in the news on-line, 9 November 2012

21:41:21 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s textile industry faces poor export growth:

The clothing and textile industry is still facing a grim export situation, as the sector saw only slight growth in the first three quarters, an industry expert said Thursday.

Data from the China Textile Industry Association showed that the sector’s total export volume grew by 1.04 percent to 192.69 billion US dollars in the first nine months of the year.
Gao Yong, the association’s vice president, said at a national textile conference held on Thursday that China’s shares in major overseas markets have dropped in spite of overall export growth.

“We need to more rationally analyze the indigenous problems confronting the industry,” Gao said.
The textile and clothing industry should update its technology to enhance product quality and foster influential brands in response to the impact of external factors, including rising labor cost and material prices and dampened overseas demand, the association said in a report. read more.

* The Trading Power, Part I: A Decade of Fastest Development :

Since the 16th CPC National Congress, the golden decade has witnessed China’s fastest growth in its trading history and the emergence of a new trading power.

An Electrifying Trading Power
“China has delivered an ‘A-plus performance’ since it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001,” the WTO Director General Pascal Lamy remarked.

Having embraced the WTO rules, China has successfully integrated with the world and grown to become the world’s largest exporter and second largest importer.

Over the past decade, China has abolished, revised and adopted over 3,000 laws, regulations and department rules, fulfilled its commitments to the WTO in tariff and non-tariff areas, and eased its restrictions on foreign rivals to further open its markets to the world. read more.

* The Trading Power, Part II: Eastern Boom Lightens Western Gloom:

The golden decade of China’s trade boom has brought tangible profits to various economies, making China a source of warmth during the severe financial winter.

The past decade saw China, the largest trading partner of Japan, South Korea, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), become a booster of its neighboring countries’ economic development.
The past decade saw China, the world’s largest exporter and second largest importer that shared complementary strengths with the United States, European Union, and other major economies, become an important stabilizer of the global economy.

Booster of the Motor
The thriving Chinese economy has become the driving force for the economic development of Asia, the global economy’s main motor of growth. read more.

21:41:21 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Exec says rise in child labor numbers alarming:

Labor and social welfare authorities expressed alarm over the increasing number of child laborers in Bicol after a study showed that an estimated 300,000 children in the region are engaged in hazardous work, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Thursday.

The rising figure prompted the DOLE to partner with local government units in the region and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to pursue a vigorous antichild labor drive, said DOLE regional director Nathaniel Lacambra.

Lacambra, quoting a study conducted in 2011 by the National Statistics Office and the International Labor Organization, said Central Luzon topped the list of areas that have a high number of child laborers with 316,000 followed by Bicol with 300,000, Western Visayas with 250,000, Northern Mindanao with 248,000 and Central Visayas with 225,000. read more.

* Mounting strikes, protests caused by Cheap Labor Policy:

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno blamed the Aquino government’s Cheap Labor Policy for the increasing number of strikes and workers’ protests at the company level, saying workers are fed up and are fighting back.

KMU cited the following:
(1) The ongoing strike at the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Inc., in Bacolod City over illegal dismissal and union-busting,
(2) The strike, launched last Wednesday, at the Prudential Custom Brokerage, Inc. in Surigao City over the company’s refusal to hike wages and threat to rollback benefits,
(3) The announcement by workers of First Farmers Holding Corporation in Talisay City, Negros Occidental that they will hold a strike over the company’s violation of the minimum wage.
read more.

20:41:21 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garment makers see orders from Japan increase:

Orders for apparel products from Japan are increasing, possibly due to certain Japanese buyers shying themselves from China, with several Vietnamese textile and garment firms having won export contracts sufficient for their production in many months to come.

Vu Dinh Hai, deputy general director of Dongnai Garment Corp. (Donagamex), said his firm now has obtained orders from Japan for production from now until the end of September 2013.
Many Japanese customers have even asked Donagamex to increase the volume of orders as they are shifting to Vietnamese products from Chinese items. This is a positive sign that the exports of the nation’s apparel products to Japan will post strong growth in 2013.

