in the news on-line, 11-12 November 2012

22:05:49 local time map of china CHINA

* Chinese textile exports grow, but loses market share:

Export scenario for China’s clothing and textile industry does not seem to be positive, which can be seen in that the industry posted a meagre growth during initial nine months of the current year, Gao Yong, Vice President of the China Textile Industry Association said.

According to the data provided by association, indicative of a rise of 1.04 percent, the sector’s exports for first three quarters of the current year grew to US$ 192.69 billion.
In spite of an overall rise in its clothing and textile exports, China experienced a decline in its share in key foreign markets, which necessitates a more rational analysis of the actual problems faced by the industry, Mr. Gao said during a national textile conference. read more.

* Apparel enterprises hit a rough patch in diversification:

A large apparel group in Zhejiang Province recently announced to step into the home furnishing sector.
In fact, as early as several years ago, a good many apparel enterprises had already set foot in diversified operations by investing in those golden industries like real estate, equity, high technology and new energy, in hopes of finding a new profit growth contributor.
However, only few enterprises eventually realized transformation through diversified operations, while most failed. More and more apparel enterprises have determined to return to their main business, which also is not easy presently.
The extensive operation mode of clothing industry has already been replaced by intensive one, and high profit has shifted to low profit. The intensification of market will wash out those enterprises lack of awareness and innovation in operation, products and management. Enterprises will encounter with challenges against their integrated strength while returning to the main business sector. to read.

21:05:49 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Salary not enough for 50% minimum living cost:

According to a survey by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) on around 2,000 workers, their salary is not enough to cover minimum monthly living expenses.

These workers are from 60 State-owned enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises in 12 provinces and cities in northern, central and southern Vietnam, said Dang Quang Hop, a senior expert of the Institute for Workers – Trade Union under VGCL.

As shown in the survey, the average basic income, which consists of the contractual salary and allowances, of workers in the surveyed State-owned enterprises was VND3 million (US$144), while it was only less than VND2.4 million in foreign-invested enterprises. read more.

* Local firms leave home soil to int’l players:

While a number of Vietnamese businesses have had to dissolve or declare bankruptcy after failing to withstand the economic turbulence, many foreign-invested companies have expanded operations and increasingly taken more market share in the staple export commodities of the country.

FDI businesses account for some 60 percent of the US$12 billion worth of export turnovers of textile and garment in the year to October, said Dang Thi Phuong Dung, deputy chairwoman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (Vitas).

South Korea now tops the list of foreign countries with the highest investment in the Vietnamese textile and garment sectors, according to Vitas. read more.

* Chinese firm inks JV for textile plant in Vietnam:

Chinese textile firm Sunrise Shengzhou has inked a joint venture agreement with Vietnam-based Thien Nam Investment and Development JSC to facilitate establishment of a joint venture weaving, knitting plant in Bao Minh Industrial Park in northern Nam Dinh Province in North Vietnam.
Establishment of the new facility – Thien Nam Sunrise Textiles JSC, would necessitate an investment of US$ 24 million, Viet Nam News reported.
 The plant would have a capacity to produce one million metres of woven fabrics and 300 tons of knitting fabrics per month, it added. read more.

* Imported bras not harmful to women:

The liquid solution and small white particles found in imported bras that allegedly caused skin irritations are not harmful to women, announced the Ha Noi Market Watch Department yesterday.

The announcement was made after tests carried out on the bras by the Criminological Institute under the Police’s Anti-Crime Department.
The viscous sticky liquid solution found in the bras was determined to be seal oil and the white particles were polystyrene composite, all were not harmful to humans, said vice head of the department Vuong Tri Dung.

Late last month, the detection of the mystery liquid and particles in cheap imported bras on sale at local markets caused public concern. The city’s market watch department confiscated hundreds of bras in Dong Xuan Market and from shops on Hang Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District. read more.

* US$24 ml to be invested in weaving, knitting plant:

Thien Nam Investment and Development JSC and Sunrise Shangzhou textile company of China have inked a joint venture agreement to establish Thien Nam Sunrise Textile JSC.

