in the news on-line, 12 December 2012

08:32:03 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* KMU bats for wage hike bill’s passage before Christmas:

At a press conference this morning, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the country’s legislators to immediately pass a bill that will legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide before Christmas, saying the wage increase is one of the best gifts that workers could receive this Yuletide season.

Citing the Social Weather Stations’ third-quarter survey showing hunger increasing to 21 per cent, the labor group said workers urgently need some form of immediate relief from the rising prices of basic goods and services.

It also cited the International Labor Organization’s “Global Wage Report 2012/13” which say that Filipino workers’ wages are significantly smaller compared with those of many countries, and that a third of Filipino workers remain under the $2-a-day poverty line in the world. read more.

07:32:03 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vinatex to sell non-core operations:

The Viet Nam Textile and Garment (Vinatex) Group plans next year to continue divesting capital from non-core lines of business such as banking, securities investment and beverage production, according to the newspaper Dau Tu (Investment).

Vinatex will renew its focus on such core business areas as fibre production, knitting, dyeing and garment production. It will withdraw its investments from Sai Gon-Quang Ngai Beer Joint Stock Co and Gia Lam Garment Engineering Co, after selling shares at Dong A Textile Garment Joint Stock Co, offering its shares in these companies on the nation’s stock exchanges on December 28. read more.

07:32:03 local time map of laos LAOS

* Businessmen to involve in investment in Lao silk production:

 Lao silk approaches crisis due to a low number of sericulture-and-mulberry raisers but a high market demand

The investment of business sector should take more involvement in mulberry and sericulture cultivation after raisers are going downward.
Lao silk comes near crisis when so many local raisers who relying on planting mulberry and producing sericulture have shift to other cultivation of lucrative plants while market demand is high. read more.

07:32:03 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Group calls on govt to help SMEs:

Thai Lifestyle Products Federation (TLPF) is urging the government to set up a fund for helping out small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been severely hurt by the Bt300-minimum wage scheme.

So far, more than 100 small firms have had to close down due to higher costs.
The federation said it expected up to 100 SMEs to go out of business every year if the government failed to offer any assistance. read more.

* Wage hike measures to be proposed:

The Labour Ministry will propose that the government help the business sector pay the difference between the old wage rate and the new Bt300 minimum wage for three years, labour permanent secretary Dr Somkiat Chayasriwong said yesterday.

Five new measures will be proposed at Friday’s meeting of the committee on alleviating the impact of the nationwide Bt300 minimum wage, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong. read more.

* Wage rise expected to boost sales:

The hike in the daily minimum wage to 300 baht nationwide from Jan 1 will boost the purchasing power of blue-collar workers and benefit the beverage industry.

Next year, new players will push new beverages, especially energy and health drinks.
Serm Suk Plc, the distributor of “est” cola, will promote Wrangyer-brand energy drink, which it recently took over.
Kratingdaeng Co, a top-three market player, will offer a premium-grade Krating Daeng drink.
A market source said competition will intensify in the energy-drink segment next year due to these activities as well as the entry of new players. read more.

* Foreign labour rule ‘will close factories, hit exports’:

Businesses are calling on the government to ease a strict rule that will prohibit factories awarded investment privileges by the Board of Investment from hiring foreign workers.

They warned thousands of factories will close and exports will be hard hit by the rule, due to take effect early next year. According to an export industry source, operators are gravely concerned about the rule as labour-intensive industries are short of workers.
“The key problem is that we don’t have Thai workers who are willing to work in the jobs done by foreign workers,” he said. “If the government strictly abides by the rule, thousands of factories would be subject to closure.”

Another key problem is the Labour Ministry’s mandate for domestic employers to register all foreign workers by Friday.
Myanmar’s authorities have recently asked the Thai government to delay the requirement, believing it was unlikely to process the registration of more than 400,000 Myanmar workers on schedule. read more.

07:32:03 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodian garment workers offer prayers during a rally celebrating International Human Rights Day, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Monday, About 1,000 participants consisting of non-governmental organization activists, garment workers, and international diplomats marched on the street in Phnom Penh, calling for the protection of human rights. Photo: AP.  to read.