Donagamex had shipped labor protection uniforms and sports clothing to Japan valued up to US$30 million in January-October. At the moment, 60-70% of the company’s output is bound for the Japanese market while the remainder is exported to South Korea, Europe, the United States and others. read more.

* Workers strike after worm found in lunchmeal:

More than 1,000 workers at Free Well Ltd. Company in Binh Phuoc southern province on Thursday went on strike after an alleged dead worm was found in a worker’s lunch meal cooked by the company’s kitchen staff.

According to Binh Phuoc Labor Union, when workers received foods served at the company’s canteen during lunch time on Nov. 7, one of them discovered a small animal looking like a worm in his food. He showed it to other workers and took another meal.

On the afternoon of Nov. 8, three papers that read “Worms found in food, don’t eat any more” were found inside a restroom for female workers. After this news spread, over 1,000 workers out of 4,000 workers at the company dared not eat lunch meals. Many of them even left the company for home. read more.

20:41:21 local time map of thailand THAILAND

 * PM urged to delay considering minimum wage rise by one month:

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking will send a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asking to delay by one month the submission for the cabinet approval of the nationwide increase of the daily minimum wage to 300 baht.

Thaveekit Jaturajarernkul, a vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the committee yesterday agreed that they would like to see the delay the cabinet’s consideration on the new nationwide wage hike, expected to be on the agenda at the meeting on Nov 13.

A joint committee of government and private sector representatives should first be set up to review support measures for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.
The Labour Ministry earlier proposed 27 measures aimed at increasing productivity for SMEs and minimising the effects of the wage increase. read more.

* Huge steps for Payless ShoeSource:

Central Marketing Group (CMG) will spend 3 billion baht to open outlets of Payless ShoeSource, the largest US shoe store chain, in Thailand and Vietnam over the next five years.

Thailand’s biggest fashion distributor has received a five-year licence from Payless ShoeSource Inc, a business unit of Collective Brands Inc, the leading US shoe company, to operate its multi-brand stores in Thailand and Indochina.
It set up the new Central Marketing subsidiary exclusively to look after shop expansion in this region. read more.

21:41:21 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers’ Sweeping and Intimidation Prompt 100 Factories to Lock-out:

The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) reports around 100 factories will halt prodution as workers are in anarchical intensifying sweeping and intimidation, Bisnis Indonesia reported this morning.

Apindo chairman Sofjan Wanandi said around 100 factories are set to lock-out their production if the government of Indonesia could not protect the production activity in the country.

He said of 292 businessmen and member of Apindo, 46 companies from Japan and tens of foreign companies have reported the sweeping and intimidation by workers union at their factories. read more.

* Outsourcing policy in doubt:

The Manpower and Transmigration Ministry has postponed issuing a controversial revised decree on labor outsourcing after unions and businesses failed to reach a compromise on several sticking points.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister, and chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB) Muhaimin Iskandar said on Thursday that he had suspended the planned revision indefinitely until a compromise was reached.
The revised decree was previously scheduled to be issued on Nov. 2.
“We hope the conflicting parties will reach an agreement on two crucial issues so the decree can be signed,” Muhaimin said. read more.

19:41:21 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Reopen Hall-Mark factories: Workers:

Readymade garment (RMG) workers here on Thursday demanded immediate reopening of the closed Hall-Mark factories under government supervision and full payment of its workers.

Addressing a press conference, jointly organised by 40 workers’ organisations in the RMG sector, the union leaders also demanded immediate withdrawal of all the cases against Hall-Mark employees that were filed in connection with the demonstrations they staged demanding their arrears.
“The sudden shutdown of the factories by the Hall-Mark management has left thousands of workers and their families in dire financial hardship,”
Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Unity Council coordinator Delwar Hossain Khan said. read more.