The joint venture will build a factory in Bao Minh Industrial Park in northern Nam Dinh province at a cost of US$24 million, with a capacity of 1 million metres of woven fabrics and 300 tonnes of knitting fabrics a month.
Thien Nam is a leading spinning enterprise in Vietnam, owning four spinning factories with a yarn production capacity of 25,000 tonnes per year.
Over 70 percent of its products are exported to overseas markets such as Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and China.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 10/11.

21:05:49 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Big Star set to build factory out of Thailand:

Big Star might set up its first overseas factory in a neighbouring country, either Myanmar or Vietnam, as high labour costs in Thailand make its Gambol footwear uncompetitive in markets abroad.

“We want to look for a new overseas factory, which will be our base in exporting to markets with potential, especially Asean, which will serve the opening of the region as one single market, especially when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is fully effective in 2015,” Surachai Kitkamjai, deputy managing director, said last week.

The criteria include human resources and labour conditions, as well as the overall economic situation and political stability in the country. Vietnam, for example, can offer cheaper labour at about US$100 (Bt3,075) per month. read more.

* FREE SOMYOT FEARLESS ONLINE CAMPAIGN:

Show your support and help to free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk from arbitrary detention! Let your voices be heard.

Please show your support for Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist and human rights defenders, for his family and for freedom of expression in Thailand, which is your human right as well!
You can do this by:
1. Write “Free Somyot” on a piece of paper or on your palm
2. Take a photo of yourself holding the poster/your palm with the words clearly showed
3. Upload this photo to Free Somyot Facebook page

Every photo counts and will help to support Somyot in his struggle for justice, and to uphold freedom of expression for everyone in Thailand.

Free Somyot Now!
ปล่อยสมยศพฤกษาเกษมสุข เดี๋ยวนี้
To Read.

* Week 74 of the prolonged detention:

Dear P’Yot,
A week has passed and I were delighted to see your hand-made bag when I visited you last Tuseday. I have never known your handicraft skills and didn’t realize that you could do this thing.
It’s just a practice so the stiches were inconsistent, anyway there’re still some room for improvement. You said it was a way to spend plenty of time in prison which I couldn’t agree with you more and encouraged you to do this kind of thing. Trust me, I promised to buy you a sewing machine when you released. read more.

22:05:49 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Judge Accused of Stalling Labor Dispute Case:

A legal aid foundation has accused an Industrial Relations Court judge of intentionally stalling a case.

Judge Bernard was accused by the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) of purposely delaying a case involving 1,300 former Panarub Dwikarya employees.

The company, which produces sports shoes for Adidas, Specs and Mizuno, had laid off 1,300 workers after they staged a protest in July demanding the company raise their Idul Fitri allowance, which they deemed too small compared to their contribution to the company.

This demand was fueled by a working system change in the company a month earlier. The new system required a single worker to perform the job of three, giving them almost no time for meal or prayer breaks.

“The workers were required to produce 150 pairs of shoes per hour. It was difficult because the workers had hardly any time to eat their lunch or to perform their prayers or even to take a very short break,” said Rudi H.B. Darman, chairman of the Indonesian Labor Association Movement. read more.

* Indonesia strikes spread over low wages:

Employers threaten to close their Bata shoes factories as a wave of labour disputes spread across the country.

Employers in Indonesia are threatening to close their factories as a wave of strikes spreads across the country.
The workers say they deserve a bigger share from the country’s growing economy.  Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from one paralysed shoe plant in West Java.
see more-video.

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:

1. Six provinces adopt wage hike, others to follow suit. Read the full article here.
2. Outsourcing policy in doubt. Read the full article here.
3. Labors Demand For IDR2 Million Minimum Wage. Read the full article here.
4. Indonesia Economy to Lose Some Shine as Q3 Growth Slows.
Read the full article here.
5. Asia plays strong role to save world`s economy. Read the full article here .
6. RI needs to lure more export-oriented investors: Official. Read the full article here.
7. ASEAN to launch a new regional FTA with its partners. Read the full article here.

