00:13:26 local time CHINA
* Legislators review labor law revision on regulating outsourcing:
Legislators on Monday started to review the latest draft amendment to the Labor Contract Law, which aims to regulate labor outsourcing and ensure equality in workplaces.
“The key to regulating labor outsourcing is to ensure that outsourced employees receive the same wages as regular workers doing the same jobs,” said Li Shishi, vice-chairman of the Law Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Li explained the draft on Monday to members of the NPC Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body.
The draft requires employers to pay the same wage to both regular workers and outsourced employees who are sent by employment agencies.
The country is home to about 60 million outsourced workers, accounting for almost 20 percent of the urban workforce, according to a report released in 2011 by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the nation’s top union organization.
23:13:26 local time VIET NAM
* Workers in industrial parks need further help and consultation:
Many companies in HCM City’s industrial parks and export processing zones have organized activities to help improve male workers’ knowledge on reproductive health, marriage and to improve their cultural and spiritual life.
To help female workers to know how to protect themselves, the trade union of Pou Yuen Company, in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, holds several talks monthly on healthcare, contraception, the harms of abortion, etc.
“But they (female workers) live far from home and lack of entertainment facilities, so they cannot avoid stumbling and pitfalls,” said Ms. Tran Ngoc Suong, chief of the clinic of Pou Yuen company.
Suong said, once a female worker had fainted during work hours. The teammates took her to the company clinic for a medical examination. It turned out that the woman was 4 months pregnant. She cried a lot because she was only 20 years old, unmarried and did not know of her pregnancy. read more.
23:13:26 local time CAMBODIA
* Unions to Protest Court Ruling in Triple Shooting:
Union leaders are planning a demonstration in January to protest the Svay Rieng Provincial Court’s decision last week to drop charges against the former Bavet City governor, Chhouk Bundith, who was the chief suspect in the shooting of three garment factory workers during a violent strike earlier this year.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said a meeting will be held in the first week of January to plan the protest against the court’s decision, which he called “an injustice” to the three injured workers.
“We cannot allow the suspect who is a city governor to go free after he shoots whoever he wants,” Mr. Mony said on Friday.
“We don’t want this same case to continue to occur in our society. It is 100 percent sure that we will protest against Chhouk Bundith in the beginning of 2013.”
The FTU will have the support of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), CCAWDU president Ath Thorn said.
“All unions and communities that protest against Chhouk Bundith, we will support them,” Mr. Thorn said.
“The action of the Svay Rieng Provincial Court has made the people lose their trust in the court system,” he added. read more.
* Garments, handicrafts employ 700,000 people:
The garments and handicrafts sector currently employs about 700,000 workers, a government official said.
The official said Cambodia now had about 890 factories and 40,000 small businesses producing handicrafts with annual output of about $6 billion. to read.
* Union leader attacked with brass knuckles and cleaver:
Workers from the Xing Chang Xing garment factory dance and clap during a protest in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
A union representative led a 1,000-strong protest at a garment factory in the capital’s Russey Keo district yesterday, alleging the company hired a gangster to beat him up on Sunday – a claim the manager has denied.
Chhim Sam On, a union leader with the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union at the Xing Chang Xing garment factory, told the Post that a man attacked him with brass knuckles and a cleaver as he walked alone near the factory.
Sam On said he had heard that someone wanted to kill him for his union activities and felt certain that the company had hired a gangster to beat him up for refusing to end the protests. read more.
00:13:26 local time MALAYSIA
* Glove makers object to Gas Malaysia’s gas supply proposal:
Malaysian rubber glove makers have objected to the proposed gas supply agreement presented by Gas Malaysia Bhd, saying it is “grossly unfair, not practical and very one-sided”.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) is calling for its members not to sign any new agreement, but to seek for deferment and to consult their lawyers.
“The clauses such as “take or pay”, daily minimum or maximum surcharges on excess gas, over run and variance are not only unfair but highly impossible to practise,” its president Lim Kwee Shyan said. read more.
