in the news on-line, 13 December 2012

20:53:19 local time map of china CHINA

* A ‘Made in China’ Story:

On this planet, someone like it, someone reject it, but almost everyone cannot live without it. It is all around you. Wait a minute. It is right on your body! What is it? “Made in China”!

“Made in China” has made its mark in every corner of the globe, from the poorest village in Africa to the richest city in America. In Africa, the slippers on the villagers’ feet are all made in China. In America, finding out a “Sheriff Woody”or “Buzz Lightyear” that is not made in China is also a difficult task.
read and see more. (video)

19:53:19 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

 * In economic downturn, workers still expect high Tet bonuses:

Garment, footwear and electronics enterprises plan to give to their workers the Tet bonuses valued at one or two-month salaries. Meanwhile, commercial banks, which always offered sky high Tet bonuses, still ponder on the Tet bonuses.

The reports submitted by enterprises to the Labor Union showed that labor intensive industries such as garment, footwear and electronics would offer one or two-month salaries to their workers as the Tet bonuses.

Chair of the Trade Union of the 100 percent foreign invested Pouyuen Company, which makes sports equipments, said the 2013 Tet bonuses would be a bit higher than the last year.

The company plans to announce the Tet bonuses in mid-December, which would be at least one-month salary (2.6-3 million dong), and 2.2-month salary at the highest, depending on the service length and the contribution of workers to the company’s achievements.

He said that the company has prepared 1 trillion dong in cash to give to its 75,000 workers. read more.

* Adidas another big name under VN tax scrutiny:

The Ho Chi Minh City’s tax agency is inspecting the sporting equipment distributor Adidas Vietnam Ltd Co over possible transfer pricing under the related-party transactions scheme.

Adidas Vietnam, which arrived in Vietnam in 2009, is licensed to operate as a wholesale distributor, but inspectors have discovered a number of unreasonable expenses that the company has had to pay its partners, which include all companies under the same global system of its parent company, Adidas AG.

The partners include Adidas AG, Adidas Singapore, Adidas International Trading BV and the company’s retailers, leading tax officials to suspect that it is involved in related-party transactions. read more.

19:53:19 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Free Somyot-  Invitation to Somyot’s next court hearing:

Next week, the Criminal Court will resume its schedule on Somyot’s case on 19 December 2012 after it has been delayed for three months without informed explanation.

Prior to this, the Constitutional Court also ruled that Article 112 is not against the constitutionality. Both information made the lawyer as well as the family grave concerns about the negative development of the case. According to the lawyer, if the Criminal Court decided on penalty, Somyot may face a sentence of maximum 10-year imprisonment.

While there are neither confirmation nor details about the next court schedule informed by writing, fear of prolonged detention as well as sudden verdict announcement has been worsen among family members.

In this regards, the 112 Family Network would like to draw your attention as well as ask for your participation on the trial observation on 19 December 2012. Due to experience of other freedom of expression cases, we learnt that both Thai and international observers play very important role to ensure fair trial to happen.
read more.

20:53:19 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers movement: Apathetic, fragmented, chaotic:

The labor movement calling for an increase in North Sumatra’s minimum wage is now in jeopardy after workers grouped under the Federation of Indonesian Prosperity and Trade Unions (KSBSI) gave up and accepted the recently approved wage rate.

Hundreds of workers, including members of the KSBSI, staged a counter-rally in front of the governor’s office here on Wednesday to show their support for the governor’s decision to raise the provincial minimum wage to Rp 1,375,000 from the current Rp 1,205,000, an alliance of 18 small labor unions at Belawan Port continued to demand a significant increase to Rp 2.2 million per month. read more.

18:53:19 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Pay salary to workers as much as possible: PM urges RMG owners:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the owners of the apparel industries to give salary to the workers as much as possible and comply with the requirements of the buyers to materialize the prospects the industry has created in the global market.

“Prospect of our readymade garments is being discussed globally.., We should not miss the opportunity,” she said adding garments owners should improve the working condition in their factories and enhance the salaries of the workers to keep the prospect alive.
“I hope that the garment owners will give salary to the workers as best as they can and obey the labour law and fulfill the compliances of the buyers to expand the export market ,” she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has taken steps for enhancing the wages of workers and supply of essentials to them at lower cost. “Around 78 thousand lactating mothers, mostly garment workers, were given allowances,” she said.

She particularly praised the involvement of women with the RMG sector saying their broad participation is helping in the women empowerment, improving woman and child health, poverty reduction, promotion of the services and expediting country’s economic growth. read more. & read more.

* Pay more, ensure workplace safety:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged garment factory owners to pay workers more and ensure workplace safety, as the apparel makers are making fortunes from the sector.