 * Lack of infrastructure hampers Bangladesh RMG exports:

Although several global buyers are ready to invest their money in Bangladesh, lack of infrastructure facilities continue to hamper the growth of readymade garment (RMG) exports from Bangladesh.
Mr. Siddiqur Rahman, the second vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told fibre2fashion, “There are ample opportunities for the country to be the global leader in apparel exports since several global retailers have visited the country and are willing to build up a long-term business relationship with Bangladesh”.
“However, we lack behind China in many infrastructural facilities like electricity, gas, connectivity, etc, which hampers the growth of apparel exports from Bangladesh,” he adds. read more.

* Clustering will benefit Bangladesh apparel & textile units:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (BGMEA) University of Fashion & Technology (BUFT) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) – Better Work in Textiles and Garments (BWTG) jointly organized a one–day workshop on “Development of National Performance Cluster” held on September 17, Wednesday at BUFT, Uttara, Dhaka. 

This one-day workshop provided the opportunity for dialogue and discussion to explore how a clustering strategy can be used to improve the competitive advantage of the Apparel Sector in Bangladesh.
This workshop helped in gaining knowledge about clustering strategy and how the three technical centers of BUFT, NITTRAD, IART launched by BGMEA, BTMA and BKMEA could provide the coordinated technical, innovating and competitive cost effective demand driven services to the apparel and textile industries. read more.

19:11:21 local time map of india INDIA

* 90 per cent of textile units yet to pay bonus:

A majority of the predominant migrant textile workers in Tirupur knitwear cluster are a discontented lot as they are yet to get the Deepavali bonus though only four days are left for the festival.

According to trade union sources, almost 90 per cent of the units in the cluster are yet to disburse bonus to the workers.
“What is the point in getting the bonus at the eleventh hour as migrant labourers like us will not get time to buy dresses/sweets for our family members before heading for native places in southern districts,” said P. Mohanraj (name changed on his request), a native of Madurai.

But some of the textile unit owners said that if the bonus amount was given well in advance, the workers would immediately head for their home towns and all the production schedule for the festival season would go topsy-turvy.

“With almost every textile worker across the production chain been employed on weekly wages, the employers cannot even stop them from leaving at any point of time,” R. Girish, spokesperson of Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association and an entrepreneur himself, added. read more.

* Weavers take out protest against power outage:

The return of staggering 16-hour power outage in Salem city and its district has revived once again a series of protests. Weavers of both powerlooms and handlooms in Salem city and its neighbourhood on Wednesday staged dharna against TANGEDCO Office in Udayapatti for nearly three hours.

Protesting against the resumption of long duration unscheduled power cuts, which they claimed had crippled their industry once again, the weavers from Periyar Nagar, VOC Nagar and Sri Nagar took out a protest march and staged a dharna on the premises of TANGEDCO office at Udayapatti, forcing the officials to remain indoors. They insisted on the officials to supply them uninterrupted power supply of at least five hours so that they could operate their looms without any break. They raised slogans against the State and TANGEDCO for not addressing their issue that had started affecting their livelihood sources. read more.

* Closed factory workers give vent to ire against Sonia:

Some women workers of a closed factory here raised slogans against Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday alleging that the local MP did not give any positive assurance when they met her.

Demanding jobs, they shouted slogans outside the guest house where Ms. Gandhi was staying during her visit to the constituency.

The workers alleged that the textiles and carpets factory was non-operational for the past eight to nine months. “We met Soniaji but she did not give any assurance saying the matter is sub judice and she could not do anything as of now,” said Ranjana Tiwari, a factory worker.
She said 900 women were employed in the factory. “We will campaign against Sonia (Gandhi) if the factory is not made operational,” she added.
A delegation of ITI staff also met Ms. Gandhi. to read .

* CCEA clears implementation of 21 textile parks:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the implementation of 21 integrated textile parks envisaging an investment of Rs 819 crore over the next five years.

“The CCEA approved implementation and issuing financial sanction to the 21 parks sanctioned in the 11th Plan and to carry over the committed liability beyond Rs 200 crore amounting to Rs 819 crore into the 12th Plan (2012-17), in amendment of the approval granted by the CCEA in October 2010,” according to an official statement.
The CCEA further approved the adoption of amendments in guidelines of the scheme to improve implementation, it said. read more.