00:13:26 local time INDONESIA
* Guideline helps employers promote breast-feeding at work:
The International Labor Office (ILO), in collaboration with the Indonesian Breast-feeding Mothers Association (AIMI), has launched a guideline to help employers implement policies on breast-feeding friendly workplaces in the country.
The guideline is important as few employers are aware of their legal obligations to provide working mothers with facilities to help them breast-feed.
The lack of awareness has resulted in high rates of absenteeism among female workers.
The Breast-feeding Friendly Workplaces’ “Guidelines for Employers” offers practical steps on how to implement a mother-friendly workplace that supports breast-feeding.
By providing a workplace with a breast-feeding friendly environment, employers can secure improved health for the children of their employees as well as guarantee the loyalty and productivity of their mothers. read more.
22:13:26 local time BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Tazreen fire survivors in deep penury:
Many survivors of the Tazreen Fashions blaze, who witnessed their colleagues dying being trapped in the inferno, and were injured while escaping the fire, are yet to get compensation and treatment costs a month after the tragedy.
Garment workers who lost their jobs after the fire are passing days in extreme misery.
Workers while talking to New Age said they were collecting daily essentials on credit from local shops, they could not pay house rents, could hardly take necessary treatment for their injuries as they did not have any income.
The deadly blaze at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Nischintapur of Ashulia, on the night of November 24 killed at least 112 workers and injured at least 200. Of them 100 were grievously injured.
After the fire, the BGMEA had declared that each injured worker of Tazreen Fashions Ltd would get Tk 1 lakh as compensation and treatment at the cost of the association.
‘We have not received any money as compensation from anyone so far,’ said Hena who worked as the swing helper at Tazreen Fashions. Hena along with some other workers had jumped out of the third floor of the factory building breaking open the windows to escape the blaze on the fateful night. read more.
* DNA profiling of Tazreen Victims:
Lab contradicts BGMEA claims
The apparel exporters association and the DNA Profiling Laboratory issued contradictory statements over the DNA profiling of workers who were buried unidentified after their deaths in the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited.
An official of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed that the 39 samples had primarily matched the unidentified workers. But the DNA Profiling Laboratory dismissed the claims saying that they were yet to complete the profiling.
Of the total 112 workers killed in the November 24 blaze, 53 bodies were buried unidentified at Jurain graveyard. The government decided to conduct DNA tests to determine the identities of the workers.
On November 26, a team of Criminal Investigation Department along with forensic doctors took samples from unidentified bodies.
‘It is a very difficult task…Hopefully we will reach a stage by the middle of the next month,’ Professor Sharif Akhteruzzaman, national technical adviser of the DNA Profiling Laboratory told New Age on Saturday. read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Concerns over Bangladesh garment industry:
But rights activists say safety measures are being ignored to keep manufacturing costs low, and workers are at risk. Al Jazeeras Nicolas Haque reports from Savar.
See AlJazeera Video.
* Can mobile phones improve factory fire safety? :
In the wake of the fire at a Bangladesh factory that killed at least 112 garment workers on November 24, US and European retailers who buy from the South Asian country have said they will drastically improve safety checks at the factories they use.
The plans in the works include carrying out extensive fire assessments at vendor factories, in the case of one retailer, and hiring an engineer to check fire safety, in the case of another.
But few of the plans being considered by retailers seem likely to address issues that labour groups have raised with regard to the present safety audit system that they don’t allow workers a way to alert retailers to issues that crop up when the brands’ representatives are not around. Another complaint is that information on fire safety is generally kept confidential and rarely shared in a comprehensive way with the workers most likely to be at risk.
Indian-American entrepreneur Kohl Gill is hopeful that cellphones, which are now widespread in exporting countries like Bangladesh and China, could help.
Through his two-year-old company LaborVoices, Gill has been developing a voice-activated system that workers can call to leave messages about workplace conditions.
