* Minimum Wages around the World:
For your interest: This is a very useful website on wages, for example, if you are looking for the latest minimum wage for a particular country.
The minimum wage is the minimum rate a worker can legally be paid (usually per hour) as opposed to wages that are determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market. Each country sets its own minimum wage laws and regulations, and many countries have no minimum wage. On the other hand, some countries are more effective than others in enforcing minimum wage regulations.
read more & see the overview.
* Working on Wages:
FWF (Fair Wear Foundation) has developed a wage ladder tool that is accessible through their website.
Note that you have to register to get access to it, but then you can create wage ladders for many production countries, giving you data on things like the minimum wage, AFW and other LW benchmarks and estimates, poverty lines etc., often by province.
The tool accordingly generates a table that you can download. You can also upload data. read more.
15:41:50 local time THAILAND
* Quick thinking can be key to SME survival:
Higher wages, forex volatility force adjustments
Two manufacturers in the hard-hit textile/garment and jewellery industries are showing that small and medium-sized enterprises can overcome the lower purchasing power from the global recession, lower income from the baht’s appreciation and higher cost from the Bt300 minimum daily wage by being fast on their feet.
For Full Thai Knitting Factory Co, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of sweaters, the increase in the minimum wage has hurt the company – and its industry – more than the strengthening of the baht, as 95 per cent of its raw materials are imported, Weera Charoensintaweekoon, a director of the company, said yesterday.
The textile and garment industry is labour-intensive. The 400 workers at Full Thai Knitting account for 30-40 per cent of total cost.
The company uses subcontract workers in Tak’s Mae Sot district, which is close to the Myanmar border, to maintain labour costs. It also has changed its role from a mass manufacturer to a niche player focusing on design and quality. read more.
* KBank snubs clothing, gems:
Kasikornbank has singled out as risky the garment and jewellery sectors, keeping lending to them a relatively small proportion of its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans due to their lack of competitiveness in world markets.
Executive vice-president Patchara Samalapa said the bank reduced its loan portfolio for the two sectors to below 15% of total debt outstanding.
Normally KBank maintains about 10-15% of its total loans in each of the sectors to diversify risk.
He said exporters in the two sectors have been walloped by several factors, from the weakening global economy to falling competitiveness, the baht appreciation, and the country’s minimum wage hike to 300 baht per day. read more.
* Thai Footwear Industry Expected To Grow At Least 5 Per Cent In 2013:
The Thai footwear industry is targeted to grow by at least five per cent this year, worth some US$1.8 billion or 54 billion baht, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
Kanchit Chantanapornchai, President of the Thai Footwear Industry Association, announced the targeted growth on Tuesday, pointing out that there are more rooms for Thai foodware products in the United States, Europe and even other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Kanchit acknowledged that the Thai footwear industry has encountered several obstacles, including tougher competition within the 10-member Asean bloc and impacts from a domestic wage hike to 300 baht a day in all areas across the country, effective from January 1, 2013, resulting in a drop in production capacity of locally-made shoes to 13.7 million pairs last year, from some 19 million pairs in 2011.
15:41:50 local time CAMBODIA
* Room for compromise in wage debate: official:
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia and unions both need to compromise further to secure a “proper wage” for garment workers whose lives are hampered by their current $61 minimum wage, a Ministry of Social Affairs official overseeing wage negotiations said yesterday.
“The government needs the two sides to understand each other and agree,” Vong Sovann, deputy secretary-general of the ministry’s strike resolution committee, said. “Maybe the unions can drop to $90 and GMAC can increase its offer to more than $70. [GMAC] needs to – but, equally, if the unions don’t do this, negotiations will not be completed.”
Talks ended in deadlock last week after GMAC offered an increase of $6, to $67 per month, and unions lowered their demands from $120 to $100.
In a meeting with the government on Monday, GMAC increased its offer to $70, or $75 with an existing health bonus not included in the current minimum wage, Sovann said.
GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said his association could not afford to pay $90 per month, so did not expect further talks with unions next week to end in a resolution.
“[$70] is what we can afford,” he said. “From past experience, it would be a long stretch to suggest there would be an outcome. The government would need to take a position on this.”
Ath Thorn, president of Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said unions would stand firm on $100 per month and workers would strike if it was not offered. read more.
* Bundith Ordered to Stand Trial for Triple Shooting:
The Appeal Court on Monday reinstated the charge of causing unintentional injury against Chhouk Bundith, the former governor of Bavet City, who is accused of shooting three female garment factory workers during a protest outside a sport shoe factory in Bavet City last year.
But human rights groups criticized the Appeal Court’s three-judge panel for sending the case right back to the Svay Rieng Provincial Court, the very court that inexplicably dropped the shooting charge against Mr. Bundith in December despite eye witness accounts identifying the governor as the sole gunman.
As with last week’s hearings in the case, the Appeal Court on Monday again barred the public from the proceedings on the grounds that the hearing was merely part of an ongoing investigation and not a trial. But on leaving the courtroom, presiding Judge Khun Leang Meng paused to brief reporters on his decision to re-charge the government official. read more.
* Foreign activists detained:
Police arrested five activists from labour-rights group Clean Clothes Campaign yesterday outside the E Garment factory in Kandal province.
Neuv Sakhan, deputy director of the Kandal provincial immigration police, told the Post four women and one man, from Norway, Belgium, England and Austria, had been taken into custody after they used a microphone to address workers on strike.
“They said they came here to meet their friends,” Sakhan said, “But they didn’t have any documents. They didn’t have their [passports with them].
“We received instructions from the National Police Commissioner [General Neth Savoeun] to detain them if they didn’t show us documents.”
The CCC, which has been vocal on wages in Cambodia and issues involving the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), has been part of wage and freedom-of-association talks with labour-rights groups and unions in Phnom Penh this week. read more.
* Cambodia imports more second-hand garments than new ones:
16:41:50 local time MALAYSIA
* Malaysian govt relies on batik to boost handicraft sales:
16:41:50 local time INDONESIA
* City approves minimum wage delay for 40 firms:
Jakarta Manpower Agency head Deded Sukandar said on Monday that the agency had 40 allowed financially constrained companies to delay the implementation of the 2013 regional minimum wage.
According to the agency, at least 360 companies operating in Jakarta had sought approval from the city administration to postpone the implementation of the new minimum wage. “[The agency] has approved requests from 40 companies, mostly labor-intensive businesses, while the assessment of seven other companies is ongoing,” Deded told The Jakarta Post. read more.
* House to question govt on BPJS:
The House of Representatives are mulling over a plan to form a special committee that would challenge the government’s regulation for the National Security System (SJSN) expected to come into effect in 2014.
Lawmakers said that Government Regulation No. 11/2012 on the monthly premium for health insurance under the program had too many loopholes.
A lawmaker from Commission IX overseeing wealth and welfare Karolin Margret Natasa, who is also an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker, said the regulation failed to clearly state the criteria for low-income individuals eligible for the monthly premium provided by the social security providers (BPJS).
* Indonesian govt encourages textile industry to go green:
14:26:50 local time NEPAL
* Ministry comes up with fresh Labour Act draft:
The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has come up with a fresh draft of the Labour Act, bypassing all the points agreed between employers’ organisations and trade unions in the previous draft.
Employers and trade unions have expressed reservations over the new draft, saying it has failed to ensure benefits for both sides.
Employers said the draft left out some crucial points such as labour flexibility, industrial peace declaration for the next four years, hire-and-fire and no-work-no-pay provisions which had been agreed with the trade unions. They also blamed that the government ‘intentionally’ omitted all the agreed beneficial provisions.
“Minimisation of labour disputes and balancing the issues of labour flexibility and social security were the guiding factors of the earlier draft,” said Pashupati Murarka, vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). “But nothing as such has been included in the new draft.”
