in the news on-line, 21 December 2012

21:53:39 local time map of china CHINA

* Adidas in deal with China suppliers:

German sports wear giant adidas AG said Wednesday that it will continue to work with more than 300 supplier factories in China despite a recent contract dispute.

Chinese media said adidas suppliers were dissatisfied with compensation offers following contract terminations.

“China has been, and will remain, a key sourcing market for the adidas Group. It is true that we are rationalizing our sourcing structure and this has resulted in the termination of contracts with 10 suppliers. Nevertheless, adidas has fulfilled all of its contractual obligations with the suppliers to the satisfaction of all parties and will continue to partner with more than 300 supplier factories in China,” said adidas in a e-mail statement. read more.

20:53:39 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* FTI presses for action on wage-aid fund:

The Federation of Thai Industries has appealed to the government to act quickly on the proposal to set up a fund to compensate operators for the increase in the minimum daily wage to Bt300, seen as the most essential measure to save as many as a million small and medium-sized enterprises from going under.

After Tuesday’s meeting of the joint public-private sector committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, on relief measures, FTI vice president Vallop Vitanakorn said the meeting failed to finalise the compensation.

Some business lobbyists claim that the wage rise will crush some low-paying operators under heavy costs, and Vallop said the proposed compensation plan could help about 80-90 per cent of the 2.9 million SMEs across the nation. read more.

* Survey predicts bleak future for labour-intensive industries:

Labour-intensive industries will face a bleak outlook next year, while hundreds of thousands of businesses, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, will close due to higher production costs from both rising raw material prices and higher wages, says a new survey.

Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president for research at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting, said rising production costs driven by the higher price of raw materials and the hike in the daily minimum wage to 300 baht starting on Jan 1 are expected to lead directly to the closure of 200,000 businesses.
Hardest hit will be the tannery industry, as it is completely unlikely to be able to compete against firms based in China, Cambodia and Vietnam, where labour costs are much lower.

Shoe-making, apparel and leatherwear ventures that do not focus on skills and design will be the next hardest hit, followed by those in the dried vegetable and fruit sector _ which lacks quality development _ traditional basketry and handicraft trades, and mom-and-pop stores. read more.

20:53:39 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Shooting victims fight on:

20121220 PPP shooting victimsShooting victims Buot Chenda and Keo Near meet with their lawyers yesterday in Svay Rieng province. The two factory workers and a third woman were injured when a gunman identified by witnesses as former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith shot into a crowd of protesters in February. Photo Supplied

They’ve been shot, intimidated and offered money for silence, but a day after it was revealed that charges were dropped against the implicated former Bavet governor, the three garment workers wounded at a protest said they had no intention of backing down and refiled complaints against Chhouk Bandith.

Keo Near, Nuth Sakhorn and Bout Chenda – who were all shot in front of thousands at a February protest in Svay Rieng province’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone – vowed to fight on even as they conceded it was likely futile to try and seek justice against the powerful.

“How can I accept its [the Svay Rieng provincial court’s] decision if he [Chhouk Bandith] shot us like animals but is not guilty? We are lucky to be alive. It is so unjust,” Sakhorn said.

Much of the outrage that poured in yesterday from rights groups and unions focused on the fact that Bandith had been identified as the prime suspect by none other than Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and that Bandith had confessed to accidentally firing his gun. read more.

* Outcry as Cambodia protest shooting charges dropped:

Cambodian rights campaigners on Wednesday slammed a court decision to drop charges against a former governor who was the prime suspect in the shooting of three female garment workers earlier this year.

The trio, employees of Puma supplier Kaoway Sports, were wounded after a gunman opened fire on a protest in February demanding better working conditions at factories in eastern Svay Rieng province.

Chhuk Bundith, governor of Bavet City at the time of the shooting, was charged in April with causing unintentional injuries and removed from his post. read more.

21:53:39 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* 600 Companies Allowed To Postpone Implementing Minimum Wage:

Only 600 out of 4,200 employers are allowed to postpone implementing the minimum wage which will take effect on Jan 1, 2013.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said they were allowed to do so after taking into consideration the companies’ financial situation, while the other companies were bound by the regulation from this coming January.

