.
The youth group Anakbayan said the wage hike has “no life at all.” Vencer Crisostomo, chairman of Anakbayan, said it is akin to alms and miles away from the P125 ($3.03) being demanded by the workers and the P993 ($24.07) Family Living Wage in 2011. The youth group cited the amount required to meet the daily family needs according to Ibon Foundation.
Even the timing of the wage hike’s implementation, Nov 1, served as proof for the youth group of the little value of the said hike. They also described the hike as “ghostly,” since it will not be real as “most employers do not pay the minimum wage.”
20:18:19 local time VIET NAM
* Curtain up for Ha Noi textiles summit:
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday told the annual conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) that the Government wanted the garment and textile sector to play a crucial role in the country’s industrial structure by 2020.
Hai, speaking at the opening of the two-day conference in the capital city, said he appreciated the significance of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment group (Vinatex) joining ITMF.
He said the Prime Minister had already approved a development strategy that focused on strongly improving support industries, producing raw materials and raising added value for textile products. Vinatex, which is co-hosting the conference, was the core of this plan.
Hai said the weaknesses and difficulties facing the local garment and textile sector could be overcome by trying to improve Viet Nam’s role in the international market.
* Finding strange substances in bras, mission impossible:
The Ministry of Health said it is unable to confirm that the unknown substances in bras are drugs or not so temporarily it is the task of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to control and manage this product.
To date, nine provinces and cities across the country have discovered Chinese bras containing unknown substances.
Local authorities have urgently checked and seized bras with unknown substances. However, relevant agencies have not known what kind of the substances in bras.
According to bra users and inspectors, each bra has two bags containing liquid substance in white or milky white color and three small “pills”. When the bags are cut, the liquid solution has bad smell. If it sticks to skin, it will cause itchy.
According to many experts, the unknown substance cannot be medical silicone because this substance is very expensive. Furthermore, even when it sticks to skin, this type of silicone is very safe and has no harm to health. read more.
* Authorities remain silent over Chinese bra scandal:
A fortnight after the first sets of Chinese bras containing unidentified pills and liquid were found, local consumers have begun boycotting the lingerie, while an official conclusion from authorities on whether or not the unknown drugs are toxic is still pending.
A large-scale inspection has been run on Chinese bras on sale in areas across the country over the last two weeks following several reports from consumers that they have broken out in a rash while wearing the lingerie.
Market watchdogs nationwide have seized some products and found that each of them contained two bizarre packs of liquid, each containing three round white pills whose toxicity remains unknown. read more.
20:18:19 local time CAMBODIA
* Tai Yang strikers hope for a resolution:
Workers who were left stranded after protests at three Tai Yang Enterprises garment factories dragged on for months earlier this year were hoping for a long-awaited resolution when they attended the Arbitration Council yesterday.
The 53 employees of the Kandal provincial factory, which supplies Levi’s and Gap, left disappointed, but with the possibility of a solution next week still dangling.
“The officials from the company at first said they would not find a solution for us, because of how much money they have lost by us striking,” worker Pho Han said.
After a separate 20-minute discussion between the Arbitration Council and Tai Yang’s management, however, the workers were told their bosses had reconsidered and would agree to solve the month-long dispute next week. read more.
* Canteens and Nutritious Food Help to Change Workers Lives:
Factories who have set up canteens and provided free meals to workers shared their experiences and the significance of pursuing such initiatives at a special briefing session on BFC’s One Change Campaign to prevent faintings. The meeting was jointly organized by ILO-Better Factories Cambodia, GAP and H&M on Monday 8 October. Representatives from nearly 100 factories attended.
Presenters from SL factory, Ocean Sky, and Can Sports (a footwear factory) put forward their experience in setting up canteens. Each of these factory representatives told participants that providing a canteen and nutritious food for workers was good for them.
Morngh Sochearat, SL factory’s compliance officer, said that his factory has provided free food to workers since its establishment. A cost of 2500 Riel (approximately $0.60) is spent per worker per meal.
“To ensure the food is hygienic, nutritious and acceptable to workers, we set up a food committee. We have a meeting every week to incorporate their inputs,” explained Sochea. read more.