“I hope that the garment owners will pay the workers as best as they can and obey the labour law, and ensure compliance with the buyers to expand the export market,” she said.
Hasina was speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo-2012) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
Garment workers are poorly paid, earning as low as $37 a month, though they helped bring home $19 billion in apparel exports last year, about 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total earning from overseas markets.
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

* RMG workers demonstrate for pay hike:

Several hundred workers of a sweater factory at Zirabo of Ashulia, on the outskirt of the capital, staged demonstration on Wednesday, demanding pay hike and suspension of its officials.

Witnesses said the workers of Ajax Sweater began agitation on the factory premises in the morning and then took to the street.
Agitating workers demanded an increase of the ‘piece-rate’, the rate a worker gets for each piece of sweater and other kinds of knitwear.

They also demanded suspension of factory production manager and general manager for their alleged misbehaviour with the workers.
Ashulia industrial police director Abdur Rauf said the workers started demonstration on Monday following suspension of a worker. They demanded cancellation of the worker’s suspension. read more.

* Foreign buyers of RMG still watchful:

The fire at Tazreen Fashions last month has made most of the international buyers of readymade garments (RMG) watchful. They have adopted a ‘go slow’ stance over importing goods from Bangladesh.

The RMG sector, industry sources said, is now witnessing a declining trend in export orders after the blaze as foreign buyers want to see greater safety and a better working environment at the factories before placing orders.
Already hit hard by the global economic downturn, the country’s largest foreign currency-earning industry is unlikely to meet its targets because of this problem. In addition, it has been affected by shoddy infrastructure and political uncertainty.
read more.

* Ashraf slams Mozena for pushing for trade unionism:

LGRD Minister and Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam on Wednesday sharply criticised US Ambassador Dan W Mozena for pushing Bangladesh to allow trade unions in the country’s RMG factories.

Without mentioning the US Ambassador’s name, he said the US envoy should look at his own country first before frequently advising Bangladesh regarding trade unionism.

Ashraf was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the three-day long 23rd Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo-2012) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) as a special guest.

He said 26 states out of 52 in the USA do not allow trade union. “Even Michigan is going to restrict the trade union from today,” he said asking the US Ambassador to establish trade union in his country first and then poke their nose in the internal affairs of Bangladesh.
Ashraf said trade unionism is the right of the workers as per the constitution. “One ambassador of a strong country often leaps and jumps here and there shouting to allow trade unions in factories. He doesn’t even look at his own country,” the AL general secretary said.

The US Ambassador several times said the non-endorsement of trade unions in garment factories sends a negative signal to US buyers and it might impact the garment import from Bangladesh.  read more. & read more. & read more.

* More pressure on global wages could backfire:

If rising income gaps are at least partly responsible for the global credit crisis, governments and companies should be wary of squeezing wages yet again to help rebuild their finances.

In the long buildup to the global financial crisis, households took on debt to offset the gradual fall in their incomes and consumption relative to the more wealthy.
But as they’ll get little or no help from easy credit today, driving wages down even more risks a cratering of household consumption and a severe test of social cohesion.

A renewed public focus on decades of widening wealth and wage inequality in the United States, Britain and other developed and developing economies has been one of the most durable legacies of the five-year-old credit crisis. read more.

* Jute exports to India suffer for poor infrastructure, non-tariff barriers:

Bangladesh’s jute exports to India suffer mainly due to poor import infrastructure on the Indian side and indirectly imposed non-tariff barriers.

Lack of diplomatic efforts have been hampering Bangladeshi exports to India, increasing the trade gap to US$ 4.24 billion in the last fiscal, said exporters and experts. read more.

* Biggest garment expo starts on a sombre note:

A giant signboard with a mourning sign — to express sympathy for the Tazreen fire victims — greeted the visitors yesterday as they entered the country’s biggest apparel and textile exposition.

This was the first day of the 23rd annual Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (BATEXPO) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association — to boost the country’s main breadwinning sector.
Spread across 138 stalls, the exposition has all the stakeholders of the country’s apparel industry, starting from the accessories and machineries suppliers to the garment manufacturers, quality and safety service providers to the financial institutions.

The recent political instability and the fire incident, however, have put a damper on the three-day exposition showcasing the best of local apparel products to international buyers.
“Around 20 buyers from Germany and France have cancelled their planned visit to the fair due to the recent turn of events,” said BGMEA Vice-President Faruque Hassan. read more.

* Bangladesh’s RMG safety may cost retailers $3.0b:

The global garment industry would have to spend about $3.0 billion over five years to bring safety standards at Bangladesh apparel factories to Western standards, an analysis by a labor-rights group shows, according to a report by Renee Dudley of Bloomberg News.