Trade unionists said as the provisions in the new draft refuse to go along with workers’ welfare, they would not accept it. read more.
14:41:50 local time BANGLA DESH
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* C&A fails to base calculations for the compensation package for the Tazreen’s victims:
* Last week, C&A outlined its compensation package for the Tazreen victims C&A fails to base calculations for the compensation package for the Tazreen’s victims on relevant international standards and established best practices
* Amount proposed represents 4% of what is needed
* C&A did not involve local trade unions in determining the amount and methods of disbursal
* The Clean Clothes Campaign call upon C&A to negotiate a full and fair settlement directly with local trade unions.
The package proposed by C&A foresees medical costs for injured workers as well as compensation for relatives of deceased workers (both children and other relatives).
The Clean Clothes Campaign welcomes the scope of the package as it includes several groups who have been severely affected by the Tazreen Tragedy which costs the lives of at least 112 garment workers on 24 November last year.
However, the CCC is disappointed by the refusal of C&A to base their calculations on ILO Convention N° 121 and established best practice in Bangladesh. “The amount (1.200$) proposed by C&A for the relatives of the deceased workers is less than 4% of what is needed as calculated by Bangladeshi unions based on previously established formulas in Bangladesh” argues Tessel Pauli from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
“In a country such as Bangladesh where compensation for victims is not adequately provided for by the employers and authorities, we expect brands that were sourcing from Tazreen to pay at least 45% of all the compensation that is needed”, she adds. “After all, C&A has been able to make profits year after year because of the low wages and social security costs in the Bangladeshi garment industry, without ensuring the safety of the factories.”
CCC is also disappointed by the absolute lack of trade union involvement in determining the amounts and the mechanisms for disbursal. C&A relies instead on the BGMEA for this, and adds its contribution to theirs. However thus far only the families of 53 dead workers received (some) compensation from BGMEA.
read more in the Ashulia Fire November 24-25 2012-An Overview.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Bangladeshi garment factories, after the fires:
Garmentmaking is the backbone of Bangladesh’s cash-strapped economy, accounting for annual exports worth $24.3 billion last year, about 80 percent of the country’s earnings.
Lethal factory fires — including the Nov. 24 blaze at the Tazreen Fashions factory, which resulted in 112 deaths, and a Jan. 26 fire at Smart Export Garments, which killed eight — have claimed more than 500 lives since 2006. Despite protests and pledges of reform, activists say what remains in place amounts to risky business as usual. read & see more.
* Swiss firms recall Bangladesh-made shoes:
Swiss shoe retailers Bata and Vögele have recalled models of shoes made in
Bangladesh from their stores after tests found they contained a cancer-causing chemical, according to internet newspaper The Local. 5.
The report quoted a local news agency, ATS news, to say that tests confirmed presence of chromium 6 in 14 pairs of shoes on Thursday.
According to the report, the test was conducted for a consumer TV show for the Italian-language Swiss broadcaster, RSI. The show was set to be aired on Friday.
* Deadly turmoil threatens to pulverise foreign apparel buyers’ confidence:
Overseas buyers have been losing their confidence in Bangladesh for importing readymade garment (RMG) due to continuous shutdown and political turmoil in the country, industry insiders said.
During the last one month many shipments have been cancelled for missing schedule as the RMG makers failed to send their goods to port due to hartal.
Many of the international buyers have started threatening to cancel orders if this trend continues, exporters said.
“Country’s RMG makers have been losing confidence of buyers due to ongoing political turmoil in the country”, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told the FE Monday.
* Country should find alternative to hartal:
The country should find an alternative to hartal to save businesses and economy, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said on Tuesday.
“The culture of hartal cannot be continued in the country for the sake of business and economy. An alternative to hartal and an alternate way of protest must be found out,” Muhith told reporters after a meeting with leaders of apparel sector. read more.
* Shipping Ministry holds meeting today:
The government is set to re-fix the labour charge on cargo receiving in the inland container depots that enraged the readymade garment exporters at a meeting in Dhaka today.