21:18:19 local time MALAYSIA
* SME group: Re-weigh minimum wage plan; introduce goods and service tax instead:
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) want the Government to reconsider the implementation of the minimum wage scheme from all angles to avoid serious implications.
SMI Association of Malaysia national president Teh Kee Sim said the association did not see why there was a rush to implement the scheme for the private sector.
“Even after 10 long years since the goods and service tax (GST) was proposed, it has yet to take place, but why it only took two years to implement the minimum wage,” he said in an interview with StarBiz. read more.
* Over 4,500 firms want minimum wage policy delayed:
More than 4,500 companies have appealed to the Government to delay the implementation of the minimum wage policy.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the request from these companies, mostly SMEs, had been handed to the National Wages Council for consideration.
Dr Subramaniam said the companies’ concerns, among others, were the high number of foreign workers involved and rising production costs.
“The council will check to see if their reasons are valid. Only then will these companies be allowed to postpone the implementation of the minimum wage,” he said after officiating the Skills Malaysia Carnival here yesterday.
The minister, however, stressed that the Government would proceed with the implementation of the policy on Jan 1. read more.
* Government Must Be Firm On Minimum Wage Implementation, Says MTUC:
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today called on the government to be firm on implementing the RM900 monthly minimum wage plan as scheduled on Jan 1, next year.
Its president, Khalid Atan told bernama that this was because employers had been given ample time and by now they should be ready to put the plan into action.
Khalid was responding to Small-Medium Industries (SMI) Association of Malaysia president, Teh Kee Sin who wanted the government to review the plan and not to rush its implementation.
He said employers had no valid reason to delay the implementation as workers had waited almost 12 years for the plan to materialise. read more.
21:18:19 local time INDONESIA
* Worker Solidarity Gets Results:
A strike by 2 million blue-collar Indonesian workers over wages and job outsourcing resulted in government promises to improve worker pay and restrict the use of workers subcontracted through labor agencies.
The one-day walkout in October halted work on more than 80 industrial “estates” (sites) mainly throughout Java and the island of Batam, across from Singapore. Union leaders vowed to press ahead with industrial action if the government did not take action. In response, Chief Economics Minister Hatta Rajassa said the government would seek to increase worker pay and issue a new regulation designed to better enforce rules regarding subcontracting.
In Indonesia, where 16 million workers—roughly 40 percent of the country’s formal labor force—are labor agency employees, “outsourcing” is similar to U.S. subcontracting practices. But there are key differences. In Indonesia, outsourced workers are recruited by third-party agencies or individuals to work on production lines side by side with a company’s employees. Their “employer” is the middleman, who takes a cut out of each pay check. The worker often receives less than the minimum wage and no benefits. read more.
19:48:19 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* More protests against low salaries, unfair dismissal:
More protests have been launched recently at industrial zones against low salaries and unfair dismissal of employees, a news report said.
Workers from 12 factories in Shwepyitha, South Dagon, and Dagon Seikkan industrial zones in Yangon staged protests on October 23.
In July, Ministry of Labour officials already met with business owners of more than 100 factories after workers protested the low wages and allowances.
However, despite an agreement being reached then, more than 1,200 factory workers protested again this month due to dissatisfaction over the low salaries.
19:18:19 local time BANGLA DESH
* RMG workers block road at Modhya Badda for 5hrs:
Vehicular movement from Rampura to Kuril Bishwa Road eased five and a half hours after garment workers withdrew a blockade from a Modhya Badda road in the capital on Monday demanding their arrears.
The workers of Topaz Garments withdrew the road blockade around 2:20pm following the assurance from the authorities to fulfill their demands, said Humayun Kabir, a sub-inspector of Badda Police Station.
Several hundreds of workers took to the streets demanding their arrears around 9:00am at Modhya Badda, blocking passage of traffic on the road.