* CCHR’s Roundtable Discussion on Business and Human Rights in Garment Sector in Cambodia, at the Imperial Gardens:

CCHR’s Roundtable Discussion on Business and Human Rights in Garment Sector in Cambodia, at the Imperial Gardens Hotel, Phnom Penh, on 12 December 2012. more here.

* Christmas ‘Fashion’ mobs’ for a Living Wage in Cambodia:

Christmas shoppers stand to be taken by suprise this month as campaigners take action in shopping centers around Europe to raise awareness of poverty wages of cambodian workers.
‘Fashion mobs’, they pressure H&M, INDITEX (ZARA), LEVI’S, and GAP to introduce a Living Wage in Cambodia.

Shoppers and brands will be surprised by Christmas street actions and undercover awareness mobs. The fashion mobs take place in at least 10 countries all over Europe, among them Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland and Norway. In addition, the worker’s right network spreads their message through a European-wide social media campaign to ask retailers to improve the appalling wage conditions in the Asian country.

“The very low wages are one of the main challenges for garment workers in Cambodia.
They see themselves forced to work very long hours, they do not earn sufficiently to buy enough nutritious food and are unable to satisfy the needs of their families.
The bottom line is that the workers are paid poverty wages,” says Jeroen Merk of the International Clean Clothes Campaign.

The CCC wants retailers to publicly support the Cambodian trade union’s goal of a USD 131/month minimum wage goal as a first step towards a proper living wage, and to produce an action plan to ensure suppliers pay their workers accordingly. At present, the minimum wage for a garment worker in Cambodia is USD 61/month.

“There is an urgent need for a wage hike for the workers producing for European consumers,” says Athit Kong, Vice President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU). “The retailers have an indisputable role and all big buyers must work together and in true dialogue with independent unions in
Cambodia to improve the wages.” read more. & read more. & read more.

* Action: Send a festive solidarity card:

Garment workers in Cambodia sewing all the festive goodies on sale on our highstreet this Christmas make less than 35p an hour. Low wages come at a high cost.
Workers often live in small shared rooms without water and sanitation. Many are overworked and suffer from malnutrition. As a direct consequence thousands of workers have fainted in the in Cambodian factories. This isn’t on. We’re renewing our demands and sending a Christmas message to H&M, GAP and Zara to ask them to commit to pay a living wage in Cambodia. read more.

06:32:03 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* ASHULIA- TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:

* Burned Bangladesh factory was warned twice on fire safety:

The Bangladeshi factory producing clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc before a November fire that killed 112 workers was operating without a safety licence and had been warned twice to improve conditions there, an emergency services official said.

“We refused to renew the licence because there was a lack of fire safety measures,” Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the Fire Service and Civil Defence told Reuters in Dhaka on Monday.
“The fire safety certification expired on June 30, but the department did not renew it because fire safety provisions had not been put in place,” he said. He added that in July a reminder had been sent to the management of the factory, which is owned by the garments manufacturer Tuba Group.
An official at Tuba Group declined to comment on the status of the licence at the time of the fire.
Mahbubur Rahman, a Fire Service and Civil Defence inspector who visited the utility, said the factory managers “did not respond to our notices and did not pay heed to our suggestions”. read more.

* Inspectors target Ashulia factories:

Three teams to check around 600 plants by Dec 31

A government agency assigned to ensure labour-law compliance will begin inspections of around 600 garment factories in Ashulia today.

Three teams of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments will list compliant and non-compliant factories in the clothing industrial belt by December 31.
“Two inspectors, including an engineer, will be in each team. More teams will be formed if necessary,” said Md Habibul Islam, chief inspector of factories.

“We will also identify the factories that are yet to get licences from us,” said Islam, adding that the drive may expand across the country in phases.
As per law, inspectors can file cases with the labour court for non-compliance.
read more.

* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards:

Vice president of the world’s largest retailer talks about fire safety in Bangladesh

A factory fire that killed more than 100 garment workers in Bangladesh has led the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, to concede that it needs to do more to control its supply chain and keep unauthorised manufacturers out.

In an interview with Reuters, his first since the Nov. 24 Tazreen Fashions fire, Wal-Mart Vice President of Ethical Sourcing Rajan Kamalanathan said the company’s current controls could only go so far in preventing a factory Wal-Mart did not approve of from making its clothes, as was the case here.

“If a supplier or an agent chooses to subcontract without informing us, then that is a problem,” Kamalanathan said. “We can put all kinds of controls in place, but if they don’t tell us where they’re putting our order, then that is a problem.”

Wal-Mart has said repeatedly that its Faded Glory clothing should not have been in production at the Tazreen factory, a facility Bangladeshi authorities said was not safe for use. The building was not cleared to be used by any party manufacturing garments for the world’s largest retailer.

Wal-Mart says that in 2011 alone it audited over 9,000 factories globally to check whether its standards were being met. But still, Wal-Mart acknowledges it only controls its supply chain up to a certain point. If suppliers hired by Wal-Mart in turn hire agents who then line up production, the seemingly tight controls Wal-Mart has put in place can fail.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* all of the above items are more or less a copy of the Reuters article, here.

* Documents link Wal-Mart to gutted firm:

Documents uncovered at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 workers died in a fire two weeks ago indicate that not one but two U.S. apparel makers supplying goods for Wal-Mart were using the factory around the time of the fire.

Two days after the Nov. 24 fire, Wal-Mart said in a statement that it had stopped authorising production at Tazreen and that despite that move, a single supplier, later identified as Success Apparel, had “subcontracted work to this factory without authorisation and in direct violation of our policies”.

The documents found in the factory by officials from the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity show that a subcontractor for an additional Wal-Mart supplier, International Intimates, was having women’s robes and nightgowns made at the factory for Wal-Mart’s winter season. The documents show that the factory was also making women’s nightwear for Sears.

The documents contain a June 2012 e-mail from International Intimates’ subcontractor to officials at the Tazreen factory confirming plans to produce a robe and nightgown for Wal-Mart as well as a robe and pajama set for Sears. The documents also contain a production report from Sept. 13 showing plans to produce 117,000 of these garments for Wal-Mart.

Another document, dated Nov. 24 the date of the fire shows that Tazreen’s parent company, the Tuba Group, billed the subcontractor, I.T. Apparels, for the “chemise & robe” production. read more.

* US blamed for ‘poor’ factory conditions:

An opinion article in the New York Times has blamed the poor safety conditions in Bangladesh garment factories to high American import duties that forces contractors to “scrimp on labour standards to stay competitive”.

“While American officials have condemned poor safety conditions at the factory and have urged the Bangladeshi government to raise wages and improve working conditions, the United States can do much more: It should bring down high tariffs on imports from Bangladesh and other Asian countries, which put pressure on contractors there to scrimp on labor standards in order to stay competitive,” says the NYT article entitled ” American Tariffs, Bangladeshi Deaths” .

The United States imported more than $4 billion worth of apparel and textiles from Bangladesh last year.

“So it has an interest in giving the country’s garment industry some financial room with which to improve conditions for the three million employees, most of them female, who work in the industry,” the article by .Sanchita B.Saxena argues.
read more.

* Bangladesh fire safety to cost retailers $ 3b:

The global garment industry would have to spend about $3 billion over five years to bring safety standards at Bangladesh apparel factories to Western standards, an analysis by a labor-rights group shows.

The analysis, provided to Bloomberg News by the Worker Rights Consortium, comes after a fire at a factory that made garments for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) killed more than 100 people last month. Upgrading the country’s approximately 4,500 factories would cost the garment industry about 10 cents per garment, the group said.

Since the blaze at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory on Nov. 24, Western companies have faced increased calls from labor- rights organizations to pay suppliers higher prices so factory owners can afford safety upgrades. The $3 billion figure, or $600 million per year, represents about 3 percent of the $19 billion the Bangladesh Manufacturers & Exporters Association says Western companies spend annually on manufacturing in Bangladesh.

