in the news on-line, 12 March 2013

17:24:13 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s garment industry needs more policy support- NPC deputy:

China needs to introduce the relevant policies to subsidize and support the growth of the garment industry, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) said Wednesday.

Gao Dekang, who is also the chairman of Bosideng Group, China’s largest maker and distributor of down clothing, made the remarks during an exclusive interview to Xinhuanet.

“Since the reform and opening up, China has witnessed a rapid growth in economic progress and workers’ salaries… This heightens the cost of the processing industry. Therefore, some small and mediumsized enterprises can no longer survive or buy better equipment.” he explained.

“It is not surprising that more and more enterprise orders flow to countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, which boast low labor costs.” Gao said.  read more.

16:24:13 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* AEC brings ‘new workforce problems’ :

The launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015 will stir up a wide variety of labour-related problems, speakers told a seminar in Bangkok on Friday.

The warnings were issued by labour unionists and representatives of other agencies.

Arunee Srito, formerly a union leader at the collapsed textile firm Thai Kriang Textile, said regional integration will bring an influx of foreign workers from countries like Laos and Cambodia, especially with the 300 baht minimum wage policy now in place.
The major consequence would be that local workers would have to learn to work from their homes to stay employed. People in cottage industries were often subject to unfair employment terms.   read more.
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16:24:13 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Meeting ends in stalemate over wages:

A Decision on raising the minimum wage in the garment sector was thrust back in the direction of the government yesterday, after unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia failed to agree on an increase.

“The meeting failed because neither side changed their minds,” Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodia Confederation of Unions, told the Post late yesterday at the completion of a third day of talks spread over a fortnight.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, Collective Union of Movement of Workers and CCU stood firm on their demands for the minimum wage to be increased from $61 to $100, Chhun said, while other unions – described by some as pro-government – had been willing accept $91.

“The employers still rejected our demands,” Chhun said. “They agreed to increase only $9. The last resort would be to gather the workers to make their own demands for an increase.”  read more.

* Union threatens strike if wage talk fails:

Give our kids a better deal
Chea Mony, President of Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia, speaks to reporters during a march to mark ninth anniversary of the slaying of union leader Chea Vichea

Chea Mony, Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia, threatens to strike if wage talks this afternoon fails to increase worker’s salaries.

In a statement issued Monday, he urged union representatives to stand firm when talking with factory employers and not to reduce the amount salaries demanded.
Mony also urged an agreement should be made soon without any more delays.

“The unions will maintain their position in leading workers to strike throughout the country if minimum wages are not increased as demanded and if there is still a delay in the meeting,” he said. read more.

* Cambodia’s employers, trade unions fail to reach agreement on pay rise:

The third round of negotiation between Cambodia’s garment and footwear manufacturers and representatives of trade unions on minimum wage increase ended without result on Monday.

The talk between the employers represented by Nang Sothy, co- chair of the Government-Private Working Group on Industrial Relations, and Ken Loo, secretary general of Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), and 10 representatives of the trade unions, was mediated by Om Mean, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor.

“There was no progress in the talk today,” Rong Chhun, president of Cambodian Confederation of Unions, told Xinhua by telephone.
“The trade unions insist on a monthly minimum wage of 100 U.S. dollars, while the employers said that they could increase by only 9 U.S. dollars from the existing wage of 61 U.S. dollars,” he said.  read more.

* Wage talks at a stand still:

The three-hour meeting Monday between government representatives, factory employers and union leaders resulted in a stale mate.

At Ministry of Social Affairs, employers didn’t budge from their offer of $75 a month while the union still demanded between $91 and $100.
Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said that employers would only increase salaries by $14 which included $5 for health care in addition to current minimum wage of $61.  read more.

* EU Activists detained by Cambodian police at Garment Protest:

egarmentWorkers in the picketline at E-Garment

Union members from E-garment factory beaten by thugs

Police detained five activists from the Clean Clothes Campaign last Tuesday who were meeting workers at a protest outside a clothing factory near Phnom Penh. The workers were on strike because 41 workers had been illegally dismissed for unionizing. While striking the workers have faced police brutality and seven have been beaten by company affiliated thugs using a stick with nails in it.

Workers say the factory, called E Garment, is supplying to well known brands such as Marks & Spencer, Esprit, Diesel, Okaidi, and VF corporation. The factory is known to have close links with local police, and has a history of suppressing human and labour rights.

Representatives from the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) were taken to a local police station after attending the protest and talking to striking workers, where they were detained and questioned for over 6 hours.