“We anonymise that and we provide views on that information to other workers and to local organisations and to brands,” he said. “Eventually we’ll provide views to consumers as well so consumers can know how brands are being made.”
* Chinese team, BGMEA discuss investment potential in silk, sericulture:
A high-profile delegation of China Chamber of Commerce for Export-Import of Textiles (CCCT) arrived here on Monday to explore outsourcing opportunities in Bangladesh which will help boost Bangladesh’s export to China.
The eight-member delegation that includes two representatives from Chinese Finance and Commerce Ministries had talks with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office in the city.
CCCT vice chairman Zheng Xinmin, who is leading the delegation, BGMEA president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Silk Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh President Alauddin Ahmed, BGMEA second vice president M Siddiqur Rahman, BGMEA vice president SM Mannan Kochi and former vice president M Atiqul Islam were present at the meeting.
They discussed various business and investment potential in the silk and sericulture sectors and outsourcing issues during the meeting. China is the leading supplier of silk to the global market. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Hall-Mark not alone:
The Anti-Corruption Commission will file 26 cases against several top officials of Sonali Bank and five business entities for misappropriating more than Tk 345 crore of depositors’ money, said an ACC high-up.
The sum is funded portion [an amount given in cash] of the Tk 3,547 crore credit that the five firms and Hall-Mark Group swindled from Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch with the help of some bank officials using forged documents between October last year and May this year, according to an ACC enquiry.
T and Brothers swindled Tk 317.52 crore, Paragon Knit Composite Ltd and its sister concern Tk 13.58 crore, DN Sports and its sister concern Tk 2.81 crore, Nakshi Knit and Composite Ltd and its sister concerns Tk 10.81 crore and Khanjahan Ali Sweater Ltd Tk 1.14 crore. read more.
* Special Powers Act against Hall-Mark, MLM officials:
The government is planning to prosecute top officials of Hall-Mark Group, Jubok, different multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, such as, Speak Asia, Destiny 2000 LTD, Herbalife, GDI, Neway Bangladesh, and Unipay2U, under the Special Powers Act, with a view to stop the activities of such companies.
The finance ministry has recently sent letters to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministries of home affairs, law and defence, director general of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), National Security of Intelligence (NSI), and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), seeking opinion for filing cases, under the Act, against officials of these MLM companies, ministry sources told The Independent.
According to the sources, finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, in the letter sent on October 7, said, “In 1974, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had enacted the Special Power Act to prevent economic or financial misdeeds and also stop corruption and human trafficking.
But, the Act has been rendered ineffective by governments in the past, who used it to fulfil political objectives. At present, we should take necessary actions under the Act, against those trying to destroy the country’s economy by forming these MLM companies.” read more.
21:43:26 local time INDIA
* Investment slows down in textiles:
Hit by several factors, the textile and clothing industry in the country seems to have made minimal investment in expansions and new projects this year.
The Union Ministry of Textiles announced the Restructured Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (R-TUFS) in April 2011 with subsidy cap for each value adding segment, such as spinning, weaving and processing. The total subsidy amount allocated for 2011-2012 was Rs. 1,972 crore. It was expected to leverage total investment of Rs. 46,900 crore.
Of this, the unutilised amount (subsidy allocation) that was available for 2012-2013 was Rs. 497 crore.
According to the Office of the Textile Commissioner, from April 2011 to November 2012, the subsidy claimed was only Rs. 362 crore. Though 3,542 applications were received, envisaging a total investment of Rs. 35,892 crore (April 2011 to November 2012), implementation of the projects are delayed. read more.
* India to have 15 mn bales of cotton surplus, says CAI:
Even as cotton acreage in India has witnessed a decline this kharif season due to erratic monsoon, the country would have about 15 million bales (each weighing 170 kg) of surplus cotton in cotton year 2012-13 (October-September).
According to latest estimates by the Cotton Association of India (CAI), India’s cotton production this year is expected to be close to 35 million bales, of which consumption is estimated to be around 26.5 million bales, leaving a sizeable surplus of about 15 million bales.