The Worker Rights Consortium estimates are based on discussions with U.S. fire safety experts and on estimates of local construction costs in Bangladesh, said Scott Nova, the Washington-based group’s executive director. Nova said the figures are “high-end estimates” because the group assumed that all factories need improvements that include fire exits and alarms, emergency lighting and training programs. read more.

*  Why Not Boycott Bangladesh? :

Given the horrific fire at the factory in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers last month, why not boycott companies that make their brand name apparel in Bangladesh?

After all, it wasn’t just that factory in Bangladesh.
Most of the factories that make apparel for U.S. universities and outlets are death traps.
So, why not boycott Bangladesh until they clean up their act?

If it were up to Scott Nova, executive director at the Worker Rights Consortium, that’s what we’d do.
“If it were up to us, we would ask universities to require their licensees not to do business in Bangladesh or Pakistan, for that matter,” Nova told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “But we have been asked not to do that by the unions in Bangladesh.”

“The unions in Bangladesh are dealing with a situation in which this is the primary source of employment for workers in the country. It is 80 percent of the country’s export earnings.
The unions themselves are under enormous political pressure internally. And they have opposed a boycott. So, as a labor rights organization in the U.S., we feel an obligation to act in a manner consistent with the wishes of people who actually represent workers in Bangladesh. Like other labor rights organizations in the U.S. and Europe, we have not called for companies to boycott Bangladesh.
Although, if it were purely up to us, we would advise universities to prohibit their licensees from doing business in Bangladesh until the situation is addressed.”
read more.
 

Photo: DailyStar

OTHER and MORE NEWS:

* Exports rise 11pc in Nov:

Concern over future growth in RMG shipments

The country’s export earnings increased by about 11 percent year-on-year to $1.76 billion in November, thanks to growth in readymade garment shipments.

“Bangladesh’s exports witnessed positive growth as it can offer products at competitive prices,” said Shubhashish Bose, vice-chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Bose also credited the new market explorations and product diversification — thanks to participation in international fairs and opening new missions abroad — for the positive turn of events for Bangladeshi exports.

“We are happy over the positive growth as most countries’ exports are in a negative trajectory due to the debt crisis in Europe.”
The figure, however, fell short of November’s target of $1.99 billion.
In November, overall garment exports stood at $1.36 billion, up 8.8 percent from the same month a year ago. read more. & read more.
 

* Batexpo starts today:

The 23rd annual Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition starts in the capital today to showcase local apparel products before the international buyers within a month of the devastating fire at a garment factory.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the three-day annual exposition at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the morning.
Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders expect more spot orders and buyers at the event this year.
They said that the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited at Ashulia that killed 112 workers would not hamper their business at the exposition.  to read.

* Local textile millers wary as cotton supply in India falls:

The local textile industry could face a disruption in cotton supply as one of its major sources, India, posted a negative growth in production in the current season.

The supplies in the markets in India, the world’s second largest producer of cotton, declined 12.4 per cent to 5.1 million bales in the current cotton cultivation season that began in October last.
The supplies in the Indian markets until December 9 last fell to 5.1 million bales, down from 5.8 million bales a year earlier, sources said.
The supplies in spot markets are still below the outlook as many farmers stocked their produce with the hope of posting better returns in India.
So the textile industry in Bangladesh could be affected by the short supply, traders said. read more.

06:02:03 local time map of india INDIA

* Cops rescue 14 minor girls:

As many as 14 minor girls of Ganjam’s Polasara area were rescued by police with the help of child rights activists here on Tuesday while they were allegedly being trafficked to Chennai. Police have detained two women for trafficking besides four victims since they are adults.

“We intercepted them while they were on their way to the railway station. The girls aged between 13 and 17 years were handed over to Childline while the accused and four victims were detained,” said IIC of Baidyanathpur police station Deepak Mishra.

