in the news on-line, 26 February 2013

08:25:41 local time map of china CHINA

* Shanghai police investigate toxic school uniforms:

Police in Shanghai have started investigating a local garment firm after toxic dye was found in the school uniforms it manufactures, authorities said Monday.

Disciplinary supervision authorities are also investigating whether officials allowed the substandard uniforms to enter school campuses, a city government spokesman said.
As of Sunday, two out of 106 batches of school uniforms produced by the Ouxia Garment Company were confirmed to contain azo dye, which can cause cancer, said the spokesman.  read more.

* Sportswear firms face another tough year:

This year will still be “challenging” for Chinese sportswear makers, after a bleak 2012 meant losses for many brands, according to a senior industry source.

Ding Shizhong, chairman and CEO of Anta Sports Products Ltd, said that his company’s growth stalled last year, for the first time since it was established in 1994.
Anta was one of many Chinese sportswear makers that reported lackluster results in 2012, as fiercer competition and weaker demand took a toll on some players.

“In 2013, the market has plenty of room for growth, but the challenges are equally big for the industry,” Ding said at a news conference in Hong Kong on Monday. “Anta will be more responsive to the market changes to remain competitive.” read more.

* China to blacklist 58 chemicals by 2015:

Greenpeace hailed China’s commitment to clean up chemical pollution with a breakthrough chemical management plan that acknowledges for the first time the existence of ‘cancer villages’ and will blacklist 58 chemicals and have an elimination chemical list by 2015.

“China has been the world’s largest chemical producer since 2010. The Plan indicates that the massive pollution found across the country, caused by large-scale chemical production and the release of hazardous chemicals, urgently needs to be tackled,” said Yixiu Wu, Toxic Campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia based on Beijing.  read more.

08:25:41 local time map of philippines PHILIPPINES

* Take advantage of EU preferential tariffs, govt urged:

The Philippines should take advantage of preferential tariffs offered by the European Union (EU) under the bloc’s new import scheme, which will take effect in 2014.

Next year the European Commission is rolling out a new Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) dubbed as “GSP+” that will grant trade concessions for “trade-vulnerable countries” and limit imports to developing countries most in need.

“Top gainers for the Philippines, if and when we quality for GSP+ additional preference, are prepared foodstuff like canned tuna and garments and textiles,” Maria Tereza Borja, trade assistant of Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Brussels, Belgium, said in a seminar on the GSP scheme. read more.

07:25:41 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garment businesses see bright signs in export:

20130225 TUOITREnews
Sewing workers at a garment factory Photo: VNA

Local garment and textile businesses felt excited in the first two months of 2013 as orders from abroad came in droves.

Experts predicted that the garment and textile sector will maintain its growth rate of 12-15 percent to pocket around US$19.3 billion in export turnover this year.
For the goal, the sector needs a large workforce, senior advisor to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Le Quoc An said, suggesting the employment of additional 200,000 workers.

In 2012, it kept topping the country’s export list, raking in $17.2 billion, a year-on-year rise of 8.5 percent.The sector aims to continue being the country’s spearhead hard currency earner in at least 10 years.  to read.

07:25:41 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* H&M and Walmart let the workers wait and wait and…..:

Kingsland road block- 1000’s delayed- Workers want to throw Themselves under moving cars

H&M say they have a responsibility for the garment-workers, They wrote in October 2012.
The garment workers often work under tremendous time pressure for the companies. The assignments must be done yesterday.

But to implement the responsibility it remains silent at H&M and Walmart,
Then there is no time pressure, for them…
But Now time is running out for the garment workers.

20130225 CLEC1Kingsland workers have had enough! Saturday and Sunday they blocked
National Road #2 – a major Cambodian highway.

On Sunday thousands of cars were backed up in either direction for around 2
and a half hours.
When police finally broke their lines some workers were restrained by their
friends and families as they desperately tried to throw themselves under
moving cars.

20130225 CLEC2
Their desperate actions show the extent to which they feel disrespected and
forgotten by a corrupt government and heartless international brands, H&M
and Walmart.
Police and local authorities have threatened arrest and violent crackdown if workers take to the road again.
They need our help!
20130225 CLEC3
photo’s provide by CLEC (twitter: @cleccambodia)

* Manufacturing to diversify:

20130225 PPP 2
Worker Chhuon Kimsuon makes shoes at Sin Chn Hong Plastics Industry Company in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

While Cambodia seeks to diversify its manufacturing sector and encourage higher-value-added activities, experts say it must be supported by the right mix of government policies.

