in the news on-line, 16 November 2012

23:50:55 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Minimising employer liability for subcontracted employees:

Many companies, for a number of sound reasons, use workers employed through subcontractor agreements with third-party employers. Such agreements can allow a company to meet short-term needs without the burden of actually employing the workers.

However, if companies do not fully understand the applicable Thai law, they may unwittingly submit themselves to increased liabilities including the possibility they could be considered the actual employer of the subcontracted employees. This could result in a significant negative financial impact on operations. This article provides guidance on how to minimise potential liabilities arising from subcontractor relationships.

When it comes to potential liabilities for subcontracted employees, the primary consideration is whether to class an entity as the actual employer of the subcontracted employees. In an effort to address a consistent problem of inequality in wages and benefits between company employees and subcontracted employees at the same work sites, parliament enacted Section 5(3) of the Labour Protection Act (LPA) in 1998 to define clearly what constitutes an employer. Section 5(3) provides as follows:  read more.

23:50:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Faintings continue apace:

More than 50 workers from four garment factories in the capital’s Vattanac Industrial Park 2 had fainted yesterday, police said, but a union representative put the figure at more than 200 – which is the number who collapsed at the same site just a day earlier.

Ouk Ly, chief of police in Dangkor district’s Krang Pongro commune, said yesterday the latest incident happened about 7am in all but one of the factories that experienced workers fainting on Wednesday.
“The workers from four of the five factories where hundreds fainted [the day before], fainted again when they arrived at work,” he said.

Free Trade Union officer Oum Lina said her officials estimated as many as 600 had fainted over the two days.
“There were about 300 workers who fainted this morning. They were sent to the hospitals and some went to their homes,” she said. read more.

* ILO slams kingdom on union record:

People place incense in front of a framed portrait of slain labour rights leader Chea Vichea on the anniversary of his death in January 2010. Chea Vichea, who was president of the Free Trade Union, was gunned down in broad daylight on a street in Phnom Penh in 2004. Photograph: Sovan Philong/Phnom Penh Post

Adding to a growing list of foreign groups to censure the Cambodian government in the lead-up to the ASEAN Summit, the International Labour Organization yesterday ranked Cambodia among the biggest violators of the right to freedom of association.

The Cambodia section of the report, which collated 32 complaints from 21 countries earlier this month, was filed by the International Trade Union Confederation — an umbrella federation with no local affiliates.

Focusing on the murders of three trade unionists — Chea Vichea, Ros Sovannarith and Hy Vuthy —which occurred in January, 2004, May, 2004 and February, 2007, respectively, the report highlights the lack of appropriate judicial investigation in the interim.

None of the cases listed in the report, which include assaults on unionists in 2008 and arrests of activists in 2006, post-date 2010.

“As a general matter regarding all the subsequent issues, the Committee once again strongly urges the Government to take measures to ensure that the trade union rights of all workers in Cambodia are fully respected and that trade unionists are able to exercise their activities in a climate free of intimidation and risk to their personal security and their lives, and that of their families,” it notes. read more.

00:50:55 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Apindo Says a 44% Wage Increase in Jakarta Means Lay-Offs:

The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) has warned that increasing the minimum wage by 44 percent in Jakarta would mean lay-offs.

“The government forgets that by taking a populist decision, employers will suffer losses,” Apindo chairman SofjanWanandi told Beritasatu.com on Thursday. “As a consequence, employers will have to lay off workers.”
Sofjan criticized the decision of the Jakarta Wage Council on Wednesday to agree with worker demands and propose a minimum wage of Rp 2.2 million per month for next year, saying it failed to consider the side of the employers.
“I think the Wage Council should be dismissed as our proposal was not even heard,” Sofjan said. read more.

* Jakarta Council Recommends 44% Minimum Wage Increase:

The Jakarta Wage Council decided late on Wednesday night to recommend a massive 44 percent increase in next year’s minimum wage, much to the dismay of business representatives.   

If approved, this would mean Jakarta workers should next year receive no less than Rp 2,216,243 ($230) per month.

“The calculation of the 2013 minimum wage was based on the worker living standard, regional living standard, Indonesia’s projected economic growth in 2013, projected inflation rate and Reasonable Living Cost Index,” said Dedet Sukendar, the head of the Jakarta Wage Council and also the head of Jakarta’s Manpower and Transmigration Agency.

The amount is higher than the Reasonable Living Cost Index (KHL) in Jakarta that was recently set at Rp 1,978,789 — 30 percent higher than the 2012 benchmark of Rp 1,497,838 — but Dedet said the proposed figure was deemed the best for both employers and workers.   read more.

22:50:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* 15 hurt as cops charge baton on RMG workers:

At least 15 people were injured when police baton-charged garment workers who were fighting with ansar personnel at Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar Thursday morning.

The workers also blocked Chandra-Bypail road in front of the DEPZ for an hour from 9:00am, Moktar Hossain, deputy director of Industrial police, told The Daily Star.
The conflict ensured around 8:30am when on duty ansar members barred a pregnant worker of D-Stylet garment from entering the DEPZ area by a rickshaw-van and also misbehaved with her, the deputy director said.