The Ministry of Shipping has convened the meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) for holding threadbare discussions for an amicable settlement regarding ICDs enhancement of labour charge to 3.00 from Tk 1.60 per carton from January 2013.
* Hall-Mark chairman denied bail:
The High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Jasmine Islam, chairman of much-talked-about Hall-Mark Group.
An HC bench comprising AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Mahmudul Haque passed the order and fixed May 3 for next hearing.
On February 20, the court asked Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit statements of all movable and immovable wealth, in home and abroad, of Hall-Mark group by April 20.
read more. & read more.
14:11:50 local time INDIA
* Powerloom strike paralyses production:
The indefinite strike by the powerloom owners and weavers in Sircilla in protest against the power bill fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) for the powerloom sector, entered second day on Tuesday.
The production at powerlooms units has come to a grinding halt with the closure of all the 34,000 polyster and cotton looms in Sircilla textile town.
Around 15,000 weavers working on the powerlooms and other allied sectors of powerlooms such as sizing, warping, dyeing, have also been denied of employment following the closure of looms.
The CITU trade union, which called for indefinite strike, earlier staged a dharna in Karimnagar in protest against the FSA. read more.
* Centre of Indian Trade Unions to protest PSU privatization:
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Tuesday urged the Congress-led UPA government at the centre to refrain from privatizing public sector units in the country.
CITU national president A K Padmanabhan, while attending the concluding session of 10th state conference of CITU here, said, “The Union government has decided to disinvest Rs 55,000 crore from various public sector units and if it goes ahead, CITU will organize an agitation with the help of other trade unions in the country.”
He said the workers are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis that has gripped the country. Inequalities are growing and social growth has become highly imbalanced. The workers are not getting their due wages properly and being treated like slaves, he alleged. read more.
* Over 100 textile units shut down in 4 years:
Over 100 textiles units have closed down in the last four years, mainly due to financial crunch and labour issues, rendering over 29,000 workers jobless, Parliament was informed on Monday.
“89 textile mills were closed in the last 3 years and 12 textile mills were closed in 2012-13. The major reasons for closure of these mills are financial and labour issues,” Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The number of workers on the rolls of closed textile mills is 29,292, he added.
The workers rendered jobless in the wake of the closure of spinning mills are given interim relief under Textile Workers Rehabilitation Fund Scheme (TWRFS).
However, Sharma said, there are 1,276 cotton/manmade fibre textiles spinning mills (non-SSI) functioning in the country with 4.19 lakh workers on the rolls.
* ‘Scrapping of excise duty will help garment makers’:
The garment industry expects a growth of 12 to 15 per cent a year with the abolition of excise duty on branded garments in the Union Budget. The garments industry is worth about Rs 2 lakh crore with exports accounting for Rs 60,000 crore — Rs 70,000 crore.
The industry was in the throes of a crisis and this lifeline was desperately needed to bring back some vigour to this beleaguered sector, said Rahul Mehta, President, the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI).
“It will also provide some form of protection to the domestic industry from cheap imports, particularly from Bangladesh, which has tapped the Indian market without paying any duty,” he said. read more.
* MNREGA workers to get more wages:
MNREGA workers will now get more money with the Centre revising their wages from April 1 under which the maximum daily wage of Rs 214 has been fixed for Haryana, while Bihar, Sikkim, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh will get the minimum of Rs 135.
In a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh specified the wage rate payable to unskilled manual workers working in various schemes under the MNREGA Act.
The notification regarding revising MNREGA wage rates is linked to the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour (CPIAL) from April 1 every year. read more.
* Textile companies want government to release cotton:
With cotton prices ruling firm, the textile industry has requested the government to immediately release cotton procured by various government agencies through minimum support price (MSP) operations.
Cotton prices had increased steeply because of an artificial shortage in the market created due to hoarding by traders and non-release of procured cotton by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and other procurement agencies, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) chairman S V Arumugam said.
