in the news on-line, 17-18 February 2013

09:00:35 local time map of china CHINA

* Toxic dye found in Shanghai school uniforms:

Students in 21 primary and middle schools in east China’s Shanghai were ordered to stop wearing their uniforms on Monday after a toxic dye was found in the products of a local garment firm.

In a recent quality inspection campaign, aromatic amine dye, which can cause cancer, was detected in one batch of student uniforms produced in July 2012 by the Shanghai Ouxia garment company, said the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.
Six batches of the company’s clothes products were substandard, said the city’s quality watchdog. The company has been one of a number of producers of school uniforms in Shanghai for five years. read more.

08:00:35 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Retirement age proposed to be increased by 5 years:

The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs has launched a proposal that the retirement age for certain types of workers, both men and women, should be increased by five years.

The extended retirement age should be applied for those workers who have high levels of professional skills, are engaged in managerial jobs, or belong to special cases, the ministry said.
Accordingly, the new retirement ages for such subjects will be 65 for men and 60 for women. read more.

08:00:35 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Free Somyot- Radio interview about Somyot’s case:

Australian interview with Somyot’s wife Joop here.


* Lese majeste group urges House review:

A group of academics pushing for an amendment to the lese majeste law is demanding the Lower House review its decision to not consider their proposal.

The Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 (CCAA) presented to parliament on May 29 last year a bill that would amend the section of the Criminal Code covering lese majeste offences.
|The House decided on Oct 11 the amendment would breach the constitution and refused to accept the bill for debate.

A four-page appeal against that decision will be handed to the House this week, signed by CCAA members Charnvit Kasetsiri, Nidhi Eoseewong, Puangthong Pawakapan, Worachet Pakeerut, Yukti Mukdawijitra and Rawee Siri-issaranand.
Mr Yukti, a Thammasat University assistant professor of anthropology, yesterday said the decision to bar the proposal was based on false information. read more.

08:00:35 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Factory pay protest continues:

Workers at the shuttered Yung Wah I and II factories in Kandal province will continue protesting today, despite the government already agreeing to pay them using company funds. Worker Soy Sokchea said yesterday that he and his colleagues would keep demanding benefits and seniority bonuses.

“We thank the government, but we need our benefits… because we have worked for this factory for many years,” he said, adding that he was owed more than $1,000. “We sleep in front of the factory every night to protect the equipment in case the employers take it quietly out of the factory [to sell].”

The factory has been closed since late December when the owners fled unannounced.
Um Visal, labour dispute resolution officer at the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said yesterday that the workers had demanded the government pay them using company money that had been lodged as a type of bond.

“The workers did not care whether the equipment in the factory is sold or not, but what they want is responsibility from the government,” he said.  read more.

09:00:35 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* BetterWork Indonesia media update:

1. 900,000 workers to lose jobsRead the full article here
2. Wage Suspension have to be discussed by Tripartite.
Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
3. Employers prepare for relocation to Central Java, tens of thousands will be   laid-off.
Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
4. Minimum Wage Postponement 2013: Hampered by incomplete proposed requirements.
Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
5. Stakeholders at odds over premiums for social security.
Read the full article here
6. Workers Flat rented for Rp. 50 thousand per month.
Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
7. Govt turns to industrial zoning to push growth. Read the full article here

BetterWork Indonesia overview here.
BW indonesia

07:00:35 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* 10 RMG factories remain shut as worker demonstrate for increment:

Ten readymade garment factories at Pukurpar of Ashulia industrial belt in Savar, on the outskirt of the capital, were shut down on Saturday for the day fearing workers unrest.

Witnesses said that several hundred workers of Mascot Garments started demonstrations in the morning demanding yearly increment. As the management paid no heed to their demand, the workers took to the street and blocked Jirabo-Bishmail road.
The agitated workers also pelted stones to the nearby factories and called the workers of the factories to join them in the protests.

The management of nearby factories shut down ten factories including Picard Leather Factory, JL Fashion, Jewel Fashion, Irish Fashion, Arunima Fashion and AM Design to avoid workers unrest, the witnesses said.
Ashulia industrial police deputy director Ali Ahmed Khan said that about 2,200 workers of Mascot garment staged protests demanding yearly increment.
read more.
BD new age

* USTR to assess labour rights:

A high-powered team from the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) is likely to visit Bangladesh to assess the progress of compliance issues, especially the labour rights situation, in the country’s apparel units, EPZs and shrimp farms.

