17:43:32 local time MONGOLIA
*MNT 29 Billion paid to wool producers:
The government has transferred MNT 29.4 Billion as incentive payments to 103,000 individual herders, who produced 14,700 tons of wool in 2012.
Herders received their incentive payments through Human Development Foundation.
It has been decided since 2011 that herders who have produced and sold their wool to domestic processors would be rewarded with MNT 2,000 per each kilogram of wool.
As a result, wool production in total was increased 2-3 times.
90% of the wool produced this year was supplied to domestic factories and processors.
And, this will allow large processors to operate on a permanent basis throughout the year, and smaller ones would be able to expand their business activities.
Production operations previously managed at household levels were upgraded to medium sized enterprises with the assistance of the incentive program. read more.
17:43:32 local time CHINA
* Zhejiang puts more pressure on Guangdong with minimum wage increase:
The statutory minimum wage in the eastern province of Zhejiang will increase by 12.2 percent on 1 January next year to reach 1,470 yuan per month in major cities such as Hangzhou, Wenzhou and Ningbo. The move will put more pressure on Guangdong, Zhejiang’s main manufacturing rival, to announce a similar increase early next year.
Guangdong has already postponed a planned increase in the minimum wage from 1,300 yuan per month to 1,470 yuan for nearly one year following vociferous objections from the business community in the province. But if Guangdong is to remain competitive in the labour market next year, basic wages for factory workers will now almost certainly have to go up.
Guangdong’s manufacturers have been faced with labour shortages for several years now as the cost of living in the province increases and more employment opportunities open up for migrant workers closer to home. The two main exporters of rural migrant labour in central China, Sichuan and Henan, for example, both now have more rural labourers employed inside the province than outside it. read more.
* Jiangsu firms in Datong to set up textile park:
A team of representatives of leading textile firms of Jiangsu province of China recently paid a visit to Datong city of Shanxi province to explore prospects for development of textile business in this city, China Daily reported.
16:43:32 local time VIET NAM
* Poor working conditions lead to health problems:
Poor working conditions in many small- and medium-sized enterprises have affected workers’ health, a survey conducted between 2000 and 2012 has found.
At least 237 facilities were surveyed during that period. Most of them were in the textile, footwear, mechanics and food-processing fields.
The survey was conducted by the Centre for Consultancy and Transfer of Occupational Safety Health and Environmental Protection Technology in the South of Viet Nam.
The centre found that most of the companies were using outdated technology and equipment.
Modern technology was in use at only 10 per cent of the companies surveyed, according to Dr Dang Thi Thao of the centre, who conducted the survey.
Capital shortage is the chief reason for the lack of proper or modern equipment.
The use of outdated technology has led to a high risk of occupational diseases.
* Many firms fail to pay social insurance:
Among enterprises owing social insurance premiums, many are unable to settle arrears with companies in construction, garment, footwear and shipping industries are those owing the highest premiums, the HCMC Social Insurance Agency said.
Specifically, the premium arrears owed by some companies under Mai Linh Group have reached VND40 billion, and five companies have been sued for this.
The garment makers Ilshin Womo and Sea Hwa Vina have owed an amount of VND4.7 billion and VND6.3 billion respectively, while companies under Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) have also failed to pay social insurance premiums. read more BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/12 (10th item).
* Positive apparel, footwear orders for 2013:
Local enterprises have obtained a stable number of apparel and footwear orders for the first few months of 2013, although some customers have yet to decide on volume or price.
Dang Phuong Dung, vice chairwoman and general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said there are no specific statistics on enterprises’ orders for next year. However, some garment and textile firms have reported that the situation is better than in early 2012.
Nguyen Huu Toan, deputy general director of Saigon 2 Garment Joint Stock Company, said that customers have placed orders until June to supply the U.S., European and Japanese markets. However, they have yet to decide on prices.
16:43:32 local time THAILAND
* Wage rise may boost GDP, but ‘businesses will need to adapt’:
The increase of the minimum wage to Bt300 per day nationwide on January 1 may raise the earnings of about 70 per cent of workers across the country and overall payroll by 0.6 per cent of 2013 gross domestic product, according to Kasikorn Research Co.