“Huge quantities of cotton have been purchased by the procurement agencies and these are not being released to the market,” he said in a letter to textiles minister Anand Sharma. read more.
* Cotton dearer but farmers won’t benefit:
There has been a sporadic boom in cotton prices but it is no gain to farmers. Prices had touched an all time low of Rs 3500 a quintal this season even breaching the minimum support price (MSP) level of Rs 3860. Now, when most growers have cleared their stock at rock bottom rates, prices have shot by Rs 1000 to 1200 a quintal within 10 days.
Cotton has often brought tears to region’s farmers. Low earnings from this crop is known to be one reason for farm suicides. Traders, who had cornered most of the stock when prices were low, would be gaining from the current situation, say observers.
A majority of farmers sell their stock by January end to mid February. In Vidarbha, there were reports of farmers selling at below MSP. By the time rates jumped 10 days ago, most had cleared their stock. Government procurement at MSP was marginal, say sources. read more.
* CITI seeks release of cotton bought at MSP:
In a letter to Anand Sharma, union minister of textiles, the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has sought for immediate release of cotton procured by various government agencies through Minimum Support Price (MSP) operations.
SV Arumugam, Chairman, CITI, has said that cotton prices had increased steeply because of an artificial shortage of cotton in the market which is created partly by hoarding of cotton by traders and partly by non release of procured cotton by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and other procurement agencies. read more.
* Jute Mill workers oppose lockout:
Workers of Neelam Jute Mills Private Limited staged protest at Srikakulam Collectorate on Monday alleging that the management had announced lockout only to harass the staff.
They raised slogans against the management while asking the district authorities to intervene for the reopening of the factory. to read.
* Employment increases in Indian textile & apparel sector:
* Global share of Indian textiles & clothing exports rises:
As per the latest available data released by WTO Secretariat for the calendar year 2009, 2010 and 2011 the share of Indian textiles and clothing exports in World’s exports were 3.98% , 3.98% and 4.11% respectively and has not been declining.
Several provisions are included in the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14, for providing incentives to the Textiles & Clothing sector exports which includes incentives for exports to focus markets and focus products, interest subvention on pre-shipment credit, duty-free import of trimmings etc. required by the garmenting industry and duty-free import of tools by the handicrafts industry. read more.
* FDI in Indian textile sector to grow 5-7%: Analysts:
* New labour wages in Assam:
Rate of wages, holidays, hours of work and conditions of skilled and unskilled workmen employed by contractors has been revised by the labour commission of Assam today.
Official sources said as per the revision the rate of wages of an unskilled workmen with ITI Certificate will be Rs 277 per day, skilled workmen other than ITI Certificate holder will be paid Rs 175 and unskilled workmen Rs 169 per day.
The rate of wages has been fixed in such a manner that no skilled workman gets less than the stipulated amount for working for a maximum 8 hours a day and no unskilled workmen gets less than Rs 169 per day, the sources said.
In case of overtime work, the wages will be twice the ordinary rate of wages for every work in excess of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. A day of rest has to be allotted every week with pay for working for a continuous period of 6 days a week.
13:41:50 local time PAKISTAN
* Labourers get modern healthcare facilities in Punjab: Qureshi:
Punjab Labour Minister Haji Ehsaan-ud-Din Qureshi has said that labourers are the backbone of our industry and every effort is being made by the government to upgrade the socio-economic status of the labourers.
He said that the timely payment of minimum wages i.e. Rs. 9000/- per month, by the employers has been ensured.
He said that present government has also increased the marriage grant from Rs 70,000/- to Rs.100,000/- of the labourer’s daughters and female worker as well. He said that death grant has also been increased from Rs.300,000/- to Rs.500,000/- on the death of an industrial worker.
He said that Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) is providing best treatment facilities, even out of country, to registered workers and family members. He said that chief minister has approved the construction of social security medical college at Faislabad. read more.
* Minimum wages bill tabled in KPK PA:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Sardar Hussain Babak on Monday presented five bills of different departments during the first day of the session of the provincial assembly.
