in the news on-line, 26 December 2012

08:16:38 local time map of china CHINA

* China aims to ensure ‘equal pay for same job’:

China aims to ensure workers hired through labor contracting agents get the same treatment as directly recruited employees, according to a draft bill considered by lawmakers Monday.

The draft amendment to the Labor Contract Law is undergoing a second reading at a five-day bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, or the legislature, which opened Monday.

Originally submitted to a June session of the legislature for deliberations for the first time, the draft is designed to prevent employee leasing from being abused by employers trying to save on costs.

The draft amendment says enterprises in China should mainly employ workers directly, instead of through labor contractors. read more. & read more.

* Ethiopia expects more Chinese factories:

As China’s labor, manufacturing and resources costs continue to rise, Ethiopia, one of the least-developed countries in the world is hoping Chinese companies will consider opening more factories there.

“China is one of our country’s main donors in building infrastructure, a big constructor and a major technology provider,” said Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopian ambassador to China. “But China will also be a major factory owner in Ethiopia and a big market for products made in Ethiopia in the future.

“Chinese companies are assembling goods in Ethiopia to ship back to China, which is more profitable than producing in China today.”
Mesfin said a good labor supply, low energy costs and high-quality materials support development in his country.
Huajian, a shoe maker, is one of the best known Chinese manufacturers in Ethiopia.
The company is an original equipment manufacturer from Dongguan in Guangdong province for leading global brands such as Calvin Klein, Coach and Louis Vuitton.

After a meeting Ethiopian senior government officials last year, Huajian opened its factory near the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, using an investment of $2 billion, which will create more than 100,000 jobs for local communities over the next decade. read more.

* Xu still has designs on shirts after 30 years:

Senior fashion designer Xu Dingyu has devoted more than 30 years to designing and making men’s shirts. She says it’s not a profession that proves popular with young designers. Every year, she sees many talented young designers leaving but she perseveres.

As the chief designer of a Shanghai shirt factory, Xu has designed shirts for many state leaders of China including Jiang Zemin, the former president; Li Peng and Zhu Rongji, the former premiers; and Wu Bangguo, head of the National People’s Congress, China’s top law maker.

Influenced by her father, Xu decided to be a tailor at a young age. Her father used to be the manager of Great World Cloth Store. When Xu was a little girl, she often touched the fabric on the counter, imagining which pattern would be the most beautiful for her clothes.

In 1976, the then 22-year-old Xu left the Hongxing Farm in Chongming County and entered Shanghai Second Shirt Factory, which was renamed as Shanghai Conch Clothing Co Ltd in 1993. The factory is in Malu Town, Jiading District. read more.

07:16:38 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Local union’s leader of C.CAWDU in XING CHANG factory names Mr. Chhim Samorn was hit:

On 22nd December, 2012 at 11.15 am, a local union’s leader of C.CAWDU in XING CHANG factory names Mr. Chhim Samorn was hit with brass knuckles to be seriousness by three violators. C.CAWDU sent the victim to the Calmet hospital for immediate treatment. This factory is located in Tuol Sangke village, Sangkat Tuol Sangke, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh opposite ROO HSING Garment Co., Ltd.

The threat until the attempting to kill is between the company and trade union. In this
case, company used four stars officer as a gangster to stand behind for supporting the company by ordering the violators to threaten the union leader of C.CAWDU. After the company interviewed with a trade union that is belong to the company, the company checked off from workers to the donation and this union is managed all activities by themselves because of having the support from four stars officer.
Also in this case is having strong violation on workers’ rights until the workers protested to establish the trade union with C.CAWDU in order to protest on 13rd December, 2012 last week.

The workers protested to company and company agreed to solve some problems and stopped to check off from the workers into the donation.
In contrast, the company still has not implemented and respected to their promise and kept checking off from workers. So, workers announced to go on strike on 24th December, 2012 tomorrow.
But, it has seen the company representative and gangsters are still threatening on the C.CAWDU’s union representative up to 22nd December, 2012 and we received the information that the company is going to hire the gangsters in Tuol Sangke area to kill the C.CAWUD’s union representative. At 11.15 am, the violators that were hired by the company came to hit union leader of C.CAWDU by using the brass knuckle.