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) says that the sharp increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) from $900 million in 2011 to between $1.3 and $1.5 billion in 2012 has coincided with a rise in investment in to higher-valued-added manufacturing from swimsuits and dress shirts to automotive parts and electronics.

Peter Brimble, deputy country director for ADB, is encouraged by the progress of Cambodian manufacturing, but says the government has a role to play in guiding a transition from a narrow manufacturing base.
“These trends are very positive, and demonstrate a shift away from the limited markets of low value-added garments towards a more diversified, sophisticated and dynamic economy,” Brimble said. read more.

* Appeal Court set to hear Bundith Case:

On February 27, the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal will hear the case of former Bavet governor Chhouk Bundith who was accused of shooting of 3 garment workers in Svay Rieng Province last year.

Prosecutor General at the Court of Appeal, Ouk Savuth, said he decided to take on the case because the Svay Rieng Court had not found justice for the victims.
Meoun Tola, head of the labor program of Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), said he cautiously welcomed the reinvestigation. “We welcome the court’s ruling to take on the case as civil NGOs and victims offered. We need the court to observe and seek the truth.”

Workers Kao Nea, Nuth Sakhorn, and Bun Chenda were each shot in February last year at a protest outside Kaoway Sports factory, a Puma supplier. The Svay Reing Provincial Court originally charged Bundith with unintentional injury, before all charges were dropped in December. to read.

08:25:41 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Review minimum wage, Govt urged:

About 150 manufacturers from several industries in Penang and Kedah want the Federal Government to review the RM900 minimum wage policy for foreign workers, which they claim has adversely affected their operations.

Their representative Ngai Chin Soon said many of the industries, which abided by the policy, had been suffering in silence, with many struggling to break even.
“We already have to bear high costs in additional incentives such as transportation and insurance coverage for these foreign workers.

“And because of this, many of us have opted to cut down these workers’ overtime, as the overtime rate based on the present minimum wage has nearly doubled to RM6.49 per hour now compared to RM3.92 per hour previously,” he told reporters after joining some 250 people, including 153 factory owners, in a peaceful protest in Taman Bukit Panchor here yesterday.  read more.
the star -malaysia

08:25:41 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Workers Demand to Adidas to pay their severance, not by the food voucher but cash money:

Dozens of workers demanded the company leading sports brand Adidas and associates, Kizone. They demanded that the company pay their severance still be repaid by the Adidas International.

One action coordinator, Judo, explained Adidas International had already initiated severance payments Kizone about two thousand workers, the company that manufactures label partner Adidas in Indonesia. However, many workers who objected method of payment.

“They ngasihnya shopping vouchers, can only be used in Alfamart, while we need the money for school children,” complained one participant demonstration, Supiyem.

Demo starts from the Supreme Court and then to the roundabout and ends at Adidas office in Sudirman, will continue until their rights are met. Although the protests have been held since three years ago, until now there has not been clear.

Kizone who had bankrupted pailitnya status is then canceled by the Supreme Court. Other demonstration participants, Nunuy, said when it comes to Kizone bankruptcy, labor rights will not be paid. “Because the company’s assets are still there, if the automatic bankruptcy for taxes paid, workers can not be anything,” he said.

Total assets Kizone worth 4.6 billion U.S. dollars. International Adidas also has promised to pay the rights of all workers at 1.6 million dollars.
(translated by
Original text here.

06:55:41 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Yangon’s local clothing sales surge:

20130225 MMTIMESlocal-clothing-market
A woman unpacks clothing at BFC Men’s Fashion in Yangon’s Yuzana Plaza February 18, 2013. (Thiri Lu/The Myanmar Times)

Clothing makers in Yangon say the rising demand for clothing made from imported raw material and cotton, combined with a spike in local retailers, has lead to fiercer market competition throughout February.

“Sales have increased compared to last month because of [the demand for lighter clothing in the hot season], but because there are so many suppliers now, sales have not increased as much as they should,” said U Zaw Win on February 18, executive director of sales at BFC Men’s Fashion wholesale and retail centre in Yangon.