BetterWork Indonesia overview.

20:05:49 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* 81.5pc engaged in worst form of child labour in Bangladesh:

US Department of Labour says 81.5 per cent of the total working 3.7 million (10.1 per cent) children in Bangladesh are engaged in the worst form of child labour including agriculture and domestic services.

The 11th edition of the annual “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour”, a report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 that provides information on the efforts of certain US trade beneficiary countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, said recently.

However, the report excluded the country’s readymade garments (RMG) industry, the main export revenue earner of the country, from the list of the sectors suspected of producing goods with child labour. read more.

* Big-name stores urge Bangladesh govt to raise ‘slave wages’:

Some of Britain’s biggest retailers are urging the Bangladeshi government to boost the pitiful wages of workers who make clothes for their customers.

Bosses of major stores including Tesco, Gap and Marks & Spencer are pressing leaders of the poverty-stricken country to improve pay for ‘sweatshop’ staff, who earn as little as 13p an hour.
A number of firms have held talks with Bangladeshi officials and sent a joint letter calling for action after violent factory protests.
They fear the disturbances are damaging their brand image.

Since the start of the year there have been several demonstrations by garment workers in Bangladesh, leading to ugly scenes.
Around 100,000 fought with police in an industrial area outside the capital Dhaka last month. A worker was reportedly killed and 50 were injured.
Riot police clashed with factory staff who were angry at a decision to slash wages at two plants making clothes for BHS. read more.

* Govt allows extension of RMG overtime hours:

The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) in a notification recently allowed the RMG factory owners to extend its current two hours overtime limit to four hours so that exports from the country are not hampered.

According to the notification the factory owners would be able to engage the willing workers only to work for overtime.
The MoLE has stayed the existing labour law of 2006 (article 100 and 102) for six months and has issued the new circular to facilitate export of readymade garments on time.
The RMG factory owners will not be entitled to create pressure on the workers for working over time. read more.

* 30 global brands, retailers in city to establish sustainable factory model:

Senior executives of 30 global brands and retailers arrived in Dhaka Saturday aiming to ensure mutually beneficial development in apparel and footwear sectors by establishing a sustainable factory model.

The executives are visiting the country as the representatives of American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong from the apparel, footwear and textile sectors, a senior trade official told the FE.
During the four-day-long visit, the delegation will discuss different issues including minimum wages, sustainable factory model and infrastructure development with Bangladeshi authorities.

“The delegation will meet leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Sunday (this) morning,” the official said, adding that the delegation is also scheduled to meet the government officials to discuss several topics relating to common interest among the companies.
(…)
Different issues including factory compliance, workers’ welfare and safety are expected to come up in the discussion with the BGMEA leaders.

Periodic review of minimum wages considering national inflation and the consumer price index for ensuring sustainability in the readymade garment sector of Bangladesh will also be tabled during the meeting, a BGMEA official said. read more.

* Bangladesh global buyers’ first choice:

Over two dozens of renowned global buyers on Sunday said Bangladesh is their first choice for garment sourcing in the wake of China’s shift from the RMG to other industries.

“Bangladesh is our first choice…the country has a long history of producing readymade garments,” said Richard Vuylsteke, leader of the visiting buyers’ team, after a meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office on Sunday.

“Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar are the other alternatives,” he said.
The global buyers came to Dhaka to inspect whether the country’s garment industry is capable enough to handle more orders.

Richard, who is also the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said they are in Dhaka to diversify sourcing, particularly after China’s shift to heavy industries from apparel manufacturing.
“But this projected expansion (of Bangladesh’s industries) is going to be a challenge,” he said.
The Hong Kong-based buyers believe though Bangladesh has a huge potential to grow with its garment industries, it has limitations with its infrastructure, management and productivity skill and safety issues of the factories.
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* Big time for garment:

Top buyers see Bangladesh as China’s alternative for basic garments; delegation in Dhaka for assessment

Leading international buyers have said that Bangladesh is their first choice for sourcing apparel products in the wake of China’s shift from basic garments to other industries.