To express that immediately there was no any security officers to help and workers
informed that the company paid for gangsters to have a drink near the company until they drunk and they said that they will fight workers if they are going on strike on 24th December, 2012 tomorrow.
Therefore, C.CAWDU insists human right organizations and press agents to come
to take an intervention and information because it will be fighting and having many serious things happens tomorrow. (press relaese )

* Phnom Penh municipal hall rejects request to protest:

Phnom Penh municipal hall yesterday rejected a request from 250 garment workers to protest this Sunday because the chosen site would allegedly interfere with mourning for the late King Father.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said city hall officials rejected his proposed route from the garden in front of the Supreme Court to the National Assembly, and asked him to move his protest to Freedom Park.

“I think it is an unreasonable reply,” he said. The workers are demanding wage increases from US$ 61 to US$150 per month.

“I do not know whether we will protest at the Freedom Park or our original site, but we will still protest on December 30 no matter what,” Rong Chhun said. to read.

06:16:38 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH


* Actions awaits probe review on Tazreen fire: Alamgir:

Home Minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir today said the review of investigation findings are underway into the last month’s deadliest ever garment factory fire that killed 111 people while a high-powered government investigation committee called the inferno a case of arson.

“We have got the government committee report and is now  reviewing it . . . actions will be followed soon after the review  of all the findings is completed,” home minister Dr Mohiuddin  Khan Alamgir told BSS.

State minister for home Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku said,  “We will also check all evidence into the fire,” alongside the  official documents and the role of the Tazreen Fashions factory  management in ensuring the safety.

Officials familiar with the investigation process said after  the submission of a report by a high-powered government committee  earlier this week, the authorities now awaited the fire service  investigations into the details of the blaze at the ahead of
taking the next course of action.

The government committee chief Main Uddin Khandker meanwhile  told BSS that their investigation came out with the finding that  the unit at the suburban Ashulia on November 24 was set alight in  a deliberate manner.

“It appeared a case of arson . . . it was a sabotage while  the victims were forced to stay inside to be burnt to death,”  home ministry additional secretary Main Uddin Khandker said. read more.


* 20-30-50 injured in RMG workers-police clash in Savar:

At least 50 people were injured as garment workers clashed with police on Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar on Monday.

Police said when the workers of DNS garment saw closure notice hanging on the factory gate located at Razphulbaria area they staged demonstration in front of the factory demanding their arrears.

Later, the agitated workers took to the street and put up barricade on the road, disrupting traffic movement for an hour from 11 am.
read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB  daily star bd  BD new age

* Barua for effective measures to ensure safety in each factory:

Industries Minister Dilip Barua Monday said each and every factory needs to give priority to the issues of boosting productivity and safety in their respective operational policies to keep the economy vibrant and avert accidents, reports UNB.

“Tragic incidents of deaths are taking place since these issues are not considered in many cases,” he told the inaugural session of an international workshop at BRAC Centre Inn in the city.
Mr Barua urged all the factory owners to take effective safety measures from taking lessons of the past incidents. read more.
FE bd

* City RMG factories coy about safety compliance over spaces:

Space constraints are forcing almost half the apparel factories in the country to ignore social compliance, a key requirement to attract foreign buyers, experts and businesses said.

Workers’ safety system, firefighting equipment, evacuation mechanism, proper installation of machines and healthy work environment are among the social compliance issues.

Most RMG factories in the city areas are housed in rented buildings. They can’t address compliance issues due to space constraints,” exporters’ leader, Abdus Salam Murshedy told the FE.