The delegation, to be led by Michael J Delaney, assistant representative of USTR for South Asia, will visit the country in the third week of this month to see the progress made in key labour areas, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, working environment and other safety compliances.

The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest federation of unions in the United States, earlier requested the USTR to suspend GSP facilities for Bangladesh products in the US market for Dhaka’s alleged ‘continued failure to uphold labour rights’. On January 8, the USTR issued a notice requesting comments from the stakeholders on the possible withdrawal, suspension, or limitation of GSP benefits for Bangladeshi products, and the government made its submission last month arguing for continued GSP facilities.
read more.

* RMG exports surge 23pc in Jan:

Bangladesh’s earnings from exports of readymade garments rose by almost 23 percent in January 2013, boosted by a shift in orders from China.

In January 2013, Bangladesh exported apparels worth US$ 2.09 billion, as against exports of US$ 1.70 billion made during the corresponding month of last year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
During the first seven months of the current Bangladeshi fiscal that began on July 1, 2012, the country’s clothing exports totaled US$ 12.04 billion, registering a growth of 9.9 percent year-on-year, reports

While woven garments fetched US$ 6.11 billion, showing a growth of 13.57 percent year-on-year during July-January 2012-13, knitwear accounted for US$ 5.92 billion, up 6.39 percent year-on-year.
Earnings from both woven apparels and knitwear exceeded the target by 1.49 percent and 1.14 percent respectivley, during the first seven months of the current fiscal 2012-13.
The clothing industry employs about 3.6 million people in Bangladesh and accounts for 80 percent of the country’s overall export earnings.  to read.

* BGMEA urges Canada to take steps to neutralise impact of GPT review:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has requested the Canadian government to take measures to neutralise or counterbalance the impact of GPT (General Preferential Tariff) review on the LDCs’ (Least Developed Countries’) duty-free apparel exports to Canada.

The GPT review, as proposed, would lead to a major impact on Bangladesh’s apparel exports to Canada which may lead to closing down of several hundred garment factories and dislocation of many jobs. read more.
FE bd

* RMG sector: Time to act before it is too late:

In the aftermath of the devastating Tazreen fire that killed over hundred workers (reckoned as the highest death toll in one single fire incident) seriously injuring unknown numbers, endless protests, discussions and opinions are pouring in through different channels of print and electronic media.

All stakeholders in the industry have been urged to take quick corrective actions. Indeed, warning bells are ringing loud all around signaling impending threats endangering international competitiveness of the industry and possible loss of global market shares in near future.
Devastating factory fires, continued workers’ unrests for raising abysmally low wage rates, practice of delayed payments of salaries, and other benefits and lack of workers’ rights etc., are sending negative messages to the leading foreign buyers who are targeting Bangladesh as the next potential source of RMG items after China.

So far, serious concerns were expressed by the US retail giant Wal-Mart, Swedish budget fashion firm H&M, British retail chains Tesco and Marks and Spencer and Germany’s Kohl’s & Carrefour etc over poor safety standards and overall unfriendly work environment in Bangladesh’s RMG factories.
These are pointers to difficult challenges facing Bangladesh’s possibilities to capture larger global market shares and emerge as the world’s ‘Export Powerhouse’ of readymade garments. To these may be added the adverse consequences that may follow possible withdrawal of GSP facilities currently enjoyed by the RMG exporters in the Eurozone markets.  read more.
FE bd

* Jute goods exporters forced to cut price to retain markets:

The country’s earning from export of jute and jute products in the first seven months of the financial year increased but exporters had to cut down prices to retain their markets.

Jute and jute products exporters said that importing countries were offering lower prices of jute amid decrease in demand.
Sometimes, the importers are offering prices below the production cost, they said.
At present, a tonne of jute yarn are selling at around $1,000, which was $1,100-1,150 a tonne in the previous financial year.
The exporters said that the export earning from jute and jute goods witnessed a positive growth in first seven months of current financial year as the exporters increased their export volume with minimum profit.  read more.
BD new age

* Hall-Mark chair Jesmin`s bail cancelled:

A court here on Sunday cancelled bail of Hall-Mark Group chairman Jesmin Islam in 11 corruption cases, asking her to appear before it in three days.