However, the positive effect on GDP of private-sector spending as consumers find more money in their pockets might be lower than expected.
Because of the new wage, inflation may be driven 0.4 percentage point higher in 2013.
However, amid a rather tight labour market and continued investment by some businesses, the wage increase may not cause unemployment to rise precariously.
16:43:32 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment workers ‘beaten unconscious’:
Workers from the Conpress Holdings factory protest, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
Four garment workers, three of them female, were injured yesterday morning when company and police officials clashed with protesters, union representatives said yesterday.
During demonstrations for the reinstatement of fired workers and back pay, authorities beat two workers unconscious at a protest in front of the Master and Frank factory in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district, while factory security officers injured two protesters at the Conpress Holdings factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, the union representatives said.
About 50 district police officials hit protesters with electric batons as they attempted to push back the crowd of 300 at Master and Frank, knocking out a man and a pregnant woman in the process, said Saom Sokhim, a Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic union member.
“We sent them to the district hospital,” he said, adding that the workers were protesting to demand the factory reinstate 11 union members fired over the past four months, and that it pay workers their lunch wages, which were three days late.
The company had accused the fired union members of inciting the workers to protest, he said. read more.
* Garment strikers march on despite ban:
About 300 workers continued protesting at the Master and Frank garment factory yesterday, rejecting a Kandal Provincial Court injunction ordering them back to work within 48 hours.
After the company promised to consider workers’ demands that it reinstate fired union members, workers cancelled their plans to protest at the court and Ministry of Interior but filed a complaint to the Ministry against district police whom allege beat protesters unconscious on Wednesday, said union representatives.
“The workers will keep protesting until they receive a response from the company’s director in Taiwan,” said Um Visal, a labour dispute resolution officer at the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.
If the factory did not agree to reinstate the unionists in the next two days, the protesters would seek help from government officials, said worker representative and C.CAWDU member Saom Sokhim.
A factory officer who went only by Thy said he could not anticipate the company’s response. read more.
* Workers continue strike at bankrupt US company:
A strike by 2,000 workers at a bankrupt US-owned company entered its third day Thursday, sources said.
The sources said the workers at Svay Rieng (Cambodia) Garment Co Ltd, a manufacturer of hospital gowns, had a list of five demands.
The factory, located in Prey Pdao village in Chrouk Mtes district in Bavet City, has been shut for three days. to read.
* Outcry as Cambodia jails pair over union boss murder:
Cambodian rights campaigners on Thursday condemned the sentencing of two men to 20 years in prison for the 2004 murder of a prominent labour leader, saying the verdict was deeply flawed.
Chea Vichea, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, was gunned down in broad daylight at a newsstand in the capital Phnom Penh — a killing decried by activists as an attempt to silence his labour union.
Days later, Born Samnang, now 32, and Sok Sam Oeun, 43, were arrested and jailed for 20 years each in a verdict which rights watchdogs said was based on insufficient evidence.
In 2008 the Supreme Court provisionally released the pair and ordered a retrial. But the Appeal Court on Thursday ruled that there was sufficient proof of their guilt and confirmed the 20-year sentences.
Am Sam Ath, of local rights groups Licadho, said the pair appeared to be innocent victims. “Civil groups still consider the two men as the artificial killers,” he told reporters.
The pair shouted “unjust” and called for help from the king and Hun Sen as they were led from the court in handcuffs and taken to prison. read more.
* Sentences upheld against killers of union leader:
The Court of Appeal on Thursday upheld 20-year sentences and 40 million riel fines against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun for killing union leader Chea Vichea in 2004.
The verdict, handed down by presiding Judge Chhoun Sunleng, followed a decision by the Supreme Court in 2008 to release the two suspects on bail. to read.
* Cambodia Court Sends ‘Scapegoats’ Back to Jail for Unionist Murder:
A Cambodian court ordered the return to prison on Thursday of two men seen by rights groups as scapegoats for the murder of a top unionist, the latest controversial ruling in a country chided for its low judicial standards.