* Adidas lowers 2012 sales goal on Reebok woes:

Germany’s Adidas lowered its sales forecast for 2012 on Thursday due to weaker than expected business at its Reebok and Rockport brands as it reported in line third-quarter profits.

The world’s second largest sports apparel firm said it now expected 2012 sales to increase at a high single-digit rate, compared to a previous expectation for almost 10 per cent.
It reported third quarter operating profit of 494 million euros and sales of 4.17 billion euros ($5.3 billion), in line with analyst expectations for 490 million euros and 4.16 billion. to read.

18:41:21 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile mill fire: Equipment worth millions destroyed:

A textile mill in Block B of North Nazimabad was gutted after a fire broke out inside its premises. While no deaths or injuries to anyone was reported, machinery and merchandise worth millions of rupees went up in smoke.

Five fire tenders arrived at the site and it took firefighters almost two hours to douse the fire. The mill had been closed down several years ago and a large quantity of merchandise and machinery were stocked inside, according to the firefighters. They added that people living in the area were evacuated from their homes in order to avoid any untoward incident.
The cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained. to read.

* Inspection of garments, chemical industries demanded:

Representative organisations of trade unions and labour rights organisations on Thursday urged the government to immediately start the health and safety inspections of all chemical and garments factories in Pakistan through provincial labour departments.

Addressing a joint press conference, labour leaders including, Karamat Ali (Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Noor Muhammad (Port Workers Federation), Muhammad Jafar Khan (Muttahida Labour Federation) and Nasir Mansoor (National Trade Union Federation) pointed out that the government through Commerce Ministry has provided millions of rupees funds to many garments exporting factories for seeking SA-8000 certification through international organisations.

This certification is being considered a substitute of the inspection and audit by labour departments. The official inspection is actually banned in Sindh and Punjab on orders of chief ministers for many years, they said.

They said that the Italian company RINA, which had issued Social Audit certificate to Ali Enterprises as well as other certification companies, has also issued similar SA-8000 certificates to over 100 exporting companies in Pakistan.

They demanded that the government start audit and inspection of all these companies first to ascertain health and safety facilities available in these industries. Under the Factories Act 1934, labour departments need to conduct inspection of all the industries to ensure availability of all conducive facilities in these establishments.
read more.

* Workers want industries inspection resumed:

Workers’ representatives have demanded that health and safety-related inspections of industries, which have been abandoned for the past many years, be resumed immediately to prevent Baldia-like industrial tragedies in future.

Speaking at a press conference at the press club on Thursday, the representatives of various labour and civil society organisations demanded that the labour department conduct inspections of garment-exporting companies, which had sought social audit certifications from the international inspections companies.

Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) said the commerce ministry had provided millions of rupees to many garment-exporting factories for seeking SA-8000 certification through international organisations. “This certification is being considered as a substitute for the inspection and audit by the labour department,” he said.

He said that some international organisations working for the rights of workers such as Clean Clothes Campaign were also forcing international buyers to fulfil their responsibility and compensate the workers as some of international buyers did in countries like Bangladesh and Turkey. The Clean Clothes Campaign with labour rights organisations of Pakistan had identified a major buyer that was purchasing garments from Ali Enterprises and that buyer was being persuaded to fulfil its responsibility. While actual responsibility was on the owners of the Ali Enterprises, the international buyers also had some obligations to fulfil, he added. read more.

* Labour bodies demand audits, inspections of factories:

Representative organisations of trade unions and labour rigahts organisations on Thursday urged the government to immediately start the health and safety inspections of all chemical and garments factories in Pakistan through the provincial labour departments.

They stressed that the exercise should focus on garments-exporting factories which exported their goods and had sought social audit certifications from international inspection companies.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, the labour leaders, including Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Noor Mohammad of the Port Workers Federation, Mohammad Jafar Khan of the Muttahida Labour Federation, and Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, pointed out that the government of Pakistan through the commerce ministry had provided millions of rupees’ funds to many garments-exporting factories for seeking SA-8000 certification through international organisations. read more.