He said the two women from Polasara were taking the girls to Chennai to work in a garment factory. read more.

* Wal-Mart lobbying issue rocks Parliament for second day:

The Wal-Mart lobbying issue rocked Parliament for the second day today, prompting government to declare that it had no hesitation in ordering a probe into reports that the retail giant had spent money to further its case in India.

“We have no hesitation in having an inquiry to get to the facts of the matter. We will announce further steps in the House today,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in the Lok Sabha seeking to douse the Opposition ire on the issue.

The government “views the reports (on Wal-Mart) with the utmost concern,” Nath said.
His statement came close on the heels of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding a time-bound judicial inquiry into the reports that Wal-Mart engaged lobbying firms to get entry into India and “spent money here”. read more.

* Wal-Mart under fire in India, government signals probe:

India’s government said Tuesday it was prepared to launch an inquiry into lobbying by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, buckling under an opposition campaign to discredit a flagship economic policy that allows foreign supermarkets to trade in Asia’s third largest economy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pressed ahead with the policy despite fierce political opposition, arguing that foreign capital and expertise is needed to revive the flagging economy and modernize India’s food supply chain.

Opposition uproar over the issue has repeatedly caused parliament to be adjourned in recent weeks and derailed efforts to pass more reforms to bring investment to the banking, pensions and insurance industries. read more.

* Walmart to apply US laws to Indian operations; wants anti-bribery undertaking from store owners:

Walmart is demanding anti-bribery undertakings from landlords of its Indian stores along with rights to inspect their books, the latest blowback from its global anti-bribery campaign that has put an unflattering spotlight on its fledgling India operations.

The US supermarket group’s India venture, Bharti Walmart, now at the centre of a raucous political debate on the entry of foreign firms into the supermarkets sector, wants landlords of all its stores in India, including Easyday stores operated by partner Bharti Enterprises, to give undertakings saying they are not party to and will not indulge in corrupt practices, effectively bringing them under the ambit of US anti-bribery laws.

Landlords are not only expected to certify that they have not paid any bribes while building the premises, but also give undertakings that give Bharti Walmart powers to periodically check their books and other documents, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told ET. read more.

05:32:03 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Govt fully committed to safeguard the rights of laborers:

The National Assembly was informed on Tuesday that the government is fully committed to safeguard the rights of the labourers and a number of steps have been taken to uplift the living standard of the workers.

Replying to a call attention notices moved by Abdul Haq Mian Mitha and others‚ Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said that the government increased the minimum wages of the labourers from three thousand to eight thousand rupees during the last five years.
He said the pensions of the labourers and the scholarships of their children have also been increased.
Khurshid Ahmad Shah said the present government is laborer friendly and took historic steps for the welfare of the labourers. He said Benazir Stock Option Scheme was started in 87 government departments and institutions. read more.

* Minimum wage increased to Rs 8,000, EOBI pension to Rs 2,000:

The minimum wage of workers in Pakistan has been increased to eight thousand rupees, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced on Tuesday.

Additionally, the Employees’ Old-Age Benefit Institution pension has been increased to Rs 2,000 from Rs 1,500.
Gilani, addressing a Labour Day event at the Convention Centre in Islamabad, also also handed over ‘regular’ appointment letters to the employees of Capital Development Authority (CDA), Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

“Our democratic government is committed to bringing a socio-economic revolution in the country, as was envisioned by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” Gilani told the attendees.
In addition to the thousand-rupee wage increase, the death grant for labourers has also been increased from Rs 150,000 to Rs 500,000 and grant for labourers’ children’s weddings has been raised from Rs 70,000 to Rs 100,000. read more.

* PRGMEA sends SOS to government:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), has sent an SOS to the government to bail out the garment exporters facing multiple issues with the government, said an official.

Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq, chairman of PRGMEA, said that the refund claims of Rs12 billion of garment exporters are stuck with the government against drawbacks on local taxes and levies (DLTL).

In a SOS to the government high-ups, Shafiq said that despite being the largest exporting industry and highest employment provider, the garment exporters are facing multiple issues with the government.