The Appeals Court upheld a lower court’s handing down of 20-year jail terms for Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun for the 2004 killing of Free Trade Union (FTU) leader Chea Vichea, despite weak evidence and activist claims the pair were framed. read more.
* Cambodia ‘scapegoats’ jailed for union murder:
Rights groups condemn the ruling, saying that authorities failed to bring the real killers of union leader to justice.
Assassinated union leader Chea Vichea was highly critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. [EPA]
A Cambodian court has ordered the return to prison of two men seen by rights groups as scapegoats for the 2004 murder of a prominent unionist, the latest controversial ruling in a country often criticised for its lack of judicial Independence.
The Appeals Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s handing down of 20-year jail terms for Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun for killing Free Trade Union (FTU) leader Chea Vichea.
Following years of public outcry, the Supreme Court had released the two on bail in 2008 after three years in jail to allow further investigation. The Appeals Court on Thursday made no mention of any new evidence against them.
“Please help me, this is very unjust,” Born Samnang shouted as he was taken away by police. He wept and said he would seek help from King Norodom Sihamoni to clear his name.
Chea Vichea, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, was gunned down in broad daylight at a newsstand in the capital Phnom Penh – a killing decried by activists as an attempt to silence his labour union, the largest in the country.
* Guilty verdicts upheld in Chea Vichea slaying:
Almost nine years after they were first arrested for the slaying of a prominent unionist, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were remanded – weeping and begging for help – to police custody yesterday after the Appeal Cout upheld the 20-year sentence handed down in 2004 and ended their provisional release ordered by the Supreme Court four years ago.
The men stand convicted of the murder of Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea, who on January 22, 2004, was gunned down in broad daylight during a rare outing from his home.
An outspoken activist, at times highly critical of the government, Vichea was believed to have powerful enemies. But it was two unknown men who were picked up by the police less than a week later and fingered for the murder. read more.
* Cambodian Workers Flock Into Thailand:
Cambodian workers are rushing into Thailand, where daily minimum wages will be raised to 300 baht (about US$9) in all areas nationwide as of Jan 1, 2013, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
Sombat Juengtrakul, vice president of the Association of Thai-Cambodian Border Traders in Thailand’s eastern Chantaburi Province, told reporters on Thursday that at least 3,000 Cambodian people have crossed the border to find jobs in Chantaburi daily, just days before the nationwide 300 baht daily minimum wage takes effect.
17:43:32 local time INDONESIA
* Minimum Wage Hike In Indonesian Cities Will Burden South Korean Companies:
The minimum wage increase by more than 50 percent in many cities will be a burden for South Korean businesses in Indonesia, South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Young Sun has stated.
“The presence of South Korean companies in Indonesia concerns the welfare of Indonesian labours. However, such a high minimum wage increase will harm businesses, especially the increase by more than 50 percent,” Indonesia’s Antara news agency quoted Kim as saying here on Thursday.
He also said a minimum wage increase by less than 50 percent will not be a problem for South Korean companies since wages offered by Korean companies are above the provincial minimum wage set by local governments. read more.
* Indonesia Plans To Increase Competitiveness Of Its Textile Industry:
The Industry Ministry has planned to increase the competitiveness of the national textile and textile products industry by revamping the technical services units of textile factories.
“The government will revamp the technical services units of textile factories through the provision of textile machinery and equipment, as well as technical training for human resources,” Indonesia’s Antara news agency quoted Industry Ministry Secretary-General Anshari Bukhari as saying here on Wednesday.
16:13:32 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Myanmar garment industry to enjoy GSP in 2013:
Garment industry in Myanmar will benefit from the generalised system of preferences (GSP) of the European Union starting from 2013, according to the Myanmar Garment Association.
The tax advantages gained from GSP are attracting more investments from South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
“Investors from South Korea are coming to see us daily to sound out the investment opportunities. There are also Japanese and Thai investors visiting us. Those potential investors are interested in tax advantages from GSP,” Khine Khine Nwe, secretary of the garment association, said.