Austrian CCC activist Michaela Königshofer, said: “If Cambodian police arrest international NGO representatives for simply standing outside a factory, I can only imagine about the level of union repression and lack of human rights here. Last month a woman from this factory who was five months pregnant was attacked. Why are they arresting us and not the people who beat these workers?”
Workers began their strike on 28 January after factory management refuse to implement an agreement signed with C.CAWDU to reinstate 33 dismissed union members, chose to ignore a legal ruling of the Cambodian Arbitration Council, and continue to refuse reinstating 8 C.CAWDU union leaders who had been dismissed after having been victims of a violent attack by thugs inside the factory in 2010. Since beginning the strike, police and thugs attacked workers from the union and trade union staff on two separate occasions, one incident involving a pregnant woman.
read more.

17:24:13 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Clear guidelines needed on minimum wage:

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has criticised the National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC) for what it described as inadequate attention to employers’ concerns as well as lack of clarification of details before implementing the minimum wage policy.

In a statement on Friday, FMM said the NWCC should have, but still has not, set out fair and clear rules to be followed by various categories of employers.
“Companies numbering in the hundreds of thousands should not be required to write in individually for exemptions or to negotiate with their employees one by one on various grey areas,” it said.  read more.

15:09:13 local time map of nepal NEPAL

* Identifying macroeconomic constraints:

  Confusion between causes and consequences

Recent discussion organized jointly by Nepal Economic Association (NEA) and Garment Association on “Diagnosing Nepal’s Macroeconomic Constraints”, was very useful in many respect.
The time coincided with the ongoing global debate on the scope and efficacy of mainstream macroeconomic policies popularized and augmented since the early 1970s. Today the neo-Keynesians and neo-liberals blame each other for the origin or manifesting of financial and debt crisis. This raises the question how such policies under scrutiny that too designed or evolved in their context could be unquestionable in our context.

Today, the scope of macroeconomics has also expanded beyond fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies. Amidst globalization and new developments in the global economy, trade, financial and labor policies are increasingly included in it. In view of employment and wage policy issues being critical in the context of inclusive growth and development, their inclusion in our context is regarded to be important.
read more.
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15:24:13 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Govt moves to conduct study on RMG sector:

The government has initiated a move to conduct a comprehensive study on the country’s apparel industry aiming to help make the sector of global standards, officials said.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has already given the task to the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) that will conduct the study within three months while the ministry will provide the fund, they added.
“We hope the BIDS will start the work at the end of this month or early April and complete it by June,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE.
At present there is no specific statistics on the country’s US$ 20 billion readymade garment (RMG) industry that is the largest foreign currency earner, he said adding that the study will make recommendations to match the sector with global standards.

The MoLE took the move following the two recent devastating fire incidents — one at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia off Dhaka city and the other at the Smart Export Garment Ltd at Mohammadpur in the city.
read more.

* Sammilita Parishad sweeps BGMEA polls:

The Sammilita Parishad’s panel has swept the biennial elections of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, bagging 21 director’s posts out of 27 for the 2013-14 term.

The Parishad’s panel led by former BGMEA vice-president Md Atiqul Islam bagged 15 posts from Dhaka and six from Chittagong. Atiqul is likely to become the next BGMEA president. read more. & read more.

* ‘No new duty imposed on RMG imports into India’ :

New Delhi has trashed the reports carried by a section of Bangladeshi media regarding imposition of Countervailing Duty (CVD) on readymade garment (RMG) imports to India.

“…no new Countervailing Duty (CVD) has been imposed in the Indian Union Budget 2013-14 on the RMG imports into India. The CVD of 12.36% which existed on RMG imports in 2012-13 continues without any change,” said a clarification issued by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Monday.

It said Bangladesh RMG exporters continue to enjoy the same benefits as in the previous year, with duty, quota-free access for their items to India without imposition of additional Countervailing Duty over the previous year, it said.
read more. & read more.

14:54:13 local time map of india INDIA

* Rajasthan rank high in child labour:

Rajasthan accounts for nearly 10% of the total child labour in the country with Jaipur alone having more than 50,000 child labourers in the age group of 5-14 years. The state stands third after UP and Andhra Pradesh as far as child labourers are concerned.

According to a report, ” Children in India-2012″ released by Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation, there has been considerable increase in the number of child labourers in the state. The data is based on 2001 census.

The rescue of 284 children from 55 child traffickers in the past two days has brought to light the ugly reality in Rajasthan. “The situation is quite alarming. If you count the total figures for the state, it will stand at around 13 lakh,” said Vijay Goel, general secretary, Resource Institute for Human Rights. The latest figures available are of census 2001, but it must have certainly gone worse with the figures of census 2011 coming out in few months,” added Goel.
“The prime industries where children are employed are in manufacturing of bangles, embroidery and weaving of carpets. These products need soft hands to give the finesse. These children are then pressed to work for 14 to 16 hours a day on a meager salary of Rs 800 to Rs 2,000 per month,” said an official. read more.