“First and foremost is the issue of pending drawbacks on local taxes and levies claims that are jeopardising the key initiatives of the Textile Policy 2009-14. Currently, around Rs12 billion of exporters’ claims are pending with the ministry of textile industry but not a single penny has been released despite an outlay of Rs7.5 billion approved in the Federal Budget,” it said. read more.

* Pakistan President urges Korea to aid its textile sector:

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has urged the South Korean Eximbank’s Chairman Dong Soo Park to provide financial backing to Pakistan’s textile sector, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Pakistan’s Federal Advisor on Textiles, said in a statement.
Dr. Baig, who accompanied President Zardari on his three-day official visit to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, appreciated the proposal put forward by Mr. Zardari.
The Federal Advisor updated the President that China no longer competes with Pakistan in cotton yarn and denim fabric, but is currently one of the largest importers of these items from Pakistan.
Escalating cost of labour and wages, which have gone up by almost 20 percent, would compel China to even withdraw from garment production. This would provide Pakistan and other countries in the region with an opportunity to grab the market share that China loses, he said. read more.

* Pakistan ginners seek ban on raw cotton import:

Voicing serious opposition over cotton imports, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has called on the Government to ban raw cotton imports, noting that there is no need to spend valuable foreign exchange on imports, as the country produces enough quantity to meet domestic textile industry’s demand.
Addressing media, PCGA Chairman Mahesh Kumar said based on expectations of bumper production, the association pegs current season’s cotton output at 14 million bales. read more.

* APTMA Punjab unit convenes to discuss energy crisis:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab held an emergent meeting at the APTMA Punjab office on Monday. Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan along with Central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir presided over the meeting.

The meeting was informed that textile industry in Punjab is under severe pressure due to energy crisis and mills are heading towards forced closure. Electricity load shedding has increased to eight hours a day today from four hours a day.
There is also gas curtailment to the industry, which is likely to be worst from next week.
But electricity supply to textile industry has reached to an alarming level, hitting hard to the industrial potential of earning $1 billion per month besides providing jobs to millions of workers in Punjab. Some 70% of textile industry located in Punjab.
read more.

* APTMA Punjab to hold talks with ministry officials:

Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan has warned of protest of the textile industry millers and workers next week in case the government failed to ensure uninterrupted power supply. He was addressing a press conference after holding an emergency meeting of the APTMA Punjab members on Monday. Central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir and Group Leader APTAM Gohar Ejaz were also present on the occasion.

Shahzad said the APTMA members have decided to negotiate with the Ministry of Water and Power during the current week for uninterrupted electricity supply to the textile industry and to avoid pushing it to destruction, as it would be detrimental to the country.

He said that there had been no load shedding in the textile industry before May 2012. Similarly, on the gas supply, the industry faced load shedding for 77 days in 2008-09, 95 days in 2009-10, 136 days in 2010-11, 185 days in 2011-12 and 62 days in 2012-13 until the 10th of December. So far, one-third capacity is closed and another 50% would be affected from next week onwards when there would be severe shortage of electricity and gas. Total load of the textile industry on the LESCO system is 550MW per day out of which only 300MW per day is being supplied.
read more.

* APTMA urges govt to help end strike of transporters:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) urged the government to intervene and resolve the ongoing strike of the goods transporters.
It is affecting supply chain and cash flows of industry and thousands of containers of good meant for export or to be exported are lying stranded in result of the strike announced by the transporters since December 5, 2012.
APTMA Chairman Ahsan Bashir said textile industry, as an export-oriented industry was unable to procure raw materials as the supply chain of the textile industry was highly under pressure. Textile goods meant for import and export are held up at the Karachi Port with no clue as when the issue would be resolved. Textile industry relies heavily on export orders during the Christmas season and a crisis like situation in this crucial hour is posing serious threat to the viability of the industry. to read.

* Exports of Rs20bn lost due to transporters’ strike:

Garment and textile clothing export orders worth billions of rupees are feared to be lost due to the indefinite strike called by transporters, warned Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Shaikh Muhammad Shafiq.