Commuters suffered severe tailbacks for five and a half hours from Rampura to Kuril Bishwa Road following the blockade.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers block road demanding dues:
Workers of Topaz Dresses Ltd, an apparel factory, block a road in the capital’s Badda after the authorities announced the factory closed yesterday for an indefinite period allegedly without paying their arrears and any prior notice. Photo: STAR
Traffic movement in the capital’s Badda and adjacent areas was halted for around six and a half hours yesterday after several hundred garment factory workers took to the streets demanding due wages.
After sitting with the garment workers and owners of the factory in Badda, Topaz Dresses Limited, and failing to reach a consensus, police used water cannons to disperse the agitators around 2:30pm.
The workers then engaged in clashes with police, vandalising some vehicles on roads from Middle Badda to Rampura, Kuril Biswa Road and Gulshan-2 intersection.
read more. & read more.
* RMG workers block road in city to press for payment:
Hundreds of apparel workers staged a blockade on Badda-Kuril road for seven hours on Monday to protest the sudden shutdown of their factory by owners without paying their last month’s wages.
The agitating workers, mostly female, of Topaz Dresses Limited, took to the street at about 8am as they were taken by surprise seeing a closure notice at the factory gate.
Slogan-shouting workers shut both sides of the road at Maddhya Badda demanding of the factory management to pay their unpaid wage. But no representatives of the owners were at the scene. read more.
* Hall-Mark Group employees demand payment of their arrears:
Employees of scandal-hit Hall-Mark Group on Monday demanded immediate payment of their arrears and smooth functioning of all factories of the group under government supervision.
They raised the demand at a sit-in programme in front of National Press Club in the morning under the banner of Garment Sramik Sangram Parishad (GSSP).
The employees also demanded immediate appointment of an administrator for the Hall-Mark Group and take steps to pay their dues. read more.
* Hallmark workers pass hard time:
Thousands of workers of Hallmark Group who lost their jobs for sudden closer of their factories have been facing problems to get employment in other factories.
Managements of other factories were avoiding to employ the Hallmark workers and labeled them as the musclemen of the group, jobless Hallmark workers said.
They also said that they have been passing a tough time as they have no work and their house owners were putting pressure on them to pay rents and grocery shops were not selling essentials on credit.
Montaz Ali, a resident of Tentuljhara Bazar, near the Hallmark Group factories, told New Age that the Hallmark workers were not getting job because they had grabbed private properties and carried out unruly activities on behalf of the group. read more.
* CPD meet singles out SBL failure for Hall-Mark scam:
Bankers, finance-related stalwarts and experts at a dialogue Monday held failures of management, the audit team and the board of Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) responsible for the Hall-Mark scam at the bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch.
They hinted that political interference was also responsible for the Hall-Mark scam, while some wanted to know about the whereabouts of the ‘plundered money’ and exemplary punishment to the culprits.
The speakers, mostly bankers and financial experts, were critical of the Banking Division saying the office has entered a confrontation with the spirit of autonomy of the central bank. read more. & read more.
* Urbanisation in Bangladesh proves a double-edged sword for women:
Bangladesh’s textile industry has given women greater economic power, but exploitation and discrimination are major problems
Every morning, mile upon mile of women stream along Dhaka’s roadsides, heading towards the city’s garment factories. This urban workforce is now the largest contributing group to Bangladesh’s vital export economy.
In a country with more than 4,000 factories – which now relies on the ready-to-wear garment industry for 80% of its export income – women have become a powerful economic force. About 1.5 million women are employed as garment workers, and their labour has allowed the Bangladeshi garment industry to compete seriously in the global market.
Employment in the export-oriented garment industry, and in other industries such as electronics manufacturing, has directly opened up the labour market for poorer sections of the population, most notably young rural women with limited local employment options.
For many of these women, a move from the country to the city has brought an economic independence that would have been almost inconceivable to earlier generations. Their migration has been one of the most visible signs of the rapid urbanisation in Bangladesh, where the urban population is growing by roughly 6% year-on-year and 28% of people now live in cities. The total urban population is expected to reach 50 million by 2015. read more.
* Tanners, exporters continue to resist rawhide export:
Tanners and finished leather exporters yesterday again opposed the government proposal for rawhide exports.
The opposition was voiced at a meeting called upon by the commerce ministry to gather opinions of the industry’s eminent figures regarding the proposed move.