Judge Mohammad Zahirul Haque of Senior Special Judges` Court, Dhaka, passed the order after special public prosecutor Mir Ahmed Abdus Salam submitted 11 separate petitions seeking cancellation of bail granted to Jasmine by the lower court on Feb 7.  read more. & read more.
UNB  daily star bd

* BGMEA task force to take two more months to survey safety measures:

A BGMEA task force, now monitoring safety issues in different garment factories, will take two more months more to submit its report.

The time is being taken to make our investigation more precise, said task force members.
“Initially, we are working on 10 garment factories situated inside and outside Dhaka. Most of the garment factories belong to the top leaders of the apparel sector.” Institute of Architects Bangladesh president Mubasshar Hussain, also a member of the task force, told the FE Sunday.

He said: “We are likely to submit the report on four garment factories early March. We might be able to complete the report of six more apparel factories by April.”
Hussain said: “We are focusing on safety issues and measures to ensure it.
We are examining the number of workers, space, exit ways, stairs and the number of fire extinguishers in each factory. On the other hand, we are observing whether the owners have factories built following the building code.”  read more.
FE bd


*  6 more Tazreen fire victims identified:

Six more workers who among 53 were burnt to death beyond recognition in the Tazreen Fashions fire and buried unidentified were identified from DNA sampling of their relatives.

The National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College Hospital submitted the test reports of four workers to the labour ministry and reports of the rest two would be submitted shortly, the lab sources said.
Mikail Shipar, secretary in-charge to the labour and employment ministry, on
Thursday told New Age that he had received four more matching reports recently and sent them to the Prime Minister’s Office for the next procedure.
He said that after the submission of the test reports of the four fire victims by the DNA lab, the number of identified workers stood at 41.  read more.
BD new age

07:00:35 local time map of bangla_desh INDIA

* JCTU appeals for support to nationwide strike:

The Joint Committee of Trade Unions (JCTU) has appealed to the members of all trade unions to support the all-India general strike, on February 20 and 21, in order to pressure the Union government to meet its long pending demands.

Eleven trade unions and associations including and employees of banks, government and insurance companies have already extended support to the strike

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, Mahesh Pattar of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), B.N. Pujari of All-India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA), and M.R. Kavalikai of All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said that trade unions had for the first time given a call for a two-day strike.  read more.

* Trade unions call for stir against price rise:

Eleven central trade unions and workers’ federations have called for a two-day nationwide strike from February 20 in protest against the government’s “inaction” on price rise and alleged violation of labour laws.

“For the first time, all trade unions have come together for a two-day strike as the government has not taken any action to look into the problems of the sky-rise inflation, disinvestment in public sector units and non-implementation of labour laws,” All India United Trade Union Centre General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said.

The unions have decided to go for the strike as the government is not interested in listening to their demands and has not responded with anything despite our call for it, he added.

“A last-minute meeting called by Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on February 13 resulted in further strengthening of resolve for strike as the government could not come forward to resolve any of the issues concerning the Labour Ministry,” he said.
read more.

* Make the general Strike of February 20-21 a great success:

Indian working class will be on a historic 48 hours General Strike on 20th and 21st February 2013. The call for the strike is given by Eleven Central T.Us and supported by various National Federations, independent trade unions and other workers’ organizations.

Major Demands

  1. Price control of essential commodities and ensuring universal Public Distribution System to ensure food security
  2. Universal coverage by minimum wages Act and statutory minimum wage of not less than Rs 10000
  3. Pension for all, removal of all ceiling on eligibility for bonus, provident fund etc and raising minimum pension to Rs. 3,000
  4. Compulsory registration of the trade unions within a time frame of 45 day
  5. End to the highly exploitative contract systems and Equal wage for equal work
  6. Effective implementation of all labour laws and stringent punishment to those who flout them
  7. Universal social security for all unorganised workers by creating a National Social Security Fund with adequate financial allocations and Bringing 37 crore unorganised sector workers under the EPF/ESIActs.

read more.