The association is optimistic about an upward trend of Myanmar garment industry by the inception time of the GSP system, despite the recent declining demand for garment export from the country. read more.
15:43:32 local time BANGLA DESH
* Savar RMG fire panic injures 10:
At least 10 workers were injured in a fire panic at a readymade garment (RMG) factory in Kalma area under Savar of the district on Thursday.
Sources said the fire broke out in the factory at around 11:00am, which was originated from electric short circuit of an Air Conditioner (AC) at knitting unit of the factory.
The factory authorities told that the panicked workers pressed the fire alarm while 3,000 workers of the factory hurried to escape from the factory, leaving injured 10.
The injured workers were given first-aid. read more.
* BGMEA anxious over proposed power price hike:
The apex body of the country’s readymade garments producers on Thursday expressed worries about the government’s fresh move to raise the electricity price again, saying that it would push the sector in risk.
Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association said in a press release that any rise in electricity price would result in the rise of production cost that would in turn reduce Bangladesh’s ability to compete in the global export market.
Power cost has soared by 35 per cent in the apparel sector as the retail price of electricity has been increased six times since 2010, the release added.
The proposed hike, if implemented, will make it difficult for the exporters to keep their commitment to the buyers as the present orders had been made based on the existing price of the utility. read more.
* Hall-Mark’s illegal buildings demolished:
Eight illegal structures, including a four-storey building were demolished yesterday in Savar on the outskirts of the capital in a drive to recover 10 acres of government land grabbed by Hall-Mark Group.
A team of Dhaka district administration along with Savar police and the Industrial police bulldozed structures that housed at least 20 factories and storehouses at Nandakhali.
Seven tin-shed structures have been completely demolished while the four-storey building has been partially destroyed due to lack of proper equipment, witnesses said. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Understanding work and workers:
Work is as much a part of life, as say, eating or sleeping. The ‘Oxford Dictionary’, defines work, “To do something that involves physical or mental effort”.
It adds, “The activity is specially considered as part of a job’. Job is stated to be “Work for which you receive regular pay.” It is further stated “A particular task or piece of work, that you have to do”.
Further, job is referred to as “A responsibility or duty”. All the above statements correlate ‘work and job’. From the above definitions, one may conclude that broadly speaking, ‘work is job’ and ‘job is work’. These definitions reinforce the close link between ‘work’ and ‘job’, and leads to the natural linkage between ‘work’ and ‘reward’ which could be in terms of money or otherwise.
In Bangladesh unfortunately, human values are badly ignored in the industrial environment. This is the underlying reason that results in most of our labour unrests. It is also the prime cause of poor productivity. Till such time that our industries do not value the man or woman behind the machine, this sad and sorry trend will bound to continue. read more.
15:13:32 local time INDIA
* Harassment hounds women at workplace:
There seems to be no place safe for women. If at home they are abused by their husbands and other male family members and on the streets they are harassed, molested and raped, the workplace is no safer.
Whether it is the offices of multinational companies, BPOs, the IT sector or the unorganized sector including household helps and labourers, the rate of harassment of women at the workplace is rising rapidly in the city.
A vast majority of women workers have experienced gender discrimination and harassment, which includes offensive sexist remarks, unwelcome passes and being offered promotion and better treatment if they are ‘cooperative’ – read ready to bestow sexual favours – by their seniors. read more.
* Give us wages we were promised, NREGS women workers demand:
Irked over being given less than half the promised wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), women workers staged a demonstration outside the office of the Kovilambakkam village panchayat near Tambaram on Thursday morning.
The women insisted that they be paid the full amount of Rs. 132 a day as promised, instead of the Rs. 60 they were being given for scooping out earth as part of deepening and desilting a pond in Kovilambakkam. read more.
* Interest subsidy to slash cost of garments industry:
The decision to extend two per cent interest subsidy to some labour-intensive industries, including textiles, garments and handicrafts, till March 2014 has brought cheer to the garments industry.
It would help garment manufacturers reduce working capital expenditure and, consequently, production costs. India is losing ground in exporting apparel to high-margin Western destinations to new competitors such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey and Mexico, as the cost of manufacturing in India is very high.