“The (600) companies informed that they have been experiencing financial losses in the last two or three years and have submmitted their audited financial reports to the National Manpower Advisory Council. read more.

21:53:39 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:

1. World Bank: Wage Increase Presses Jobs. Read the full article here
Read the full presentation from World Bank here
2. Sectorial workers to get higher wages. Read the full article here
3. Minister of Manpower and Transmigration posted Circulation Letter to   Anticipate Minimum Wage Hike.  Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google-translated English Version here
4. 392 Companies in Jakarta request for postponement.  Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia) Read the Google translated English Version here
5. Create Job Opportunities, Receive Incentives. Read the full article here 
6. Businesses expected to stay in W. Java, despite wage increase.
Read the full article here
7. BI Projects 2013 Inflation at 4.9 Percent. Read the full article here

BetterWorks’ overview here.

BW indonesia

19:53:39 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* BGMEA concerned at hartal call:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed deep concern at the repeated hartals called by different political parties and alliance.
In a statement signed by Secretary-General of BGMEA Ehsanul Fattah on Wednesday urged the political parties not to programme of hartal  for the realisation of their demands.
The statement says that the foreign buyers are showing less interest to log orders, which is an ominous sign for the sector. So, the political parties have to withdraw all kinds of hartal in the greater interest of the Ready Made Garments (RMG).
RMG industries have been passing through a critical juncture. The statement warned that the hartal and political instability might hit the industry vis-à-vis overall economy and employment. read more. & read more.
NewNation  UNB

* RMG worker found hanging dead in Gazipur factory:

The police recovered the body of a female garments worker from a factory at Shapla Mansion in Chandana Chowrasta area under Sadar upazila in Gazipur on Thursday.

The deceased was identified as Anjuara Begum, 35, a worker of Pandora Sweater Factory and the wife of Maksadul Islam of Faraji Para in Gaibandha.
They were living at a rented house of one Khorshed Alam in Dighir Chala area beside the factory.
Joydebpur police subinspector Md Aminul Islam said that Anjuara, who joined the factory three months ago, did her usual job on Wednesday till 9.00pm, when the factory was closed.
The factory security guard, when the factory opened at 7:00pm, found Anjuara’s body hanging with a modesty scarf from the hook of a ceiling fan on the 3rd floor of the factory, Aminul said.
Factory administration officer Osman Gani filed an unnatural death case with the Joydebpur police. to read.
BD new age

* Businesses unhappy as US coy about duty-free access:

The relevant authorities and the businesses in Bangladesh have vented their discomfort over the US refusal since long to grant duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) access of Bangladeshi products to their market.

The continuous denial of this facility for Bangladesh’s exports including ready-made garments (RMG) and shrimp to the United States has apparently put a damper on the bilateral ties between the two countries, government officials in Dhaka said on Thursday.

Bangladesh has been seeking DFQF facility under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) from the US over the past more than five years, but the latter has put the issue on hold.

“The recent dealings between the governments of Bangladesh and the US have reflected lack of warmth between the two sides, largely because of this,” said a senior government official. read more.
FE bd


* BGMEA again fails to present Tazreen fire probe report:

Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Thursday failed to present its probe report for the second time on the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions factory which on November 24 claimed the lives of 112 workers and left many more injured.

A five-member committee appointed by BGMEA to probe the fire failed to submit its report for the second time in 19 days.
Without mentioning a fresh date, committee convener SM Mannan Kochi said that the investigation was at its final stage and the report would be presented in one week.
On November 26, BGMEA appointed the committee to probe into the factory fire at Ashulia asking it to submit its report on December 2.
The deadline was extended to December 20 as the committee failed to present its report for what its chief said that it was unable to work for two days due to workers’ agitations at Ashulia. read more.
BD new age

* Delay in publishing Tazreen fire probe report draws workers’ ire:

The BGMEA team is taking a lot of time in making public its probe report on Tazreen Fashions fire incident citing the recent hartals and other agitations, that has triggered strong criticism from workers’ leaders.