* Trade union strike likely to bring industrial activity to a standstill:

The two-day nationwide strike will begin on Wednesday

Industrial activity in Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar is likely to come to a standstill on February 20 and 21 following a two-day national strike called by various trade unions and supported by political parties.

Nearly two lakh workers in micro, small, medium and large industries in the three districts are expected to join the strike heeding the call of their respective trade unions.
However, in a bid to minimise the production loss and to maintain law and order, the Mysore Industries Association (MIA) has appealed to the managements of all industries in the region to declare a compensatory holiday on Wednesday.
read more.

* Two-day nationwide strike by working class to bring Kerala to standstill:

The working class of India will hold a 48-hour general strike on February 20 and 21 with support from all 11 central trade unions and national federations of various professionals.

The strike, expected to be the largest engagement by the working class of the country, has been called to protest against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of the Union government.
The CPI(M) has declared their full support to the strike and all the service organizations of the party will also support.

The strike was announced at the National Convention of Central Public Sector Unions, which took place in Chennai on December 15 that had representation from INTUC, CITU, BMS, AITUC, HMS and LPF, along with independent unions and their joint action committees from Bangalore and Hyderabad.  read more.

* Textile industry on a comeback trail:

Having posted better third quarter results, Indian textile industry is bullish that its hay days are back. So much so that industry representatives and experts alike cite the next financial year as the “come back year” for the sector.

Cheaper raw materials, coupled with a favourable foreign exchange scenario and full capacity utilisation, will propel the textile industry to an overall growth rate of 15-20 per cent against the current 8-10 per cent.

“The flip turn began in the second quarter and it further improved in the third quarter. The fourth quarter looks even better. In fact, the industry is on a comeback trail and will see substantial recovery in the next fiscal with a sub 15-20 per cent growth rate,” says D K Nair, secretary general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI).  read more.

* Garment exports likely to be flat at $14 bn: AEPC:

India’s apparel exports are expected to be flat at $14 billion in 2012—13 as there is a slowdown in demand in markets like the US and Europe .

“Garment exports stood at about $14 billion in 2011—12. At the end of this fiscal, I think garment exports will arrive at the same figure as that of last year due to demand slowdown in western markets,” Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said.
The government had fixed garment exports target at $18 billion for the current fiscal.
The US and Europe together account for over 65 per cent of the country’s garment exports.  read more.

* Demand slowly-picking up for organic clothing in India:

Though India is the largest producer of organic cotton in the world, the demand for organic clothing is slowly-picking up in India, mostly because of its high price.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Prashant Balar owner of Herbal Fab, which produces apparels from organic cotton, said, “Organic cotton apparels are gaining ground in India but in a very slow pace.”
“Organic cotton garments have a very slow growth in India and it will always remain in the niche market because of its high price,” he adds.
According to him, the demand for organic kidswear garments is rising in the country since people are becoming more aware of the impact of chemical dyes on skin of the babies. read more.

* India may miss $18bn apparel export target in FY’13:

India is likely to miss its apparel export target of US$ 18 billion for the current fiscal 2012-13, mainly due to a slowdown in its traditional export markets.
India’s garment exports during the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, are expected to remain at US$ 14 billion, same as the exports achieved last fiscal, due to slowdown in demand in western markets, Mr. A Sakthivel, chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), has said, Business Line reported.
For the current fiscal, the Indian Government has fixed clothing export target at US$ 18 billion.  read more.

* Apparel City may remain a pipe dream:

Nearly six years after 1,000 acres was handed over to Sri Lankan apparel giant Brandix for setting up a ‘fibre-to-store’ concept Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) on the outskirts of Vizag, the entire project itself seems to be on uncertain grounds.

While on one hand there is talk that the state government is mulling de-notifying the land due to Brandix’s failure to meet its investment and job creation obligations, on the other, there is a buzz that the company itself is contemplating a pullout as it has been unable to rope in apparel firms to set up shop here. read more.