BFC imports raw materials from both Thailand and China. However, the company has started to focus on importing polyester and cotton mostly from China because it is cheaper than Thailand, U Zaw Win said.
However, locally produced clothing is seeing a sales boost amid stronger competition. read more.
myanmar times

06:10:41 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* ‘Minimum wage must increase’ :

All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions (ANFTU) has asked the government to double the minimum wage of workers. It has submitted its demands to Ministry of Labour and Employment and urged it to increase the minimum wage to Rs 12,400 from the current Rs 6,200.

ANFTU has asked to double the minimum wage, said president of ANFTU Shalikram Jamkatel. “Salary hike is necessary for workers to fulfill their basic needs, so we proposed Rs 12,400 as monthly salary,” he said, adding daily wage also needs to be increased to Rs 650 per day. Currently, daily wage is at around Rs 231.
read more.

06:25:41 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Wal-Mart washes hands off Simco’s hardship:

US retail giant Wal-Mart has refused to accept any responsibility for Simco Dresses’ financial hardship arising from a rejected shipment, suggesting it deals with Success Apparel, the local company’s contractor, over the matter.

Simco received an order on August 14 last year via one of Wal-Mart’s sourcing companies, the New York-based Success Apparel, part of which was later subcontracted to Tuba Group, parent company of the controversial Tazreen Fashions.

Tuba Group was supposed to execute the order at Tuba Fashion, a compliant factory, but diverted it to Tazreen Fashions — without Simco’s knowledge.

After the Tazreen fire on November 24 last year, Wal-Mart severed ties with Success Apparel and blocked Simco’s first shipment worth $3.90 lakh, which by then had reached the Los Angeles port, leaving Simco on the brink of bankruptcy.
read more.
daily star bd

* 4 RMG units close sine die:

Four ready-made garment factories, including three of the Mandal Group, at Kashimpur under Gazipur Sadar upazila were closed sine die on Monday in the face of continued labour unrest.

Workers of Cotton Club BD Ltd, Alim Knit BD Ltd, and Montex of the Mandal Group had been striking since Saturday and staging demonstrations to press home their eight-point set of demands, including increased attendance bonus, night allowance, and stopping harassment of factory workers.
The management of the group in a discussion on Sunday afternoon assured the labour leaders of meeting the demands.
But, as the assurance appeared to be empty talks, the workers of the 3 RMG units resumed the strike on Monday morning.  read more.
BD new age

* Highway blocked in Gazipur over RMG worker’s death rumour:

Workers of a garment factory in Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway for over two hours over the rumour of a fellow worker’s death in a road accident on Monday morning.

At least 10 workers were injured when police fired blank shots and teargas canisters to disperse the agitated workers who vandalised some vehicles on the highway.
Police and factory workers said a Laguna (a locally assembled tempo) hit Jahura Aktar, 30, a female worker of ATS Apparels in Telirchala area on her way to the workplace around 7:45am.

Jahura received minor injuries on her foot and was rushed to a clinic in Konabari area.
As a rumour of her death spread, several hundred fellow workers put up a barricade on the highway at Telirchala and vandalised a dozen vehicles.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  UNB  BD new age FE bd

* Fire breaks out at Beximco Industrial Park:

A warehouse of Denim Factory was gutted in a fire, which broke out at Beximco Industrial Park here early Tuesday.

However, the cause of the fire could not yet be known immediately.
Fire services said workers first spotted the fire at the warehouse at about 3:30am and they tried to douse it.
On information, two fire fighting units from Kaliakor and EPZ rushed to the spot and doused the flame after four hours’ of their frantic efforts.
The losses caused by the fire could not be ascertained immediately.   to read.

* Factory wastes, chemical pollute Brahmaputra river:

Factory waste and chemical mixed water is polluting water of Haridoa and old Brahmaputra River in the district posing serious health hazards as adverse impact on the environment.

Many residents of the river areas are forced to use the dirty water for various purposes to meet their daily needs because they have no alternative way and the people of the areas are suffering many diseases including skin and diarrhea diseases.

Water of these rivers became black and poisonous due to continuous dumping of factory waste and chemical mixed color water of textile industries.
Amir Hossain associated professor of Narsingdi Government College and inhabitant of Bongshidia village of Shibpur upazila said her two children and other family members are suffering skin diseases by using polluted water of Haridoa River.
Rafia Begum a house wife of Madhabdi area also said her three children and she herself are suffering skin diseases by using the polluted water of old Brahmapurtar River. read more. & read more. & read more.
newstodayBD INDEPENDENT  FE bd

* Myanmar can be a potential market for Bangladesh garment accessories:

Myanmar can emerge as a potential market for Bangladesh’s apparel accessories and packaging products, with the readymade garment industry in the neighbouring country developing fast, industry players said.