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


* Protests demand Tazreen owner’s arrest:

Rights activists held protests in and outside the BGMEA office on Wednesday demanding the arrest of the Tazreen Fashions Limited owner for his negligence in ensuring fire safety as a fire that broke out in the factory on November 24 had killed at least 112 workers.

The rights activists entered the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association about 11:00am and played recorded wailing of the fire victims and their families.
The protesters, in shrouds, teamed up as Justice for Tazreen Workers by Rokeya Bahini demanded Tk 48 lakh in compensation in keeping with
the law for the victims killed in the fire.
The protesters also held a rally in front of the BGMEA building where one of the organisers, Nasrin Shiraj Anny, put forth a set of demands, including an immediate arrest and trial of the factory owner. read more.

* Flash protest at BGMEA for justice for Tazreen workers:

Activists of Rokeya Bahini, a women’s solidarity movement, demonstrate in front of the BGMEA office in Dhaka yesterday for proper compensations for the workers who died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions last month. Photo: STAR

Rights activists yesterday staged a demonstration at the premises of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) demanding arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions.

Wearing shrouds and carrying the banner of ‘Justice for Tazreen Workers’, the rights activists from Rokeya Bahini stormed into the BGMEA office and played the recorded wailings of the victims and their relatives.
The demonstrators also held a rally in front of the BGMEA building, where one of the organisers, Nasrin Shiraj Annie, put forth a set of demands, including immediate arrest and trial of the factory’s owner, Delowar Hossain.

Their rationale being that the negligence on the owner’s part in putting adequate fire safety measures in his factory in Ashulia led to the death of 112 workers from the November 24 blaze.
“The workers had not accidentally died, rather they were killed as the factory had no fire exit,” said Annie, adding that the factory’s fire safety certification had expired on June 30.

The demonstrators also demanded compensation of Tk 48 lakh for each person killed in the fire — in accordance with the Fatal Accident Act, 1855.
read more.

* What Wal-Mart’s Supplier Network Missed:

A 2011 inspection conducted for a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -2.75% found serious fire-safety concerns at a clothing factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, that burned down last month, killing 112 people, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Yet just weeks before the fire, a majority of the factory’s assembly lines were devoted to production for Wal-Mart, according to documents found by the Journal at the wrecked factory. Sand-colored girls’ shorts bearing Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label also were found at the charred factory by the Journal.

Wal-Mart declined to comment about fire-safety concerns at the factory, Tazreen Fashions Ltd. A Wal-Mart spokesman said Tazreen was removed from the retailer’s list of authorized factories “months ago” but declined to be more precise or say if the retailer notified its suppliers. Wal-Mart said a supplier sent garments to Tazreen without authorization and that the retailer is investigating if others did.

The factory’s owner, Delwar Hossain, couldn’t be reached for comment about the deauthorization. He has said before that audits carried out for Wal-Mart didn’t raise fire-safety issues at the factory. read more.

18:23:19 local time map of india INDIA

* Cotton millers protest over taxing NPDCL surcharge:

Cotton, rice and oil millers resorted to a flash protest against the NPDCL surcharges on their mills and prevented cotton purchases at the agricultural market yards across North Telangana districts on Monday.

According to G Malla Reddy, North Telangana cotton millers association General secretary, NPDCL authorities burdened millers with 300 per cent increase in their power bills in the name of surcharge. For example, for last month’s power bill of Rs 3 lakh, the NPDCL authorities raised a bill for Rs 12 lakh with a surcharge of Rs 8 lakh for a mill.
The millers shut down their mills across North Telangana due to which the Cotton Corporation of India did not purchase cotton. Angry farmers took out a rally at Karimnagar and also protested on the Warangal – Karimnagar highway demanding immediate purchase of their cotton arrivals at Karimnagar. They staged a rasta rook causing heavy traffic jams. read more.

* Labourers to be part of NREGS social audit team in UP:

Who can assess the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme better than the beneficiaries of the scheme? Given the thought, the government will involve the labourers, who have worked under the scheme, in its social audit in the state.

At present, the state lacks a social audit set up for the Central government scheme and the rural development department (RDD), however, will start the first organized social audit in January. The first two-day training of the district level coordinators for the audit will start on Thursday. read more.

17:53:19 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile industry warns of protest against energy crisis:

The textile industry in Punjab would go on strike in case government fails to address the issue of electricity supply within a week. The textile millers and workers would protest against electricity loadshedding in all major textile hubs across the Punjab.

This was stated by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) in an emergent meeting at the APTMA Punjab office.
APTMA Punjab Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan along with central chairman Ahsan Bashir and group leader Gohar Ejaz informed that textile industry in Punjab is under severe pressure due to energy crisis and mills are heading towards forced closure.