* Six entrepreneurs keeping art of weaving & embroidering alive in Bengal:

VidyaBalan wore a typical Bengal handloom sari, a red-bordered gorod silk, in the climax of Kahaani. It turned the spotlight on Bengal’s handloom saris, which have been seeing a revival lately, thanks to the efforts of a small group of entrepreneurs from Kolkata. West Bengal has a rich handloom tradition and is home to some 750,000 weavers.

Handlooms occupy second place to agriculture in providing livelihood to the people of the state. The late Meera Basu started working with weavers from the handloom hubs in Bengal over 40 years ago and produced one of the first exclusive brands of Bengal saris, while Darshan Shah set up Weavers Studio in 1993 not just as a business venture but also as an effort to build an educational centre and archives for Bengal handlooms.
Now Fabindia, arguably the largest private handicrafts company in India, is supporting the revival of interest in Bengal handloom.  read more.

06:30:35 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* After two decades, Sri Lanka embraces forgotten textile generation:

At last…
A few of the 3,605 compensation award recipients watch in anticipation at the Ministry of Industry & Commerce on 12 February.

“196 of their comrades are no more. But after more than two decades of repeated efforts by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce – with strong backing from Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara-3605 Lankan textile employees who suddenly lost their livelihood during 1980-’82 period and left destitute, finally clinched their monetary compensation and due recognition on 12 February in Colombo,” the ministry said in statement.

“Our government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has not forgotten about your contribution and in fact, believes Lankan worker-rights to be a main priority,” vowed a victorious Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 12 February.
“From the very first day I took over office as the Industry and Commerce Minister, representatives of these helpless ex-employees, once the backbone of our national textile sector, kept on visiting and meeting me with their appeals. read more.

* Tough laws in the offing to strengthen rights of workers:

With no proper statistics available on Sri Lanka’s industrial accidents and diseases, the envisaged ‘Safety, Health and Welfare’ legislative enactment will be a turning point in clearing the hurdles towards strengthening the rights of workers through stringent regulations, says Prof. Hemantha Wickramatillake, an expert in the sphere.

“This proposed legislation will bring about many changes and a new era in safety and health with adequate legal clout to safeguard the interests of the country’s workforce”, he emphasized.

The situation in Sri Lanka is no different to many developing countries. With an estimated current workforce of around eight million, the legal safety and health cover is only for around three million workers in the formal sector. This is also restricted to those who come under the Factories Ordinance, Prof. Wickramatillake said in an interview with The Sunday Island. read more.

* Death of local apparel manufacturing is nigh:

The problem with being emotional and political about an argument is that one misses some important cues that in hindsight can cause disruptive change.

The current discussion on the hard hit local manufacturing sector is a case in point. In their eagernss to find an excuse for their falling fortunes, management, especially in the apparel sector has the ultimate fall-guy: losing GSP Plus concessions. If only life was that simple.
Tax concessions or preferential access arrangements are always fleeting. Anyone who makes capital allocation decision on short term trade preference deals is at best taking on a leveraged bet that the scenario remains unchanged and shows complete ignorance of the political economy.

What’s about to bite our manufacturing industry will have a profound impact on the broader economy and society. This will be the domestic episode in a global drama. The drama is called 3D Printing. The actors include developed market central bankers, accounting standards in how companies can treat their debt vs. equity in the capital structure, and most importantly disruptive technological innovation. Advances in robotics and material usage will be the leading cause of manufacturing job losses in the apparel industry over the next three to five years. read more.

* Govt. powwow over GSP + :

The government is looking at the possibility of re-applying for EU GSP plus concessions that would assist the apparel industry, which was recently feeling the pinch from the lack of it.

The Commerce Department is in discussion with exporters on this matter, Trade and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen told the Business Times.
He noted that it was still at the discussion stage and they were trying to understand the government mechanism that needs to be adopted in this regard.

Trade and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena said the External Affairs Ministry and the Commerce Department were working on this subject. He pointed out that the GSP plus concessions were important to the country but declined to comment any further. read more.

06:00:35 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN


* SHC says no to mass burial:

Declining a plea to allow mass burial of the unidentified victims of the Baldia factory fire, the Sindh High Court has summoned the project director of the National Forensic Science Agency to appear personally and explain delays in identifying the bodies on February 20.