“Although the acreage under cotton has witnessed a three per cent decrease as compared to last year, the crop looks promising due to good rains received in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in the latter part of the monsoon,” Dhiren Sheth, president of CAI, noted in his speech at the annual general meeting of the association today. read more.
* Cotton traders seek right prices:
The cotton traders in the state are worried over the price they are getting on their produce. Despite producing better quality cotton, their yield was getting lesser price, when compared to the price of cotton the farmers living in the neighbouring states were getting at mandis.
The issue was discussed at length during the fourth annual summit of MP Association of Cotton Processors & Traders, which was held here on Sunday. President of the Association, Kailash Agrawal, said, “Our quality of cotton is better. Still, we are getting a price, almost less by Rs 1000 per candy, when compared to our counterparts living in the neighbouring states. The reason being that unlike Gujarat, we don’t have any brand of our own.” read more.
* Who will pay for failed GM crops? :
There have been some interesting developments in the tweaked food department. Maharashtra has admitted that cotton yield is likely to reduce by nearly 40%. Bt Cotton has allegedly ‘failed’ in more than 4 million hectares of land.
A report sent by the state agricultural department to the Centre says that the estimate of the net direct economic loss to cotton farmers in the state will be in the vicinity of Rs6,000 crore, but that actual losses are much higher because with Bt Cotton, the cultivation cost also rises.
Naturally, farmers aren’t very happy. According to Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, about 5 million cotton farmers from Maharashtra want Rs20,000 per hectare as compensation for the failure of Bt Cotton. The question of who should be coughing up the money is an interesting one. One certainly hopes it will not be the government, because that actually just means you and me — the taxpayers.
* The Cotton Film : Dirty White Gold :
Crowdfunding trailer by Leah Borromeo.
We’d like you to come with us on a shopping trip to India.
The journey starts with nearly 300,000 Indian farmers who have killed themselves to escape debt. At one point, up to 26 per day. They are the price we pay for cheap cotton – trapped in a cycle of debt, brought about as a result of the industrialisation of their livelihoods. Some kill themselves by drinking the pesticides with which they farm.
At the heart of the film will be the human stories of the people who work the fields to form the threads of our moral fibre. We will ask “when you bag a bargain, who pays for it?”
A film on Indian cotton farmer suicides and fashion – and find out when you bag a bargain – who pays for it?
Read & See more: sponsume.com/project/cotton-film-dirty-white-gold
21:43:26 local time SRI LANKA
* NDB supports local textile manufacturers:
The National Development Bank PLC (NDB) partnered ‘Ransalu 2012’ the 22nd annual national textile exhibition, organized by the Department of Textile Development of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The event held under the patronage of the Economic Minister, Basil Rajapaksa showcased creations of many local manufacturers representing Sri Lanka’s handlooms, textile, fabrics and apparel industries.
Commenting on the partnership Chief Operating Officer of NDB, Indrajit Wickramasinghe stated, “We are proud and honoured to be a part of this significant national event that integrates all spheres of textile and hand-loom manufactures of Sri Lanka. read more.
21:13:26 local time PAKISTAN
* Industrial blackout: Millions of jobs at stake, say textile millers:
A surprise step taken by the Ministry of Water and Power to stop electricity supply to all textile units of Punjab has sparked anger and frustration among investors of the textile industry.
The apex body of textile millers – the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association – has heavily criticised the government and warned that the industry will be forced to start sacking workers from Friday, if gas and electricity supply was not restored by Thursday.
“If the government thinks that by diverting away industrial load to domestic feeders, it will gain a high number of voters, it is only misguided by its advisers,” remarked APTMA group leader Gohar Ijaz, after holding an emergency meeting with stakeholders of the Punjab textile industry.
The government would not be able to win votes at the cost of industry, he said. “What will happen when 10 million workers in Punjab are dismissed from their jobs, we don’t have any other choice as we cannot pay salaries with total shutdown.”