When the news spread, the workers of D-Stylet rushed to the spot and locked in a quarrel with the ansar members that led to the clash, he added.
At one stage, a group of workers also blocked the road.
On information, Industrial and Ashulia police rushed to the spot, charged batons on the workers and managed to free the road around 10:00am, Moktar said. to read.

* ‘Token’ penalty slapped on 6 Hallmark cos:

The National Board of Revenue has fined six companies of the Hallmark Group a ‘token’ amount for not filing income tax returns after they had taken taxpayer’s identification numbers.
Only 14 of the 34 companies of the group took TINs from Companies Circle 134 of Tax Zone 7 of the board and have never submitted income tax returns, revenue board officials said.
The tax administration has recently imposed the token amount of Tk 5,000 in penalty on the six Hallmark Group companies although it could impose a higher amount for not submitting the tax returns, they said. read more.

22:20:55 local time map of india INDIA

* Young girls forced to slog for longer hours in garment factories:

A former employee pours out tales in front of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights

Girls aged between 16-18 years from Andhra Pradesh are being brought to Bangalore in large numbers to work in garment factories, guarded in hostels and paid a pittance.

This was revealed by an activist Yashoda, while airing grievances in front of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) on Saturday.

Yashoda, a former garment factory worker and an activist said that girls were brought from villages in Andhra Pradesh and housed in hostels under guard. “They are taken to the factory every morning and brought back in the evening. They are not allowed to go anywhere and they cannot speak to anyone as they do not know the language. They get paid Rs 1,500 per month which is below minimum wages and they are returned back to AP after a period of one year. This is a form of bonded labour and we have heard of cases of sexual exploitation as well,” she said.

She named three companies, Bombay Rayon, Wonder Blues and Choice Apparels, all located in and around Mysore Road, as the factories where this was practiced. Nearly 150 such girls are said to be in the factories. read more.

* Textile sector worst hit as power crisis worsens in Erode:

The power crisis in Erode district worsened this month with most parts experiencing power cuts ranging from 12 to 16 hours a day. Deepavali was the only day during this month when people had power for little over 20 hours.

Disruptions
The frequent disruptions in power supply had led to the closure of many small scale units, particularly in the textile sector.
More than 60 per cent of the power looms in the district, which employ over 50,000 workers directly, had shut down their operations as the power crisis took a turn for the worse in the State. “These units cannot afford to own a generator and use it for their operations. So their owners sent the workers home and closed operations,” points out the Confederation of Indian Powerloom Industries president M.S. Mathivanan.

“Many small scale industries that functioned despite the long hours of power cuts have scaled down their operations. A majority of them are utilising only 20 to 25 per cent of their installed capacity by using generators.
Utilising 100 per cent of the capacity using generators will increase the cost of production sharply,” says Erode District Small Industries Association President K.P. Ravichandar.

The absence of power for several hours also affected the dairy industry, another major industry in the district. Most of the units reported a fall in the sales as retailers are facing problems in storing the milk products. read more.

22:20:55 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

 * Going global:

MAS Holdings – one of the leading apparel manufacturing companies in the country confirmed that it would expand amanté brand footprint in the Asian markets in the near future.

Speaking exclusively to Ceylon FT, MAS Holdings and amanté Director, Ajay Amalean, said: “With the successful operations and response the brand received, we now expect to explore the Malaysian, Singapore and Indonesian markets in the near future.”
Explaining further he said, “Expanding from four stores, today the company has made the brand available in more than 400 outlets across India gaining US$ 5 million in revenue and 30+% average year-to-year (YOY) turnover growth in India.”

“At present amanté is placed second amongst India’s modern trade retail partners. During this five years, the venture amanté, has become first in the quality lingerie products market in India and has engulfed 30% – 40% of market share performing phenomenally well,” Amalean added.
Commenting on the prevailing economic environment, Ajay said the budget proposal has no major impact on the apparel sector, especially on the amanté brand and that at the same time e-business, which was limited to India, was to be implemented in Sri Lanka as well.   read more.

map of Asia

INFORMATION:

* The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 19 NOvember 2012,

* Other (labour) news, than about garment and textile industry, via twitter: @asearcher2

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

HEADLINES TODAY:

THAILAND
* Minimising employer liability for subcontracted employees

CAMBODIA
* Faintings continue apace
* ILO slams kingdom on union record

INDONESIA
* Apindo Says a 44% Wage Increase in Jakarta Means Lay-Offs
* Jakarta Council Recommends 44% Minimum Wage Increase

BANGLA DESH
* 15 hurt as cops charge baton on RMG workers
* ‘Token’ penalty slapped on 6 Hallmark cos

INDIA
* Young girls forced to slog for longer hours in garment factories
* Textile sector worst hit as power crisis worsens in Erode

SRI LANKA
* Going global

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