Mr Murshedy, former BGMEA president and presently head of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB), said: “So we are now trying to comply with the buyers’ condition”. read more.
FE bd

* Garment exports from Bangladesh rise; India slips, Pakistan fall back:


Readymade garment exports from Bangladesh have risen while apparel exports from India continue to show downward trend.
The exports of garments from Bangladesh rose by 8.8 percent year-on-year to US$ 1.36 billion in November 2012, according to the data released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Of these, woven garment exports fetched US$ 710.04 million, while knitwear earned US$ 653.96 million.
Bangladesh posted positive growth in its garment exports in spite of the ongoing debt crisis in several European nations, the traditional buyers of Bangladeshi clothing items.
 In the first four months of the current Bangladeshi fiscal 2012-13, woven and knit apparel exports have increased by 16 percent year-on-year to over US$ 6.6 billion.
In comparison, India’s apparel exports declined by 0.75 percent year-on-year to US$ 907 million in October 2012, figures for which are available, according to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
Fibre2fashion  INDEPENDENT NewNation  FE bd

* Silk sector braces for heyday as Chinese investors queue up:

Local silk industry is expected to get a boost, as China, the world’s one of the largest silk producing country, showed its interest to invest in the sector.

A high-powered delegation from the China Chamber of Commerce for Export and Import of Textiles (CCCT) expressed the interest during a discussion with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Silk Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (SMEAB) Monday.

The purpose of the Chinese delegation’s short visit was to explore potentiality of the local silk sector, Chinese and joint venture investment in silk production, facilities offered by the Bangladesh government for foreign investors, and duty structure for raw material and machinery import. read more.
FE bd

* Achilles’ heel of the RMG Sector:

For decades now, readymade garments (RMG) remains the staple in the export basket of Bangladesh. In 2011-12, RMG export volume has been Tk 1.2 trillion, which is around 78.4 per cent of the country’s total export and more than 13 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The sector bolsters the foreign exchange reserve and employs millions. Nearly 5,000 RMG factories employ 3.6 to 4.0 million who constitute 40 per cent of the country’s industrial workforce. RMG’s role in empowering women is significant with 85 per cent of the workers being women.

While RMG is a golden goose for the economy, the outcome is not equally propitious for all the stakeholders. The manufacturers enjoy profit, which is why not only many local entrepreneurs but also many foreign firms are investing in the RMG sector in Bangladesh.
Due to domestic wage rises and capacity constraints, many Chinese firms also are relocating to Bangladesh for production. In recent times, China has emerged as an important destination of Bangladeshi made clothes. The retailing giants sourcing from Bangladesh get their products at cheap rates and final consumers save costs by buying cheap, an important factor during times of economic uncertainty due to the global financial crisis. read more.
FE bd

* Future of Bangladesh apparel industry:

After the recent Tazreen Fashions fire incident, which took away 111 lives, there seems to be a new awakening among all stakeholders in our apparel industry- be it the plant owners, exporters, government agencies, labour unions, development partners and most importantly the buyers as well as the official agencies in the buying countries.

Many have started doubting the future of this industry segment as a whole. No, we don’t want this thing to recur, we don’t want any more unwanted deaths, unprepared deaths, uncared and unattended deaths in our manufacturing plants, especially in our most promising and competitive apparel sector.
No matter, whether our labour is cheap or not, whether we do have ‘proven calibre’ or not, no civilized nation can afford to maintain its competitiveness on a sustainable basis in an irresponsible way. It does speak better neither for the industry nor for the country.

We got to fix our apparel sector. Be it a issue relating to human resources or industrial relations or labour standards or minimum wage or productivity or skill development or safety and security of workers Bangladesh got to address everyone in order to maintain the competitiveness of our apparel sector in the global apparel `supply chain’. read more.
FE bd

05:46:38 local time map of india INDIA

* AIUTUC workers’ meet from January 4:

The 20th All-India Workers’ Conference of the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) will be held here from January 4.

Over a thousand delegates from 20 States are expected to participate in the conference and discuss issues affecting labourers.

Among the demands to be raised during the conference are withdrawal of privatisation policies that are against workers’ interests, protection of rights of workers, abolishing contract labour system and regularisation of services of contract workers, fixing the minimum wage at Rs. 15,000 a month besides fixing of monthly wage for ASHA and anganwadi workers, AIUTUC president Krishna Chakraborty told presspersons here on Monday.