“We find it hard to express ourselves,” remarked Justice Maqbool Baqir, who headed the bench while hearing a petition seeking a judicial probe into the worst industrial disaster in which at least 259 workers were killed on September 11, 2012.
The relatives of 21 workers, who are believed to have been killed in fire but whose charred bodies remain unidentified, had gone to court.

Khurram Ahmed, representing one of the bereaved families, requested the judges to direct the authorities to hand over the unidentified bodies to the families for a “collective burial”.
The two judges declined the request. “We have been told that 17 bodies of the victims have still not been identified.”
“We, therefore, find it difficult to order handing over the bodies as the legal heirs of other victims may not agree to such an order,” they added.  read more.

* SHC seeks explanation from forensic expert, police:

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday ordered the director of the National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) and a police official to appear before the court with progress reports on their efforts to identify the bodies of 21 Baldia factory fire victims.

The court was hearing the applications of 21 bereaved family members of the Baldia factory fire victims, who sought last rituals and a collective burial for their loved ones who lost their lives in the inferno on September 11 last year.
The bodies of the 21 workers of the ill-fated factory, Ali Enterprises, could not be identified despite the lapse of six months and repeated directives of the SHC that ordered the police to conduct DNA tests of the unidentified bodies. read more.

* Court asked to decide on charges:

To guard against interference in the ongoing trial of the country’s worst industrial disaster, the Sindh High Court has told the concerned trial court to decide on the police’s report for dropping key murder charges against the Baldia garment factory owners was strictly in accordance with the law.

This order came in response to petitions by several workers and human rights groups, which accused Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of interfering in the trial.
The organisations had gone to the court against PM Ashraf and the police, for their alleged attempts to save the owners of the Ali Enterprises.  to read.

* Hearing of bail pleas put off till 23rd:

A sessions court on Saturday sought exact record of the charges against the Baldia factory fire case accused and adjourned the hearing of their bail applications till February 23.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (West) Abdullah Channa is hearing the bail pleas of five accused Amjad Ali, Fazal Ahmed, Abdur Rasheed Solangi, Zahid and Ghulam Akbar.

When the hearing of Baldia factory fire case resumed on Saturday, the court noted that the copies of charges were not placed on the record and issued directives to fulfill the legalities of the matter and present exact record of the charges against the accused.

In their bail applications, the under detention accused have taken the plea that they had no involvement in the case and false allegations were foisted on them.
read more.


* Misuse of zero-rating regime: textile tycoons face tough action:

The Federal Board of Revenue””s (FBR) Directorate-General of Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue (IR) on Saturday moved to arrest and prosecute owners and directors of textile units involved in misuse of zero-rating regime, fake invoices and claim bogus sales tax refunds on fake exports.

Sources told Business Recorder that special teams of the DG I&I IR has started conducting raids in Karachi, Faisalabad, Lahore and KP to arrest and prosecute directors of textile units who have misused zero-rating regime or normal sales tax laws. Other categories of units included those involved in business of fake/flying invoices, claimed bogus sales tax refunds on fake exports. read more.

* Value-added textile sector unlikely to sustain losses: PHMA:

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) fears that the fragile value-added textile sector is unlikely to sustain losses for long.

It has appealed to the government to protect the export-oriented businesses in the city. PHMA in a letter to President Asif Zardari has narrated a grimmer situation which the textile sector is undergoing in the absence of protection to the export-oriented manufacturing sector.

Giving an SOS, central chairman of PHMA, Javed Bilwani said the entire exporting sector is held hostage to outlaws. He said incidents of gunpoint hijacking of vehicles laden with export-goods continue unabated. Gunpoint robberies in factories and threats by outlaws to industrialists for extortion, kidnapping of traders against ransom and daylight street crimes have plagued the businesses in the city, he said.
read more.

* Textile sector rejects WHT:

The value-added textile sector has strongly reacted over the imposition of one percent withholding tax on purchases.

Zonal Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq criticised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on extending the sales tax withholding regime according to which all companies including exporters will be subjected to withholding tax at one-fifth (l/5th) of the applicable rate of sales tax on all purchases. read more.