“The strike by transporters is causing losses worth billions of rupees due to stuck up export and import shipments at the Karachi Port and Port Qasim,” he said.
The transport carriers strike has completely halted export and import activities and is also damaging the industrial manufacturing capacity of the country, resulting in per day loss of around Rs4.0 billion equivalent to the foreign exchange earnings through export of textile products only.

The strike has not only hurt the shipments of export consignments but is also detrimental to import business as importers are forced to pay demurrages for not being able to clear their consignments from the ports.
Furthermore, it is also affecting manufacturing activity as industrial units are not receiving raw materials and fuel to run their mills, leading to a loss of over Rs3.5 billion per day. to read.

    THE KARACHI FIRE:

*  Q & A: Ali Enterprises Fire in Karachi:

Released: September 20, 2012 Updated: December 7, 2012

Social Accountability International’s (SAI) mission is to promote workers’ rights in a world often indifferent to them. All of us at SAI and at Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) are horrified by the fire at Ali Enterprises in Karachi,
Pakistan, on September 11, in which nearly 300 workers died and many more were injured.
On the day following the fire, SAAS was informed by RINA, a global certification body based in Genova, Italy, that RINA had issued an SA8000 certification to the Ali Enterprises factory on August 20, 2012.
SAAS, the accreditation agency that oversees the certification aspects of the SA8000 system, immediately began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the certification. We expect a full report to be issued in early 2013. In the
interim, both SAI and SAAS have been working to take action to improve the overall SA8000 system; these specific actions are detailed in the questions and answers below.
Many media reports in the days and weeks following the fire contained inconsistent factual information. After the fire, SAI issued a ‘Question & Answer’ (Q & A) document on September 20 to help sort through the inevitable confusion based on
verified information. As our investigation is ongoing, we have updated this Q & A document to provide more detail and information to the extent that we know them at this time. For additional information, you can dpwnload the pdf here..

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

PHILIPPINES
* KMU bats for wage hike bill’s passage before Christmas

VIET NAM
* Vinatex to sell non-core operations

LAOS
* Businessmen to involve in investment in Lao silk production

THAILAND
* Group calls on govt to help SMEs
* Wage hike measures to be proposed
* Wage rise expected to boost sales
* Foreign labour rule ‘will close factories, hit exports’

CAMBODIA
* Cambodian garment workers offer prayers
* CCHR’s Roundtable Discussion on Business and Human Rights in Garment Sector in Cambodia, at the Imperial Gardens
* Christmas ‘Fashion’ mobs’ for a Living Wage in Cambodia
* Action: Send a festive solidarity card

BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA- TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Burned Bangladesh factory was warned twice on fire safety
* Inspectors target Ashulia factories
* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards
* Documents link Wal-Mart to gutted firm
* US blamed for ‘poor’ factory conditions
* Bangladesh fire safety to cost retailers $ 3b
* Why Not Boycott Bangladesh?

* OTHER and MORE NEWS:
* Exports rise 11pc in Nov
* Batexpo starts today
* Local textile millers wary as cotton supply in India falls

INDIA
* Cops rescue 14 minor girls
* Wal-Mart lobbying issue rocks Parliament for second day
* Wal-Mart under fire in India, government signals probe
* Walmart to apply US laws to Indian operations; wants anti-bribery undertaking from store owners

PAKISTAN
* Govt fully committed to safeguard the rights of laborers
* Minimum wage increased to Rs 8,000, EOBI pension to Rs 2,000
* PRGMEA sends SOS to government
* Pakistan President urges Korea to aid its textile sector
* Pakistan ginners seek ban on raw cotton import
* APTMA Punjab unit convenes to discuss energy crisis
* APTMA Punjab to hold talks with ministry officials
* APTMA urges govt to help end strike of transporters
* Exports of Rs20bn lost due to transporters’ strike
THE KARACHI FIRE:
* Q & A: Ali Enterprises Fire in Karachi

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