“Governments should work towards providing better security for the working class rather than working for the benefit of capitalists who exploit the working class. While the rate of unemployment is on the rise, social security facilities meant for the working class are being taken away,” he said.
He accused the government of bailing out corporate houses with a package totalling Rs. 2.18 lakh crore, which is in contrast to the unorganised sector employing 94 per cent of the total work force of the country getting Rs. 1,000 crore only.
The 20th All-India Workers’ Conference of the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) will be held here from January 4.  read more.

* SIMA demands cotton pricing policy:

With the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) expected to purchase substantial quantity of cotton from the market this year, the Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) has said that the corporation should come out with a pricing policy so that the mills can buy cotton from it.

The association chairman S. Dinakaran told The Hindu that though the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) estimated cotton production this year (October 2012 to September 2013) to be 334 lakh bales, it was likely to be just about 310 lakh bales.
The CCI had already purchased eight to 10 lakh bales at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). read more.

* Maharashtra cotton growers say MSP too low all political parties agree:

Caught between a falling price and a rising cost of production, cotton growers in Maharashtra have made a strong pitch for a subsidy, either from the central or state government

The trigger was procurement through the Maharashtra State Cooperative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,900 a quintal announced by the central government. However, growers say, the cost of production is Rs 5,000-5,500 a qtl.

Cutting across party lines, members from both the ruling Congress-NCP coalition and the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP-MNS had, during the recently concluded winter session of the state legislature, strongly demanded a higher price for cotton growers. They recalled the price had zoomed to Rs 7,000 a qtl three years earlier, following a spurt in demand from China. They have called for procurement at Rs 6,000 a qtl.
read more.

05:16:38 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* APTMA concerned over load shedding:

‘10m workers to lose jobs if electricity not restored until Friday’

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership has given a deadline of Friday (December 28, 2012) to the Ministry of Water and Power for restoration of electricity supply to textile mills in Punjab, warning that failure to accept this demand 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 a large attendance of Faisalabad and Multan offices through video link, APTMA Punjab Chairman 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 an indefinite period. He said there is complete shut down of electricity since December 22 afternoon and more than 48 hours have passed and still textile industry in Punjab is clueless about the fate of energy supply. read more.
daily times PK

* Employees of PCCC call off strike:

Employees of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) called off their pen-down strike on the assurance of Joint Secretary Ministry of Textile to release their due emoluments by January, It has learnt.

The employees of PCCC have been deprived of 20 percent increase in the salaries in federal budget 2012-13. The employees had boycotted all official work at the PCCC in protest against their non-issuance of revised salaries.

Sources said that on Monday talks were held between Employees’ Action Committee of PCCC and Joint Secretary of MINTEX Aslam Kundi in presence of Secretary PCCC Gul Mohammad and other officials concerned where employees were assured that their revised emoluments would be released in compliance with the notification of Ministry of Finance in the January 2013. read more.

* Punjab textile units laying off workers:

Punjab’s textile industry, which has been forced to close down its operations after the ministry of water and power totally disconnected power supply to all large- to medium-scale factories for an indefinite time at the weekend to bridge growing supply gap, has announced to lay off workers and launch street protests unless electricity is restored on Friday.

The decision made at an emergent meeting of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Monday.

It is for the first time that power supply to the industry has been completely disconnected in Punjab or elsewhere in the country, resulting in halt to production at all large- to medium-scale industrial units outside industrial estates in the province as electricity supply gap crossed 5000MW. read more.

* Textile industry loses $33 million a day due to energy crisis:

Being the prime victim of energy crisis, the textile industry in Punjab is losing the production capacity of $33 million a day. It may be noted that over 80 percent textile mills are located in Punjab.Especially those solely dependent on power supply from Wapda have virtually collapsed.

Textile mills relying on independent feeders are 20 percent of the total industry. They have no facility of Captive Power Plants (CPPs), which 60 percent of mills have right now. The power-reliant mills are paying additional Rs 10 million against the mills on gas-dependent CPPs in terms of utility bills payment, as a unit generated through gas costs Rs 6 against Rs 12 to the mills on independent more.

* Prolonged unscheduled outages unacceptable, body tells Fesco:

The Council of Power Looms Owners Association on Tuesday told the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company that unscheduled and prolonged loadshedding was unacceptable as it is detrimental to the economy.