* FIRs registered against textile companies in Rs6 bn fraud:

The FBR has unearthed a mega scam of billions of rupees with the involvement of giant textile units of the country and FIRs have been registered for causing losses to the national exchequer, The News has learnt.

Tax authorities were shocked to know that the whole textile sector paid gross tax to the tune of only Rs1 billion in the first six months (July-Dec) period in the current fiscal year but they got refunds to the tune of Rs6 billion.
“There has been negative taxation in the textile sector,” said a senior official in the FBR and feared that in the supply chain bogus and flying invoices business was rife at the cost of the national exchequer and they might have just hit the tip of the iceberg.  read more.

* PRGMEA criticises FBR for extending sales tax withholding regime:

The Zonal Chairman, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Mr. Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq has strongly criticized the FBR on extending the Sales Tax Withholding Regime through its notification SRO 98(1)72013, dated 14-02-2013 according to which all companies including exporters will be subjected to Withholding Tax at one-fifth (l/5th) of the applicable rate of sales tax on all purchases.

Mr. Shafiq said that this move is purely a revenue generation measure meant to bolster the numbers of incompetent FBR. This measure will further fuel inflation in the country and the direct burden would be on domestic consumers and international buyers of Pakistan textile and garment industry.  read more. & read more.

* Pakistan yet to apply for GSP Plus, says EU envoy:

The ball is in Pakistan’s court to effectively negotiate with the European Union (EU) to obtain GSP-Plus status in 2014, said Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, EU’s ambassador to Pakistan.

He stated this during a visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here Saturday.
From 1st January 2014 the EU’s new Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regime would come into force which would be valid for seven to eight years from 2014, said the envoy. “Pakistan has yet not applied for GSP Plus,” he added.
read more.

06:00:35 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

New computer game – “My cotton picking day”:

The UK company has offered a virtual trip to Uzbek cotton fields to find out how it is hard to pick cotton, especially for children.

“Every year people, including children, are forced into picking cotton in Uzbekistan. We then wear that cotton in our clothes. How hard is the work?” says the foreword to the game created by
Players are asked to pick 50 kilos of cotton which is an average daily rate, which people, even young pickers, are forced to reach in Uzbekistan. read more.


map of Asia


* Toxic dye found in Shanghai school uniforms

* Retirement age proposed to be increased by 5 years

* Free Somyot- Radio interview about Somyot’s case
* Lese majeste group urges House review

* Factory pay protest continues

* BetterWork Indonesia media update

* 10 RMG factories remain shut as worker demonstrate for increment
* USTR to assess labour rights
* RMG exports surge 23pc in Jan
* BGMEA urges Canada to take steps to neutralise impact of GPT review
* RMG sector: Time to act before it is too late
* Jute goods exporters forced to cut price to retain markets
* Hall-Mark chair Jesmin`s bail cancelled
* BGMEA task force to take two more months to survey safety measures
* 6 more Tazreen fire victims identified

* JCTU appeals for support to nationwide strike:
* Trade unions call for stir against price rise
* Make the general Strike of February 20-21 a great success
* Trade union strike likely to bring industrial activity to a standstill
* Two-day nationwide strike by working class to bring Kerala to standstill
* Textile industry on a comeback trail
* Garment exports likely to be flat at $14 bn: AEPC
* Demand slowly-picking up for organic clothing in India
* India may miss $18bn apparel export target in FY’13
* Apparel City may remain a pipe dream
* Six entrepreneurs keeping art of weaving & embroidering alive in Bengal

* After two decades, Sri Lanka embraces forgotten textile generation
* Tough laws in the offing to strengthen rights of workers
* Death of local apparel manufacturing is nigh
* Govt. powwow over GSP +

* SHC says no to mass burial
* SHC seeks explanation from forensic expert, police
* Court asked to decide on charges
* Hearing of bail pleas put off till 23rd
* Misuse of zero-rating regime: textile tycoons face tough action
* Value-added textile sector unlikely to sustain losses: PHMA
* Textile sector rejects WHT
* FIRs registered against textile companies in Rs6 bn fraud
* PRGMEA criticises FBR for extending sales tax withholding regime
* Pakistan yet to apply for GSP Plus, says EU envoy

* New computer game – “My cotton picking day”

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