“Bangladesh is our first choice…the country has a long history of producing readymade garments,” said Richard Vuylsteke, leader of the delegation of international buyers that include more than two dozen global brands and retailers.
“Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar are the other alternatives,” he said after a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office yesterday. read more.

* Govt seeks duty waiver from Turkey for apparel:

Bangladesh yesterday sought withdrawal of the 17.5-percent duty on garment exports to Turkey as the tax measure has hit the country’s sales to the European nation, officials said.

The call came at the opening day meeting of the Fourth Bangladesh-Turkey Joint Economic Commission at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in the city.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who co-chaired the opening session of the meeting, told reporters that he also raised the duty issue in a meeting with the 15-member Turkish delegation led by its Labour and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik.

Turkey will also give Bangladesh a $300 million credit for oil import, the finance minister said.
“Our garment export [to the country] has gone down because of the duty. The issue will be discussed at the commission’s meeting,” Muhith said. read more.

19:35:49 local time map of india INDIA

* Once abused, 700 children set to become agents of change:

Life was never promising for 13-year-old Suraj, a tribal, till he was rescued from a Bt cotton field in Banaskantha in Gujarat a year ago.

Suraj had migrated to Gujarat in the winter of 2010 to support his family, unaware that he along with many other children were sold by a middleman for five years.

He could hardly make out the difference between days and nights as both were spent working tirelessly in solitary confinement.

His days of drudgery ended one midnight amid heavy rain and lightning. “I woke up with someone screaming ‘open the door’. I was a bit scared and asked another labourer beside me to open the gate. That day we found our way out of the world of misery,” he recalled. read more.

 * PK Vasudeva: Don’t abandon genetically modified organism (GM):

The interim report of the Technical Expert Committee appointed by the SC for help in hearing a petition to ban genetically modified organism makes a lot of sense – except on three counts

Public opposition has been building up ever since the field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops, like GM corn, of multinational seed companies had started in the public-sector research stations in various states, including Haryana. A set of organisations calling themselves the Alliance for GM Free Haryana met the state Agriculture Minister Paramvir Singh in September, and requested him to stop all open-air field trials in the state.
In their submission they argued that there is growing scientific evidence on the negative impact of GM crops on human health and environment. Concerns were also raised that seed companies were taking control of the seed sector using their proprietary GM seeds, as in the case of Bt Cotton, the only commercially cultivated GM crop in India. read more.

* Pranab Mukherjee stresses on support to handloom sector:

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred 20 Shilp Guru Awards, 18 Sant Kabir Awards along with 74 National Awards to master craftspersons and master weavers at a function in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, President Shri Pranab Mukherjee congratulated all the awardees for their “contribution in preserving, promoting and enriching the traditional and cultural heritage of our country.”
The President was also confident that the recognition to the awardees will “inspire and encourage others to work hard and emulate your efforts to bring prosperity to artisans and weavers across the country.”

Shri Mukherjee said that the government should provide enabling policy support which can lead to sustainable growth of the handloom and handicraft sectors. “There is a need to be aware of the emerging challenges and also the opportunities presented by the changing global environment…we have to adapt to the changes that are taking place not only within the country but also globally,” said Shri Mukherjee.  read more.

* “Maharashtra, Gujarat invite textile investments”:

The textile industry in Tamil Nadu can look for options in States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat if it wants to expand its production base to other States.

Maharashtra and Gujarat governments have come out with textile policies to encourage investment in their States. The features of the policies were explained to textile mill owners here at a meeting organised by the Southern India Mills’ Association recently.
The textile units should not have problems in areas such as power if they invested in Maharashtra, Sunil Porwal, Secretary for Textiles, Government of Maharashtra, told The Hindu.
In the western State, it is a problem of cost and not availability of power. read more.

* Tesco voices concern over entry into Indian retail market:

The global retail giant Tesco has expressed concern over sourcing conditions of Indian Government for foreign trade investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail sector.