* Textile mills opt for large cotton purchases:

Within the last couple of weeks or so, Pakistani mills have reportedly purchased around one million bales of cotton, both imported and from the local market.

With whopping yarn sales, particularly to China, but also including other destinations, domestic mills went on a buying spree of cotton to hedge their yarn sales, some of which may be for forward months running into the first quarter of January, 2013.

Furthermore, lint prices for the finer grades which reportedly reached a recent peak of Rs 6,250, some say even Rs 6,300 per maund in a few instances, have now relented by about Rs 200 or even Rs 250 per maund giving impetus to the mills to carry on their larger purchases of cotton for the time being. read more.

* 15 million cotton bales expected in Pakistan this year:

Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir has said that Pakistan would witness bumper cotton crop this year, expectedly a total of 15 million bales.  
He has described it as a phenomenal outcome of the Free Market policy of the government, which has also ensured record cotton prices to the farmers over the last three years.  

While appreciating the government for keeping intact the free market mechanism in the larger interest of all stakeholders including growers, ginners and millers, Ahsan said APTMA has had been on the front foot for advocating free market mechanism to maximum resource transfer to the farm sector annually. read more.

    THE KARACHI FIRE:

* Information cells set up to handle complaints from families of victims:

This file photo shows the extent of damage that was caused to the factory by the fire. It’s been over two months yet there is still no official record of how many people were present when the fire broke out.
Filling a vacuum left by the government and law enforcement agencies, labour rights organisations have now set up information points for victims of the Baldia factory fire incident.

Despite the passage of almost two months, no official record exists of the number of people who worked at the factory and how many of them were present when the fire broke out.
The information cells would perhaps help nearly 70 families, who are awaiting the dreaded confirmation that their loved ones died in the fire.
“We believe that dozens of workers are still missing because their bodies have not been recovered, or [probably] melted due to the high temperature,” said Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at a press conference on Thursday.
A total of 259 people lost their lives in the country’s worst industrial disaster on September 11. Investigating officer Jahanzaib Khan had earlier told The Express Tribune that the actual death toll might be higher, as officials had not been allowed to visit the factory’s administration block, which survived the fire.
Police have received over 100 complaints about people gone missing in the factory fire.
Ali said that 61 workers were still missing, while Edhi morgue was awaiting DNA test results for 27 unidentified bodies. read more.

map of Asia

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

CHINA
* China’s textile industry faces poor export growth
* The Trading Power, Part I: A Decade of Fastest Development
* The Trading Power, Part II: Eastern Boom Lightens Western Gloom

PHILIPPINES
* Exec says rise in child labor numbers alarming
* Mounting strikes, protests caused by Cheap Labor Policy

VIET NAM
* Garment makers see orders from Japan increase
* Workers strike after worm found in lunchmeal

THAILAND
* PM urged to delay considering minimum wage rise by one month
* Huge steps for Payless ShoeSource

INDONESIA
* Workers’ Sweeping and Intimidation Prompt 100 Factories to Lock-out
* Outsourcing policy in doubt

BANGLA DESH
* Reopen Hall-Mark factories: Workers
* Lack of infrastructure hampers Bangladesh RMG exports
* Clustering will benefit Bangladesh apparel & textile units

INDIA
* 90 per cent of textile units yet to pay bonus
* Weavers take out protest against power outage
* Closed factory workers give vent to ire against Sonia
* CCEA clears implementation of 21 textile parks
* Adidas lowers 2012 sales goal on Reebok woes

PAKISTAN
* Textile mill fire: Equipment worth millions destroyed
* Inspection of garments, chemical industries demanded
* Workers want industries inspection resumed
* Labour bodies demand audits, inspections of factories
* Textile mills opt for large cotton purchases
* 15 million cotton bales expected in Pakistan this year
* THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Information cells set up to handle complaints from families of victims

The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 12 November 2012.

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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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