Earlier, Commerce Minister GM Quader put forward the suggestion of rawhide exports to counter the poor pricing of rawhide in the local market and smuggling of the item to sell at a higher price abroad.
At yesterday’s meeting with Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, the tanners and finished leather exporters conveyed they would face losses if the proposal materialises. read more.
* Investment destination Bangladesh: Possibilities and constraints:
The prime minister recently called upon Vietnamese entrepreneurs to invest in the country promising conducive facilities. We laud her for her efforts to woo much-needed foreign investment.
Yes, Bangladesh has the potential to become the investors’ choice destination. We have a number of things going for us at the moment. At the same time there are major bottlenecks that will have to be addressed so that Bangladesh can cash in on the increased interest Asian and European interests have been showing lately.
The good news first: South Asian wages are no longer cheap. In fact, wages have been on the rise across the Asian board. According to a study by Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) conducted in 2011, Asian workers’ wages have increased significantly.
“Among the major countries in Asean, a rise in the basic wage rate was observed, in descending order, in Vietnam (16.8%), Indonesia (9.6%), the Philippines (5.6%), Thailand (5.3%), and Malaysia (4.7%).
But even after such a rapid rise in pay, the monthly wage of workers in Hanoi was a mere $123, less than half that in Bangkok ($286). In Jakarta, the monthly wage of workers was $209, roughly 70% of the wage in Bangkok.
The questionnaire survey mentioned above also revealed that the average monthly salary for workers employed by Japanese companies in Bangladesh was $78, significantly higher than the minimum wage of $39.” Hence, even with $78 as average wage, Bangladesh offers a far more competitive advantage than, say, Vietnam.
Besides the wage advantage, certain industries are very much viable in Bangladesh. Besides garments, textiles and the shoe industry show a lot of promise. read more.
18:48:19 local time INDIA
* 40k textile workers may leave for good:
This year’s Diwali vacation is weighing heavy on the country’s biggest man-made fabric hub in the city. As migrant workers begin to leave the city for month-long vacation to their home towns in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, industry fears that about 10 per cent of textile workers (about 40,000 of the total four lakh) are not likely to return.
The man-made fabric industry houses about 6.5 lakh powerloom machines, 400 dyeing and printing units, 50,000 embroidery machines and more than one lakh texturising machines.
While the textile industry is yet to close down for the vacation starting November 10, migrant workers have already started moving out of the city with their family members and relatives.
Most of the weaving units have been operating five days a week and have stopped the night shift due to the dwindling demand of polyester fabric and the rising prices of yarn. read more.
* India needs to make labour laws flexible for jobs: Kaushik Basu:
World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu on Monday said that the Indian government needs to amend labour laws to provide flexibility to companies in dealing with changes in demand pattern, a move that will also boost employment, especially in the organized sector.
“India’s labour market is over regulated. Rigid labour laws are hurting India’s growth… If we will create a legal environment, there would be much demand for these workers. So we need a regulatory framework but we need greater flexibility in labour market. But we don’t want a completely free labour market,” said Basu, who is on his first visit to India in his new role.
For years, the government debated amendments to the Contract Labour Act and the Industrial Disputes Act but put the proposals in deep freeze fearing protests from trade unions. read more.
* Maharashtra to brand its own cotton variety to beat Gujarat’s Shankar in export markets:
Maharashtra has decided to promote its own cotton variety to compete with Gujarat’s Shankar variety in the export markets.
Shankar is the most exported Indian cotton variety from Gujarat. A Chinese delegation of traders is currently on a visit to Jalgaon in Maharashtra.
For the last several years, Maharashtra ginners have been complaining that Gujarat traders buy cotton from Maharashtra and sell it at higher price as Shankar variety.
“Gujarat traders buy our cotton cheaper by avoiding taxes. Even after many efforts, we have not been able to stop it. We could not export our cotton directly because of the absence of branding,” said Pradip Jain, president of the Khandesh Ginpress Association. read more.