Tesco said it is not an easy task for the foreign retailers to enter into the Indian market and the company needs to study these conditions of FDI before opening retail stores in the country.
Tesco has a franchise arrangement with Trent, the retail segment of Tata group, since 1998 and the company sources around US $500 million worth of goods every year from India including apparels. read more.

19:05:49 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

 * Korean govt grants US$5mn to help Pakistan textile sector:

Aiming to help Pakistan introduce reforms in its key textile sector, South Korean Government has extended US$ 5 million help to the Textile University of Faisalabad to enable it to start new courses on latest trends in textiles.
Contributing about 57 percent to the country’s overall exports, textiles is one of the key industries of Pakistan, and the South Korean Government’s gesture would prove to be of great help in its upgradation, Pakistan Federal Secretary Textiles, Shahid Rashid said while addressing Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) members. read more.

* Cotton prices: Textile mill owners accused of creating panic in market:

Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA)’s chairman Hamesh Kumar has said that The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) and Monopoly Control Authority (MCA) should take notice of the cartel of Textile mill owners to create panic in the local market to bring down cotton prices to stock cheaper raw material through cartelisation and giving wrong reports of importing cotton from China and India.

Ginners should not lend ear to negative rumours, which may cause huge losses. In a press statement issued here on Saturday, Hamesh Kumar said that one of the textile sectors is trying to create panic in the local cotton market to exploit the situation. read more.

    THE KARACHI FIRE:

* More than 100 families yet to receive compensation:

The families of around 185 victims of a Baldia garments factory fire have received monetary compensation, and the rest numbering more than 100 are still waiting to be paid, according to a labour leader.

The government is yet to release a list of families which have been paid compensation for the loss of their loved ones in the September 11 blaze. Most victims were the sole breadwinner for their families.
Two months have passed but the exact number of labourers who lost their lives in the Category III blaze is yet to be determined. The government has put the death toll as 259, whereas some labour organisations claim the figure is up to 300.

The general secretary of the Garments Hosiery Labour Association, Nawab Ali, said on Friday that around 185 affected families had been compensated so far. However, he said efforts were being made to get a list to ascertain the exact number of families that had received compensation.
Ali said there were several families which took away the bodies of their beloved ones from the factory, Ali Enterprises, without fulfilling legal requirements, and there were some families which buried the deceased but did not have the burial record issued by the KMC. 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
* Chinese textile exports grow, but loses market share
* Apparel enterprises hit a rough patch in diversification

VIET NAM
* Salary not enough for 50% minimum living cost
* Local firms leave home soil to int’l players
* Chinese firm inks JV for textile plant in Vietnam
* Imported bras not harmful to women
* US$24 ml to be invested in weaving, knitting plant

THAILAND
* Big Star set to build factory out of Thailand
* FREE SOMYOT FEARLESS ONLINE CAMPAIGN
* Week 74 of the prolonged detention

INDONESIA
* Judge Accused of Stalling Labor Dispute Case
* Indonesia strikes spread over low wages
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update

BANGLA DESH
* 81.5pc engaged in worst form of child labour in Bangladesh
* Big-name stores urge Bangladesh govt to raise ‘slave wages’
* Govt allows extension of RMG overtime hours
* 30 global brands, retailers in city to establish sustainable factory model
* Bangladesh global buyers’ first choice
* Big time for garment
* Govt seeks duty waiver from Turkey for apparel

INDIA
* Once abused, 700 children set to become agents of change
* PK Vasudeva: Don’t abandon genetically modified organism (GM)
* Pranab Mukherjee stresses on support to handloom sector
* “Maharashtra, Gujarat invite textile investments”
* Tesco voices concern over entry into Indian retail market

PAKISTAN
* Korean govt grants US$5mn to help Pakistan textile sector
* Cotton prices: Textile mill owners accused of creating panic in market
* THE KARACHI FIRE:
* More than 100 families yet to receive compensation

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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
    David Crosby

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
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2