* Power supply suspension in Punjab: APTMA threatens to lay off workers:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership has given a deadline of December 28, to the Ministry of Water and Power for the restoration of electricity supply to textile mills in Punjab, failing of which may result into laying off some 10 million textile workers in Punjab.
Addressing a press conference at the end of an emergent general body meeting of APTMA Punjab with jam-packed attendance of Faisalabad and Multan offices through video link, Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan termed it a ”Black Day” in the history of APTMA when the government cut both electricity and gas supply to textile mills for indefinite period. read more.
* Suspension of gas supply: hundreds of textile workers hold demonstration:
Hundreds of workers of value-added textile sector on Monday staged a demonstration on Khanewal Road and they blocked the road.
They were protesting against the suspension of gas supply for the last 17 days. Resultantly, the industrial sector of Southern Punjab has come to a halt as gas supply has been suspended for indefinite period.
While the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) spokesman said that the supply has been suspended for indefinite period due to winter season. The authorities apprised that the decision to halt gas supply was taken after the difference between demand and supply was widened. Crises have hit the industrial zone as seventeen days have already passed without gas and the production process in textile mills has reduced to nil. read more. & read more.
* Punjab’s industry defers buying cotton lint:
Due to periodic disruptions of electricity and gas supply throughout Punjab, textile mills have deferred procurement of cotton lint from ginning factories, which observers say may lead to a fall in cotton prices.
Market sources said there are worries about a slowdown in the textile production process, a fall in cotton exports and the resulting redundancy of tens of thousands of workers. These are coupled with fears of the crisis spreading to cotton ginners and farmers.
Ihsan-ul-Haq, ex-executive member of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) said that due to an unexpected increase in seed cotton (phutti) arrival up to December 15, 2012 and the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, the cotton price has been forced downward by around Rs200 per maund, subsequently bringing cotton lint prices down to Rs6,000-6,100 per maund. read more.
* Closure of textile mills to shut related industries:
All industries in Faisalabad will be closed down against the power supply suspension to textile mills indefinitely which will lead to stoppage of exports and depriving thousands of workers of livelihood in the region.
The situation will result in total economic chaos in the area, said Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President Mian Zahid Aslam here on Monday.A joint meeting of heads of trade bodies including Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), Khurianwala Industrial Association (KIYA), Embroidery Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (Faisalabad region), Power Looms Association and Soap and Rice Associations was held at FCCI to arrive at a strategy on the gravity of the situation arose due to the sudden suspension of power supply to textile industries in Faisalabad.
It was said that the textile industry in Faisalabad was already in severe crisis due to prolonged loadshedding of electricity and gas and sudden suspension of electricity had halted the industrial wheel which will result in closure of the remaining small units in the next few days as textile industries have backward and forward integration with other industries and downstream small units.
The participants were of the view that the industrial strength had already been weakened due to prolonged loadshedding of electricity and gas, high prices of inputs, unstable law and order situation and now suspension of electricity supply to textile industries in Faisalabad would destroy the economy of the region in particular and national economy at large. read more.
* Textile industry gives 3-day deadline to govt:
The textile industry in Punjab has warned the government of launching a protest series from Thursday, giving a three-day deadline for restoration of power supply to mills, which have been facing complete closure for last three days with a threat to lay off some 10 million workers in the province.
Addressing a press conference the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association leadership, including Gohar Ejaz, central chairman Ahsan Bashir and Punjab chairman Shahzad Ali Khan termed the suspension of gas as well as electricity to $12 billion export industry a black day in the history of Pakistan.
They said that Ministry of Water and Power suspended electricity supply to the textile industry in Punjab for indefinite period when the sector has already deprived of gas supply. Over 80 per cent of the textile industry is located in Punjab and there is no power supply to mills for last three days. He observed that government would be responsible for any untoward situation if it failed to restore power supply by 28th Dec.