The country’s apparel accessories and packaging manufacturers and exporters have sought close cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to further push up the growth of the products. read more.
FE bd

* Poor growth in RMG export earnings from US, EU:

Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) export to traditional markets such as US and European Union (EU) countries witnessed a poor growth in the last seven months due to economic meltdown, sources said.

They said if the condition continues, it would be hard to achieve the export target.
“Economic situation in the US and EU countries is not good, so demand for RMG products has been falling,” Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Mustafizur Rahman told the FE. read more.
FE bd

* Spectre of GSP cancellation by US haunts B’desh exporters:

Bangladesh exporters expressed their grave concern over the probable cancellation of GSP facility by the US government, saying that the cancellation of the facility would badly harm the country’s export and tarnish its image in other destinations of the globe.

They also said any kind of negative decision taken by the United States (US) government might prompt other importing nations to follow suit.
According to them, the European Parliament has already started discussion on the cancellation of GSP (generalised system of preferences) facility following the US initiative.
GSP is the facility that allows duty-free export from a particular country. read more.
FE bd

* ‘Bangladesh deserves to get US’s GSP facility for RMG’:

Stakeholders of the country’s apparel industry today said Bangladesh deserves to get Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facility from the US government for the readymade garments (RMG) industry as it has advanced much in the field of compliance issue.

“Compliance issue is the main concern of the US government but we’ve progressed a lot in the field of compliance as we are making high-end branded products,” AKM Salim Osman , President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), told BSS today.

Osman said, “Seemingly GSP would not yield any benefit to Bangladesh rather it will benefit the US government as their(US) citizens will be able to use tax-free clothing at cheap rates and on the other hand buyers may increase price quotation for Bangladesh”.  read more.

05:55:41 local time map of india INDIA

* Garment sector sees growth, plan to boost global trade:

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), which has its headquarters in Gurgaon, announced a new proposal to boost international trade for the garment sector, which for the first time in the past eight months is reporting positive growth.

The list of recommendations have been submitted to the Union textile ministry, with one of the demands being curtailment of custom duty on selected fabrics.

“The AEPC has put up an ambitious plan for increasing the total garment exports to $30 billion in the next three years,” said a representative of the council. Garment manufacturing and export houses constitute the largest chunk in Gurgaon’s industrial belt and account for the high revenue and employment generation in the region.
read more.

* Govt to amend MNREGA Act to end wage disparity:

The Centre today said the MNREGA Act will be amended to end the disparity with minimum wages even as it issued a notification revising the wage rates under the employment guarantee scheme for all states and Union Territories in the new financial year .

The MNREGA wage rate is different in each states as it is linked to their Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour (CPIAL).

The central government’s decision assumes significance in view of the Supreme Court considering the Karnataka High Court verdict that the central government is liable to pay higher wages under the programme in tandem with that of the state minimum wage rate.  read more.

* China’s retreat from textiles helps India, B’desh:

However, Bangladesh expected to remain well ahead in apparel export

China, a major textile producer for about two decades, is now focusing on other sectors. It is expected this would change the fortunes of other textile producers such as India and Bangladesh.

The Chinese government has told mills in that country that if they import cotton, they would have to buy twice that amount from the state agency. The government has also increased yarn import and is concentrating on manufacturing high-value items.

As a result, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam are receiving more orders. “China is slowly trying to move out of textiles and these orders are now coming to India. China may exit the textiles space in the next 15 years,” said D K Nair, secretary general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry.  read more.

* ‘Moving up the value chain the way for textile mills’ :

Of the 6.2 million tonnes cotton that Vidarbha produces annually, almost 70% has to be sent out because of lack of processing units here.

After being plucked from the fields, cotton has to go through ginning, spinning, weaving and dyeing to become fabric. Since only a handful of mills have the capability to carry out the entire process, Vidarbha’s cotton economy is suffering.

Gautam Singhania, chairman of Raymonds, said, “We have a plant in Yavatmal that manufactures denim and are forced to buy 30% yarn from other states because we cannot procure it locally.” Sunil Porwal, principal secretary of textiles in Maharashtra government, said, “We produce about 25% of country’s cotton, worth about Rs13,000 crore. Then it moves to various parts of the country for completing the intermediate process before finally turning into fabric. The cloth is valued up to Rs1.3 lakh crore and this means a multiplier effect when moving up the value chain.”
read more.