“Due to the recent hartals, the probe team needs a few more days to complete its report,” second vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman said, adding the report was expected to be ready by December 29.

The BGMEA formed a five-member committee headed by its vice president SM Mannan Kochi against the backdrop of the fire incident that took place on November 24 and said it would submit its report within a week.
The devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia claimed at least 112 lives of workers and injured several others.

“The BGMEA is taking too much time to make public its probe report only to save the factory’s owner. There is no doubt that the industrial blaze was caused by negligence of the factory owner when it comes to safety issues,” president of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Unity Forum Moshrefa Mishu said. read more.
FE bd

* US Lawmakers Press For Trade Response To Bangladesh Factory Fire:

A dozen US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama’s administration on Thursday to complete a long-running review that could lead to suspension of trade benefits for Bangladesh after a deadly factory blaze there last month.

“We are seriously concerned about the deterioration of working conditions and worker rights in Bangladesh,” the congressional Democrats said in a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

“The latest apparel industry fire, with over 100 workers killed, in the Tazreen garment factory is the latest in a series of events and practices constituting this decline,” the lawmakers said. read more.

* Global unions call for measures after Tazreen fire:

Three powerful global union organisations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union are demanding that Walmart act to prevent deadly working conditions.

This call comes following the recent tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh, which produced Faded Glory brand clothing.
The global unions are asking Walmart to provide fair redress for the victims, to support a full and transparent investigation,  and to adopt meaningful measures to prevent future incidents.
They want a timely public announcement of these measures.

The announcement comes as several shipments of clothing bound for Walmart from the Tazreen factory are due to arrive on the US East Coast.
“Terrible and preventable accidents like the Tazreen fire are the responsibility of the big companies who create the supply chain.
Unions involved along the chain – whether in manufacture, transport or retail, are joining together to call for safety and justice for workers like the Tazreen victims” said ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton. “As global unions we speak with one voice – and we are determined to effect change and stamp out unnecessary tragedies like this” he added. read more.

19:23:39 local time map of india INDIA

* Workers demand minimum wages, implementation of labour laws:

A large number of workers from across the country marched to Parliament on Thursday in a protest rally demanding minimum wages and universal social security cover for organised and unorganised workers.

One of the main aims of the protest, which saw participation of employees of the Central and State governments and banking, insurance, defence and telecom sectors, was to pressurise the Government for strict implementation of labour laws in the country.

The protest was part of a nationwide campaign to chalk out a unified strategy against “anti-workers policies of the Government” by the Central trade unions, a confederation of all the prominent trade unions and workers groups. In the next stage of its struggle, all the employee and trade unions will organise a two-day general strike on 20-21 February 2013. read more.

* How Branded Shoes are Made in India:

20121220 DAMNCOOLpicturesbranded_shoe_factory_in_india13
See more pictures.

* ‘Re-develop West Bengal textiles sector to double State’s share’ :

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has outlined a ten-year roadmap to re-develop the textiles sector in West Bengal.

The revival and re-development of the industry would help ensure balanced and inclusive growth.
The industry body recently submitted its suggestions for reviving the textiles industry base in the State to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The suggestions in the form of Vision 2022-23 talks about doubling the State’s share in the country’s textiles industry to 10 per cent.
“West Bengal should grow at around 17 per cent to increase the size of its textiles industry to $21.5 billion from the current $2.9 billion,” FICCI said.

According to FICCI, the target, once achieved, could provide employment to nearly 10 million people by 2022-23. “Out of this, at least 75 per cent will be in the unskilled and semi-skilled level,” it said.
At present, close to 1.5 million people are employed by the textiles industry in the State. read more.

* Textile jobs likely to rise by 15.81 mn during 12th Plan: Govt:

The government today said the number of jobs in textiles and allied sectors is projected to rise by 15.81 million to 121 million by the end of 12th Five-Year Plan.