This is the last session of the KPK Assembly held with Speaker Karamatullah Khan in the chair. Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak tabled at least five bills on behalf of the ministers concerned owing to their absence. These were KPK Industrial Statistics Bill, 2013, KPK Industrial and Commercial Employment (Standing Orders) Bill, 2013, KPK Minimum Wages Bill, 2013, KPK Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Bill, 2013, and Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2013. read more.
* Textile exporters to have foreign coloration to ensure safety compliance:
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) is seeking a long term collaboration of some credible international safety certifications providing companies for audit of its member companies’ policies, procedures and documentation, to ensure a safe workplace.
PRGMEA Central Chairman, Sajid Saleem Minhas while addressing the central executive committee meeting of the association, held at PRGMEA North Office the other day, observed that Association is engaged in talks and plans to ink agreements with some global compliance certification companies to hire their services for the audit of all its members.
He also mentioned that PRGMEA is endeavoring to ensure hundred per cent safety compliance to avoid any untoward incident in future. He said that following the international buyers’ concerns over credibility of Pakistani garment groups due to devastating inferno at Baldia Town factory, PRGMEA has decided to make audit for every member company compulsory with a view to grant it international safety certifications.
In this way Pakistani exporters can satisfy international buyers that strong measures are being taken to avoid fire tragedies in future, he pointed out. read more.
* Taxation: APTSA to strike against new SROs :
All Pakistan Textile Sizing Associations have announced a complete strike against recently imposed taxes.
The strike will go on for an indefinite period and the group has threatened that all textile units will remain closed during this time. This announcement was made by Chairman APTSA Shakeel Ansari on Tuesday. He said that the strike was in response to the Federal Board of Revenue imposing two statutory regulatory orders (SROs), SRO 154(1)/2013 and SRO 98(1)2013.
He expressed his concerns over the orders, saying that they have been issued and enforced without consultation with the stakeholders. He added that various clauses of these SROs are against the interest of the business community and detrimental to economic activities in the country. “Any SRO issued or tax imposed will not be accepted by the business community if there is no prior consultation with them,” said Ansari. to read.
* Value-added textile sector demands suspension of SROs:
Value-added textile sector which contributes more than 80 percent of textile exports has demanded suspension of SROs 98, 140 and 154 describing them as “draconian law full of corruption.”
It further demanded that to secure interest of exchequer and providing level playing field to honest taxpayers, zero rating regimes needs to be enforced. They desired that value-added sector should be taken into full confidence before issuing any order under the above SROs.
Vice Chairman, Towel Manufacturers’ Association of Pakistan (TMA), Ali Raza said: “the time of election is near and interim government is about to come into existence to run the affairs of the state through caretaker cabinet, and the Finance Minister has already resigned.” read more.
* Violation of zero-rating regime: penal action against Aptma members directed:
The Federal Board of Revenue has withdrawn its letter of June 2012, which blocked penal action against members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), violating zero-rating regime under SRO 283(1)/2011 and SRO 1125(1)/2011.
Sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that the FBR has issued new instructions to the field formations to initiate penal action against textile mills, which violated provisions of Sales Tax Act, 1990, SRO 283(1)/2011and SRO 1125(1)/2011.
THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE:
* Deadline extended: Baldia applications will be received till March 9:
The compensation commission has extended the last date by which relatives of Baldia factory fire victims can file for claims till March 9.
The commission, which had been formed by Sindh High Court on January 29 to distribute the money pledged by the government and a foreign firm among the families of the victims, had initially set March 5 as the deadline for submission of compensation claims.
“The commission has decided to extend the deadline because they have only received 80 applications so far,” explained an official from the organisation.
Around 259 people passed away in the fire which reduced Ali Enterprises to ashes on September 11, 2012. The fire was termed the worst industrial incident in the history of the country and several international suppliers of the company pledged support for the families and survivors. The unidentified victims were recently buried.