* Godda handloom cluster to benefit Rs 2.5L weavers:

The preliminary survey for setting up a mega handloom cluster at Godda in Santhal Pargana has begun. Promised by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech in 2012, the Rs 100 crore Centre-funded project will help improve the economic condition of at least 2.5 lakh weavers.

State industry secretary AP Singh said, “A consultant has been appointed by the Centre to prepare a detailed project report. He has started preliminary survey in Santhal Pargana to set up the mega cluster.”  read more.

05:55:41 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Talks ongoing in Brussels over regaining GSP Plus, claims trade unionist:

US$ 1.5bn lost each year after trade concessions withdrawn

A top trade unionist claimed that the government was in talks with EU officials in Brussels to reinstate GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka using the LLRC Report as a tool, with the export sector losing around US$ 1.5 billion each year since the concessions were withdrawn.

One hundred and eighty (180) factories have closed down since 2005, including three in Ratnapura, Padukkka and Maharagama recently leaving over 1,000 employees in the lurch with Rs. 27 million in EPF monies not paid to them.

Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) Anton Marcus told The Island Financial Review that there were more than 500 factories in 2005 employing one million workers, but with the shutting down of 180 factories, the work force has been reduced to 283,000 today. read more.

05:25:41 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Power breakdown hits textile industry hard:

Textile industry suffered heavily due to a sudden power breakdown, leading to a complete blackout in the country on Monday night, as the power supply remained suspended until late in the Monday evening.

Majority of the textile units were denied power supply by the concerned DISCOs with no idea as when the supply would be restored.

The power authorities were of the view that a synchronisation of both Tarbela and Mangla dam supplies takes time therefore supply was disturbed for long. read more.

* Textile exports up by 8.39 per cent:

The textile exports from the country increased by 8.39 per cent during the first seven months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period of last year.

During the month of Jan 2013, the exports of textile products increased by 8.72pc and 0.49 per cent when compared to the exports of January 2012 and Dec 2012 respectively, according to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). to read.

* Textile resents proposed 2pc ST:

Textile industry has taken strong exception to proposed imposition of two per cent sales tax at each stage of value-addition and feels that it would prove fatal.

The textile industry leaders resented that such decisions were being taken without taking stakeholders on board.
They were also critical of FBR chairman’s assertion that the textile despite being a zero-rated sector has obtained sales tax refund to the tune of Rs12 billion as compared to Rs2 billion gross sales tax collection from the sector.

Refuting FBR chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem’s observation, Mohammad Jawed Bilwani, chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), said that as a matter of fact Rs12 billion refund was paid to the industry against packing material while Rs2 billion was of the unregistered sector and not the registered textile export sector.  read more.


map of Asia


* Shanghai police investigate toxic school uniforms
* Sportswear firms face another tough year
* China to blacklist 58 chemicals by 2015

* Take advantage of EU preferential tariffs, govt urged

* Garment businesses see bright signs in export

* H&M and Walmart let the workers wait and wait and….
* Manufacturing to diversify
* Appeal Court set to hear Bundith Case

* Review minimum wage, Govt urged

* Workers Demand to Adidas to pay their severance, not by the food voucher but cash money

* Yangon’s local clothing sales surge

* ‘Minimum wage must increase’

* Wal-Mart washes hands off Simco’s hardship
* 4 RMG units close sine die
* Highway blocked in Gazipur over RMG worker’s death rumour
* Fire breaks out at Beximco Industrial Park
* Factory wastes, chemical pollute Brahmaputra river
* Myanmar can be a potential market for Bangladesh garment accessories
* Poor growth in RMG export earnings from US, EU
* Spectre of GSP cancellation by US haunts B’desh exporters
* ‘Bangladesh deserves to get US’s GSP facility for RMG’

* Garment sector sees growth, plan to boost global trade
* Govt to amend MNREGA Act to end wage disparity
* China’s retreat from textiles helps India, B’desh
* ‘Moving up the value chain the way for textile mills’
* Godda handloom cluster to benefit Rs 2.5L weavers

* Talks ongoing in Brussels over regaining GSP Plus, claims trade unionist

* Power breakdown hits textile industry hard
* Textile exports up by 8.39 per cent
* Textile resents proposed 2pc ST

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