As on March 2011, about 105 million people were engaged in these sectors, Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Referring to a report on Working Group on textiles and Jute Industry for the 12th Five-year Plan, he said, the employment creation in the textiles and allied industries is projected to increase by 15.81 million to touch 121.2 million by the end of terminal year of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2017) Textiles industry is the second largest employer after agriculture in the country providing employment directly and indirectly to millions of people, he added.
Replying to another query, Sharma said, Textiles Workers Rehabilitation Fund Scheme (TWRFS) has been reviewed in consultation with stakeholders including representatives of textiles industry, state governments and representatives of trade unions.

It has also taken into consideration recommendations for larger coverage of the scheme which is incorporated in draft revised scheme for 12th Plan. read more.

* Indian Govt waives off Rs 1.11bn in handloom weavers loans:

In pursuance to the Budget announcement (2011-12), ‘Revival, Reform and Restructuring package for “Handloom Sector”, having financial implication of Rs. 3884 crore, has been approved by the CCEA on 24.11.2011. 

Of this Rs. 3884 crores, Government of India’s share is Rs. 3137 crore and that of State Governments, is Rs. 747 crore.

As per the guidelines of said package, State Governments are required to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a token of their commitment to contribute State share for the implementation of Financial Package in their States and effecting legal and institutional reforms of Handloom cooperative societies.
read more.

* Gujarat poll results bring cheer to Tirupur knitwear unit owners:

A section of entrepreneurs in Tirupur knitwear cluster who have been contemplating shift of their production base to Gujarat due to severe power crisis here, is seeing the Gujarat poll results with optimism to go ahead with their plans.

“Many entrepreneurs, including some of my clients, have already identified locations for setting up textile units in areas like Dahej, Surendranagar and Bhavnagar in Gujarat but were waiting for the results as they primarily wanted to know whether Narendra Modi gets re-elected so that there could be continuation of industry-friendly policies initiated by him in the last few years,” S. Dhananjayan, a prominent industry consultant in Tirupur, told The Hindu . read more.

* Labour dept to inspect firms operating at night:

Following the Hindustan Times report about women feeling unsafe in Gurgaon, especially during night hours, the labour department is all set to launch a special drive to inspect BPOs and call centres during odd hours.

The department will raid the offices of information technology (IT) and information technology-enabled services (ITeS) to inspect the number of women employees working in these organisations and whether employers are following guidelines to ensure the safety of women employees.

Surprisingly, the office of additional labour commissioner (NCR), Gurgaon, does not have the exact number of organisations which employ women during the night hours, for which a necessary exemption of Section 30 under the Shops & Establishment Act is required.   read more.

18:53:39 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Fire in yarn factory causes huge loss:

A mysterious fire broke out in yarn factory in New Karachi within the limits of New Karachi Industrial Area police station.

Fire department said in the wee hours of Thursday, a mysterious fire erupted in a yarn factory situated in New Karachi Industrial Area and after getting the information, three fire tenders were sent to the site.
After two hours of hectic rescue work, the fire fighters managed to extinguish the fire.
to read. & here.
daily times PK  thenewspk

* Police raid cotton factory:

Jalalpur Pirwala Police raided the cotton complex ‘Shabbir Cotton Ginning and Solvent Factory,’ owned by Haji Muhammad Akram, chairman of Ginners Group and ex-chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association(PCGA) to arrest a proclaimed offender. Police manhandled the workers of the factories and took its manager in custody.

Police broke into the factory without search warrants. Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has strongly reacted on the high handedness of the police contingent and demanded immediate suspension of the entire staff of Jalalpur Pirwala city. Police Station and a judicial inquiry into the incident. Otherwise they would be forced to give a strike call across the country. read more.

* Baig optimistic about textile industry’s growth prospects:

Federal Advisor to Prime Minister on Textile, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig is quite optimistic about bullish growth of textile industry in Pakistan, saying trade concession on 65 items from the EU, implementation of GSP Plus from the EU from January 01, 2014, Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Turkey, signing on 2nd phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and trade opportunities with India are a few factors playing due role in this regard.

He was talking to a select group of media on his visit to the city. Dr Baig has also been appointed Chairman of Pakistan Textile City Project by the Prime Minister recently. Dr Baig said Pakistan textile industry would get a benefit of $320 million with duty free trade facility from the EU for concession on 65 items. He said this facility would continue until December 31, 2013.