* CITU calls for continued fight:

The united trade union movement should cautiously carry forward its struggle till the Centre approved the charter of demands and should also take the initiative to protect the lives of women, children, and minorities, CITU president A.K. Padmanabhan has said.

Inaugurating the 29th national conference of the All India Postal Employees Union Group-C affiliated to the National Federation of Postal Employees here on Sunday, Mr. Padmanabhan described the 48-hour national strike on February 20 and 21 as a rare show of unity of the working class.
The united trade movement comprising the entire workforce of the country should continue their relentless pursuit to get the 10-point charter of demands approved by the Centre.  to read.
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* AEPC seeks duty-free yarn import:

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has asked the Centre to allow duty-free import of yarn like cotton.

Observing that the recent increase in cotton and yarn prices have put additional burden on the industry, AEPC Chairman A. Sakthivel said in a statement: “Garment is a critical sector in terms of 11.22 million workers employed in this sector.’’
“I request the Government to allow duty-free import of yarn, as they have allowed for import of cotton for yarn manufacturers,” he said.  read more.
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* Sports goods makers seek excise duty exemption:

Sports goods manufacturers on Monday demanded excise duty waiver on their products on the pattern of apparel industry, which has been granted exemption in the recent budget.

“The government has already granted excise duty exemption to apparel industry in the recent budget foregoing huge amount of revenue and it is need of the hour that we must strongly put our case for exemption,” a veteran leader of sports goods manufacturers of the city, Ramesh Chander Kohli told Hindustan Times.

The sports industry was relocated to India after the Partition and the main centres of production are in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and Jalandhar in Punjab, Kohli said, adding that by sheer hard work and risks taken by entrepreneurs, the sports industry is now enjoying a reasonably good stature.  read more.

* Textile processors to follow 5-day week now:

Feeling the pinch of recession in textile industry, processing units of south Gujarat have officially announced production cut of two days in the week.

More than 350 dyeing and processing units located in Pandesara, Sachin, Kadodara, Palsana and other places will follow five-day week pattern till the situation improves.

“It is from February 15 that demand reduced drastically and we were suffering. Many had started following observing five days of working since then. Now it is official,” said Jitu Wakhariya, president of South Gujarat Processors Association.

Textile processors cite early ending of marriage season in northern parts of the country like UP, Bihar, Delhi and Punjab where most of the synthetic textile dress material is supplied from Surat.  read more.

* Cotton revolution without Bt:

Growing genetically modified Bt cotton hybrids is not the only way to bag high yields. Other agronomic methods have now emerged for reaping copious harvests of this natural fibre, even in the wholly rain-dependent areas where cotton is largely cultivated in India. An outstanding new technology is the “high-density cotton planting system”, evolved by Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR).

This new system, which involves sowing a relatively higher number of plants a hectare, has been found to almost double the yield of cotton, even in an area like Vidharba, Maharashtra, which is infamous for farmer suicides owing to frequent failures of unirrigated cotton crops. Normally, farmers sow 50,000 to 55,000 plants a hectare. This number is increased to 200,000 plants a hectare, or even more, under the new production system, by planting seeds at closer spacing.  read more.

* Walmart lobbying probe report by April:

A government appointed committee, that is probing into media reports on disclosures of Walmart in the US regarding its lobbying activities and whether the retail giant undertook any activity in India in contravention of law, will submit its report by April.

“The government has appointed one-man inquiry committee regarding media reports concerning Walmart vide resolution dated January 31, 2013. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months from issuance of the resolution,” Minister of State for Commerce and Industry S Jagathrakshakan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.  read more.

14:24:13 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Womens struggle in Pakistani workplaces:

Last week, the world celebrated womens day with accolades for high-achieving women in various spheres of life. In Pakistan, meanwhile, pretty much a mans country in a mans world, women still continue to struggle in workplaces in more than one ways.

Harassment at the workplace is something Pakistani women have come to accept as a sorry fact at many workplaces. While many private organisations in the formal sector have stringent anti-harassment policies, there continue to be cases of misconduct, especially in mid-size companies.

As for harassment in the informal sector, there are no regulations and guiding principles to ensure a safe and trouble-free work environment for women.

The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 classifies a) abuse of authority for sexual favours; b) creating a hostile or uncomfortable environment for women workers; and c) retaliations – such as by giving a poor performance review or badmouthing the victim – as manifestations of harassment at the workplace.  read more.

* Government fails to formulate broad-based agriculture-cotton policy:

The government, which is going to complete its five-year tenure on March 16, failed to formulate a broad-based agriculture-cotton policy. Pakistan does not has a broad based agriculture policy to address various issues creating hurdles in the progress and development of agriculture sector, which play a key role in the country’s economy by contributing 21 percent to the GDP.