They said that 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. read more.

* APTMA urges govt to ensure early end of transporters’ strike:

Trading goods worth $500 million for exports and $1 billion for imports have been on their way to Karachi Port and upcountry since last 10 days due to the ongoing strike by goods transporters.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Ahsan Bashir said the backlog of 10 days would not be easy to manage in a situation when transport infrastructure in the country was weak and ships were leaving the Karachi Port empty. read more.

* Textile industry fears export losses:

A Pakistani man prepares threads at a textile factory in Gujrat

“We fear cancellation of foreign orders due to transporters strike,” said Asghar Ali, chairman, Faisalabad-based Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA).

About 10,000 containers have been held up due to the strike, he said.
PTEA vice-chairman Mohammad Asif said that if strike persists, it would lead to losses to exporters and cancellation of orders.

The strike has crippled textile exports and a large number of export shipments ready to be shipped could not reach the port in time. These consignments would have to be airlifted to meet the deadline by importers at a huge cost to exporters, he added.All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) chairman Ahsan Bashir said that thousands of containers of goods meant for export are lying stranded as a result of the strike by transporters.

“The textile industry is export-oriented industry and the textile exports have been held up. Consequently, the industry is unable to procure raw materials as the supply chain of the textile industry is highly under pressure,” he said in a statement.He also demanded that the customs should waive off demurrage on containers stranded at the port. read more.

* Goods Transporters call off strike:

Goods Transporters Association has ended their strike following successful negotiations with two-member committee, formed by the prime minister to resolve the issue, Geo News reported.

Office-bearers of Goods Transporters Association held talks with two-member committee comprising Federal Minister Babar Khan Ghauri and State Minister Abbas Khan Afridi here on Wednesday night.
During more than 3-hour talks, Goods Transporters presented their 15-point demands before the committee. read more.

* ‘Low gas pressure hitting textile manufacturing units’ :

 Low gas pressure has began hitting the value-added textile manufacturing units of the city, bringing about delays in productions in the early winter days, industry sources said on Wednesday.

“Last Friday on December 7 and Saturday December 8 from 10 pm to 7 am many industrial units in Karachi suffered low pressure of gas supply which was 1PSI to 2PSI leading to shutdown of their production,” Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Associations, Javed Bilwani told Business Recorder.

He said dim gas supply to key dying units of value-added textile sector was inflicting huge financial loss on the exporters in the first days of winter, adding it was an unjust move of the gas provider company to scale down the pressure for manufacturing units. read more.

* Textile exports undergo decline in average unit price:

The declining trend in the world cotton prices has taken its toll on Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports as almost all textile categories have undergone dip in the average unit price (AUP), suggests the data issued by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

According to the details, the average unit price of raw cotton decreased by 19.05 percent during July-October 2012-13, cotton yarn by 10.62 percent, hosiery by 7.18 percent, and bedware by 5.07 percent, while average unit price of towels dropped by 6 percent. However, readymade garments observed an increase of 6.03 percent in its AUP in the four months.

“It was just a base effect as cotton prices were quite higher last year, which have now come down by over 50 percent,” said Amir Hussain Siddiqui at TDAP. He said that rates of textiles depended upon cotton prices and decline in AUP of local products was nothing serious.
In November, world prices for raw cotton decreased to 82.5 cents per pound, a significant fall compared with the last year when the price stood at over $2.
read more.


map of Asia


* A ‘Made in China’ Story

* In economic downturn, workers still expect high Tet bonuses
* Adidas another big name under VN tax scrutiny

* Free Somyot- Invitation to Somyot’s next court hearing

* Workers movement: Apathetic, fragmented, chaotic

* Pay salary to workers as much as possible: PM urges RMG owners
* Pay more, ensure workplace safety
* RMG workers demonstrate for pay hike
* Foreign buyers of RMG still watchful
* Ashraf slams Mozena for pushing for trade unionism
* More pressure on global wages could backfire
* Jute exports to India suffer for poor infrastructure, non-tariff barriers
* Biggest garment expo starts on a sombre note
* Bangladesh’s RMG safety may cost retailers $3.0b
* Protests demand Tazreen owner’s arrest
* Flash protest at BGMEA for justice for Tazreen workers
* What Wal-Mart’s Supplier Network Missed

* Cotton millers protest over taxing NPDCL surcharge
* Labourers to be part of NREGS social audit team in UP

* Textile industry warns of protest against energy crisis
* APTMA urges govt to ensure early end of transporters’ strike
* Textile industry fears export losses
* Goods Transporters call off strike
* ‘Low gas pressure hitting textile manufacturing units’
* Textile exports undergo decline in average unit price

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