“The decision to extend the two per cent interest subvention scheme for specific sectors up to March 31, 2014 is timely and would help boost exports. It would surely give a thrust to the apparel and textiles sector, reeling under the sluggishness in the US and European markets.
The impacted markets, especially in Europe and America’, and the resultant weak demand have adversely impacted our exports,” said A Sakthivel, chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council.
With the extension of interest subsidy, garment exporters would now be able to reduce prices of garments and compete with major exporting nations. Rahul Mehta, president of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, said the government’s move was a positive one. read more.
* Indian govt extends interest subsidy on textile exports:
* Textile traders take to streets over power shortage:
Textile traders in Erode town took to the streets on Thursday against the power shortage and urging the Central Government to allocate additional power from Central pool to solve the worsening power crisis in Tamil Nadu.
The traders, who supply raw materials to textile units and also procure semi-finished and finished goods from them, said they were suffering a drastic fall in business volumes due to the ongoing power crisis.
A large number of textile units in the district were forced to stop production. Only a few large units that could afford to use generators were running. read more.
* Textile traders demand solution to traffic woes:
The city houses the country’s largest synthetic fabric wholesale market yet not many traders from other cities like to visit it because of traffic chaos during the business hours.
With a view to boost trade and ease traffic-related problems in the textile market areas including Ring Road, Sahara Darwaja and Salabatpura, the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) has urged the city police department to chalk out steps to solve traffic woes. read more.
14:43:32 local time PAKISTAN
* Work stopped: Textile workers to hold long march:
Leaders of the textile industry have announced that they will stop production activities on Friday and march towards Islamabad along with thousands of their workers to protest against suspension of gas and electricity supply.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday evening, industry leaders including All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Group Leader Gohar Ejaz and Chairman Ahsan Bashir said they had no choice but to close down their units because gas and power were critical for their units.
According to the plan, they said, the workers and mill owners would stage a sit-in at Khurianwala and proceed to the motorway for a march towards Islamabad. Around 200,000 workers are expected to participate. to read.
* Garment sector backs Aptma protest plan:
Following the announcement of several chambers and associations, the value-added textile industry has also decided to back the stance of APTMA to launch protest series for restoration of gas and power supply to industry as post-Christmas orders are now in jeopardy and could go to Bangladesh and India.
This was stated by Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) central chairman Sajid Saleem Minhas here on Thursday. He said that PRGMEA held a meeting of its managing committee, which unanimously decided to support the strategy of other industrial associations to come to streets with a view to run the wheel of industry.
He said that shutdown of large-scale textile factories across Punjab has started disrupting the supply of yarn and fabric to the value-added and small apparel industry. read more.
* Shutdown starves apparel industry of yarn, fabric:
The shutdown of 190 large-scale textile factories across Punjab because of total disconnection of power supplies to them has already started disrupting the supply of yarn and fabric to the value-added, small- to medium-scale apparel industry.
“We are not getting the supplies of our raw material due to the large-scale closure of spinning, weaving and processing industry in the province,” Ijaz Khokhar, Chief Coordinator of the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) told Dawn by telephone from Sialkot.
“Majority of the apparel (woven garments and knitwear) industry comprises small- to medium-sized units and cannot afford to stock raw material for more than one week. Our stocks are already depleting because of disruption to value supply chain on account of closure of spinning, weaving and processing for the last four days,” he said. read more.
* Centre wants to destroy textile industry: Shahbaz:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Wednesday that “Zar Baba and his companions” have given nothing to the masses and the country except crises like unemployment, dearness, loadshedding, corruption and nepotism.
Addressing a public gathering at Kot Mirza in Shorkot, he said that the PPP-led government had destroyed the national economy by looting billions of rupees from the national exchequer.
The industry and agricultural sector had been ruined because of artificial shortage of electricity.
The corrupt had looted farmers in the name of fertilisers and now they wanted to destroy textile industry of Punjab.
The chief minister further said that to eliminate corruption and loadshedding from the country and to solve all the problems, the masses should help the PML-N through votes in upcoming general elections. read more.