Pakistan is the fourth largest cotton producer in the world but contributes only two percent to global cotton trade due to absence of any appropriate cotton policy, official sources said. An official said that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) finalised the proposed draft of National Food and Nutritional Security Policy (NF&NSP) last month and sent it to all provinces and other stakeholders for their comments. But the NF&NSP has yet to finalise the draft agriculture policy, and it is not possible for the present cabinet to approve the agriculture policy, he said. read more.

*  MEGATECH to bring innovation in textile tech:

After the 10 years of continuous success, Pegasus Consultancy launches the 11th edition of the International Machinery Exhibition of Garment & Textile Technology – MEGATECH Pakistan 2013. The exhibition will take place from 28-30 March, 2013 in Expo Centre, Lahore. The exhibition will showcase the innovative machinery and technology related to textile, garment, embroidery and leather sectors.

MEGATECH 2013 will bring in investment opportunities for local and international exhibitors, brand owners and manufacturers. Renowned companies are expected to gather at the platform to display their products and many international countries will be participating in the Exhibition. New and innovative products of embroidery machine, printing machine, and dyeing machine, thread winding machine, power generating solutions, spare parts, yarns materials and accessories will be displayed at MEGATECH 2013. A large number of exhibitors from Germany, Italy, Japan, China and others are expected to participate in event.  to read.

* Export of finished leather: tanners seek duties drawback rates to be revised upward by 6.3 percent:

Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) has proposed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to revise upward duty drawback rates by 6.3 percent on export of finished leather for goat/sheep skins, cow/buff hides and cow/buff leather in budget (2013-14). In its Budget 2013-14 proposals, the PTA has submitted a set of suggestions to the FBR for consideration in the budget.

The FBR should notify upward revision of Duty Drawback rates at least 6.3 percent on export of Finished Leather for goat/sheep skins, cow/buff hides and Cow/Buff Leather for Upholstery to make it realistic, presently DDB rates on these items are very low ie 0.80 percent, 1.17 percent and 2.12 percent respectively.  read more.

* Value addition: Textile ministry to construct ginning research institute:

A model cotton trading house in Multan will also be established by the Ministry of Textile Industry, which will monitor the progress of all business centres in southern Punjab. PHOTO: AFP

The textile ministry has decided to construct a ginning research institute in Multan, for which it has allocated a budget of Rs1.7 billion. Multan, a division in southern Punjab, is known as the agricultural hub of the country. Multan accounts for 70% cotton production of the country.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Central Cotton Research Institute Director Dr Dilbaagh Muhammad said that along with the Rs1.7 billion provided for the institute, business centres will also be established for the cotton trade in southern Punjab. “We will buy six acres of land for the building, and we have finalised the location considering the availability and ease for research scholars of the university and different institutes,” said Muhammad.  read more.
The Express Tribune

* Textile: Industry gives an ultimatum to withdraw SROs :

All Pakistan Textile Sizing Industry Association (APTSIA) gave an ultimatum of 12 hours to the government to withdraw the disputed statutory regulatory orders (SRO) 154(1)/2013 and SRO 98 (1) 2013 and threatened that APTSIA will launch a countrywide series of protest rallies, processions and sit-ins besides choking business and industrial activities if these were not withdrawn by Tuesday (March 12).

It said that that a large number of power loom units have been locked while the remaining industrial units would also stop their operational activities if the said SROs were not taken back by Tuesday.

APTSIA termed the SROs as an unbearable burden on the industrial sector and said that the Federal Board of Revenue issued these SROs without the taking concerned stakeholders aboard.  to read.
The Express Tribune


map of Asia


* China’s garment industry needs more policy support- NPC deputy

* AEC brings ‘new workforce problems’

* Meeting ends in stalemate over wages
* Union threatens strike if wage talk fails
* Cambodia’s employers, trade unions fail to reach agreement on pay rise
* Wage talks at a stand still
* EU Activists detained by Cambodian police at Garment Protest

* Clear guidelines needed on minimum wage

* Identifying macroeconomic constraints

* Govt moves to conduct study on RMG sector
* Sammilita Parishad sweeps BGMEA polls
* ‘No new duty imposed on RMG imports into India’

* Rajasthan rank high in child labour
* CITU calls for continued fight
* AEPC seeks duty-free yarn import
* Sports goods makers seek excise duty exemption
* Textile processors to follow 5-day week now
* Cotton revolution without Bt
* Walmart lobbying probe report by April

* Womens struggle in Pakistani workplaces
* Government fails to formulate broad-based agriculture-cotton policy
* MEGATECH to bring innovation in textile tech
* Export of finished leather: tanners seek duties drawback rates to be revised upward by 6.3 percent
* Value addition: Textile ministry to construct ginning research institute
* Textile: Industry gives an ultimatum to withdraw SROs

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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

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