Waheed Khaliq Ramey, the CPLOA chairman who was leading a delegation of the power looms’ owners, told the Fesco chief executive officer that millions of people are earning a living from power looms therefore the unscheduled loadshedding for power looms sector should now come to an end.

He said that only two-hour loadshedding in the morning and two-hour in the evening was tolerable. On the occasion, Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan, the Fesco CEO, said that consumers were the first and foremost priority of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company thus maximum facilities were being provided to the industries.
He said that industry was the mainstay of the national economy and it was not only providing millions of jobs but also earning precious foreign exchange for the country. He said that Fesco was helping the industrial sector to continue its activities and play its role in the national economy. read more.

* Power shutdown: Textile millers plan widespread protests:

The textile industry has announced that it will launch massive protests across the country against worsening and unbearable electricity and gas crisis that has brought the industry to its knees.

The protest drive, during which millions of industry workers will take to the streets, will include demonstrations in front of headquarters of all power supplying companies.
Talking to The Express Tribune, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) chief for South Punjab chapter Anis Khawaja declared that their patience had run out and they could not bear continuous electricity and gas outages for two to three days without any schedule.

Around 11 million workers of the textile industry were affected by unscheduled power and gas cuts, he said.

“We want to show through demonstrations that playing politics with the industrial sector will trigger unrest in the country. If millions of workers are affected in a single day, this will disturb lives of 25 million people,” said Khawaja, who is also the director of Mehmood Textile Group. read more.

* APTMA to launch country-wide protest:

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has announced that it will hold a country-wide protest against the worsening electricity and gas shortages in the country. The protest will include demonstrations in front of the head quarters of all power supply companies.

APTMA head (south Punjab chapter) Anis Khwaja said that the mill owners and workers had run out of patience.
“We cannot afford electricity and gas load shedding for two to three days without any schedule,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune.
He said that 11 million workers had lost their jobs or had been indirectly affected due to unscheduled electricity and gas suspensions at the textile units.
“We want the government to realise that playing politics with the industrial sector, which generates most foreign reserves for Pakistan, will cause unrest in the country.” read more.

* Garment manufacturer brings back investment from Bangladesh:

Tauseef Enterprises has again lived up to expectations by taking timely business decisions to make windfall gains.

After investing in Bangladesh about three years ago to reap the benefits of duty-free access to the European Union, the company – a big garment manufacturer – has started taking out its investment and is reinvesting here to earn dividends of EU concessions, this time for Pakistan as well.

The EU has allowed export of 75 selected products, mostly textile, to its market without any duty in an effort to offset the impact of 2010 floods in Pakistan. The 27-nation bloc has also eased criteria for winning unlimited duty-free access under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus.

These two concessions have prompted Tauseef Enterprises to consider whether it should keep its investment in Bangladesh or bring back the money. read more.

map of Asia


* China aims to ensure ‘equal pay for same job’
* Ethiopia expects more Chinese factories
* Xu still has designs on shirts after 30 years

* Local union’s leader of C.CAWDU in XING CHANG factory names Mr. Chhim Samorn was hit
* Phnom Penh municipal hall rejects request to protest

* Actions awaits probe review on Tazreen fire: Alamgir
* 20-30-50 injured in RMG workers-police clash in Savar
* Barua for effective measures to ensure safety in each factory
* City RMG factories coy about safety compliance over spaces
* Garment exports from Bangladesh rise; India slips, Pakistan fall back
* Silk sector braces for heyday as Chinese investors queue up
* Achilles’ heel of the RMG Sector
* Future of Bangladesh apparel industry

* AIUTUC workers’ meet from January 4
* SIMA demands cotton pricing policy
* Maharashtra cotton growers say MSP too low all political parties agree

* APTMA concerned over load shedding
* Employees of PCCC call off strike
* Punjab textile units laying off workers
* Textile industry loses $33 million a day due to energy crisis
* Prolonged unscheduled outages unacceptable, body tells Fesco
* Power shutdown: Textile millers plan widespread protests
* APTMA to launch country-wide protest
* Garment manufacturer brings back investment from Bangladesh

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