* Indian govt revises minimum support price for cotton:
Union Minister for Commerce, industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma has held a review meeting for early commencement of minimum support price operations to stabilize cotton prices which have witnessed a sharp decline and are operating around MSP levels.
Government of India has revised Minimum Support Price (MSP) for medium staple cotton from Rs. 2800/ qtl to Rs. 3600/ qtl and for long staple cotton from Rs. 3300/ qtl to Rs. 3900/ qtl for cotton season 2012-13. read more.
* Falling cotton prices bring cheer to spinning industry:
The debt-ridden spinning industry might be able to recover from losses and come out of a loan trap this year if cotton prices remain stable at lower levels.
The Shanker-6 variety of cotton in Gujarat has slipped from Rs 34,000 a candy (356 kg) to Rs 33,300 a candy in the past five days. The price in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan has also fallen from Rs 32,700 to Rs 31,780 a candy. This has happened when cotton exports have stopped and yarn export has picked up. Both will help the spinning sector improve their margins. read more.
* Adidas fraud case: Sacked Reebok executives own 29 properties, says E&Y:
Subhinder Singh Prem and Vishnu Bhagat, the Reebok India executives fired for alleged involvement in a Rs870-crore fraud, between them own 29 residential and commercial properties in several Indian cities, claims a forensic audit by German arm of Ernst & Young for the sports goods firm’s parent.
However, the lawyer representing Singh and Bhagat – the former CEO and COO of the company, respectively – has disputed the findings. He also said Reebok had commissioned Ernst & Young to do the report for an ‘astronomical sum’ of Rs 130 crore with a view to influence the ongoing investigations and counter an earlier report by KPMG that absolved his clients of any wrongdoing.
According to the Ernst & Young report, whose contents were described to ET, Prem and Bhagat separately own properties ranging from premium residential apartments in Gurgaon in projects such as The Palms, Habitat Tower, M3M Golf Estate and Deerwood Chase to commercial properties in Delhi. The report, dated October 9, also said Prem and Bhagat have received Rs 7.82 crore from unidentified sources.
18:18:19 local time PAKISTAN
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Baldia factory fire: Govt given seven days to complete DNA testing:
Sindh High Court has directed the provincial government to complete within a week the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) matching process to identify remaining victims of the county’s worst industrial disaster.
The court has also directed the Sindh Labor Department to conduct a complete survey within one month of all the industrial establishments running in Karachi to identify how many of them have proper safety arrangements made for the workers safety.
In addition, the court issued notices of contempt to the owners of the ill-fated Ali Enterprises garments factory – Abdul Aziz Bhailla, Arshad Bhailla and Shahid Bhailla – for not providing details of their moveable and immoveable assets to the court despite orders. read more.
* Owners seek access to bank account, possession of factory:
The owners of Ali Enterprises, a Baldia Town garments factory where a Category 3 fire had killed at least 259 people on September 11, have prayed to court to allow them access to their bank account and possession of the factory and its warehouse.
Through their plea on Monday, the owners desired to deploy their own security at the factory and said that it would be fair to allow them possession of the factory to that extent.
Judicial Magistrate (West-II) Sohail Ahmed Mashori noted that the police department had not filed any comments on the plea, and fixed November 12 to decide the matter.
The owners, Shahid Bhaila, Arshad Bhaila and Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and factory manager Mansoor Idress, along with some other employees of the factory, are being tried in the factory fire case. One of the accused, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, is on bail, while the others are in judicial custody. read more.
* SHC seeks report on safety rules in industrial units:
The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the Ministry of Labour and Industries and other departments concerned on Monday to conduct a survey of all industrial units and labour establishments in Karachi and submit a report on the implementation of fire and safety provisions.
The court was hearing identical petitions seeking a judicial inquiry into the Baldia Town factory fire that killed 259 people on September 11.
The Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) and others filed the petitions requesting the court to constitute a judicial commission which may fix responsibility on persons responsible of the incident and suggest monetary compensation for the legal heirs of the victims.
They also sought an order restraining the inquiry commission constituted by the provincial government as well as against the owners of the factory, Ali Enterprises, from the disposal of the factory or creating any third party interest till the final adjudication of the petitions. read more.