Regarding the GSP Plus status to Pakistan in the EU from January 2014 onwards, he said, the criteria has been revised and approved by the EU and all its exports would easily by accommodated under the facility from January 2014. It may be noted that Dr Baig has been main architect of the negotiations with the EU officials on GSP Plus facility for Pakistan. read more.

* Tanners ask govt to support industry:

Tanners have sought priority status for leather industry, saying it is one of the top three foreign exchange earners of the country, but has failed to tap its potential because of a host of reasons.

Talking to members of the Lahore Economic Journalists Association here on Wednesday, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Central Chairman Agha Saiddain highlighted the issues restricting growth of the leather industry, which stood second in terms of quality in the world.

He said leather and leather product exports of China, India and Bangladesh rose by 46%, 40% and 17% respectively, but shipments from Pakistan dropped by 14%.
“Our industry contributes 4.42% to export earnings and 2.67% to manufacturing GDP. “Pakistan is at number two due to high tanning technology.” read more.

* Textile exports grow by 7.81% :

Pakistan’s textile exports have shown growth of 7.81 per cent in one year, as it recorded at $5.400 billion during July-November period of the current fiscal year 2012-13 as against $5.009 billion of the same period of last year, revealed the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Thursday.

According to PBS figures, country’s textile commodities exports have shown growth of 7.81 per cent during the first five months of current fiscal year 2012-13 against the same period last year. Pakistan has exported textile made commodities worth of $ 5.4 billion in July-November period of 2012-13 as compare to $5.009 billion of July-November 2011-12. read more.


* Demand justice for the victims of the Tazreen fire:

20121220 CCC uatazreen

On the 24th November, at least 112 workers died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names, including C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears.

First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. The cause of over 80% of all factory fires in Bangladesh are due to faulty wiring. The fire in Tazreen Fashions brings the total of workers that have died in unsafe factories in Bangladesh since 2005 to around 700.

Accounts of the different fires clearly show that many of these tragic deaths could have been prevented  had the  factories met basic safety standards. The windows of the Tazreen factory were barred to prevent theft, and safe fire exits were mostly absent, making it impossible for the workers to escape the flames and smoke. At the time of the fires the managers initially stopped workers from leaving by dismissing a fire warning as a false alarm.

Call upon C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears to take up responsibility!

The Clean Clothes Campaign along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world call upon the buyer companies to:

  1. Ensure full compensation to the victims,
  2. Support a full and transparent investigation into the fires,
  3. Sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

Read more & Please Sign : Here.


map of Asia


The next newsletter and news bulletin will be published 24 December 2012, unless there is “breaking” news.


* Adidas in deal with China suppliers

* FTI presses for action on wage-aid fund:
* Survey predicts bleak future for labour-intensive industries

* Shooting victims fight on
* Outcry as Cambodia protest shooting charges dropped

* 600 Companies Allowed To Postpone Implementing Minimum Wage

* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update

* BGMEA concerned at hartal call
* RMG worker found hanging dead in Gazipur factory
* Businesses unhappy as US coy about duty-free access
* BGMEA again fails to present Tazreen fire probe report
* Delay in publishing Tazreen fire probe report draws workers’ ire
* US Lawmakers Press For Trade Response To Bangladesh Factory Fire
* Global unions call for measures after Tazreen fire

* Workers demand minimum wages, implementation of labour laws
* How Branded Shoes are Made in India
* ‘Re-develop West Bengal textiles sector to double State’s share’
* Textile jobs likely to rise by 15.81 mn during 12th Plan: Govt
* Indian Govt waives off Rs 1.11bn in handloom weavers loans
* Gujarat poll results bring cheer to Tirupur knitwear unit owners
* Labour dept to inspect firms operating at night

* Fire in yarn factory causes huge loss
* Police raid cotton factory
* Baig optimistic about textile industry’s growth prospects
* Tanners ask govt to support industry
* Textile exports grow by 7.81%

* Demand justice for the victims of the Tazreen fire

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