05:08:02 local time CHINA
* 35 firms overworking women:
Thirty-five (35) companies employing 4,700 women were found to force female workers to work longer-than-normal and sometimes excessive hours, according to a recent labor inspection in the city.
The week-long inspection was carried out by the Shanghai Women’s Federation with local labor watchdogs and the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions. Inspectors checked 445 companies employing 139,000 women.
Some female employees said they had almost no rest days as the companies rushed them to finish the orders. Others said they had to work over 12 hours a day.
“Most of the companies are up to standard in protecting women’s labor rights. But there were also some companies that had violated regulations and infringed women’s right,” said Lu Ronggen, deputy director of the federation’s rights and interests department.
During the inspection, 17 companies in the light textile and manufacturing industries were found to have overtime problems. Twenty-six companies docked 565 employees’ wages and delayed payment. Three didn’t pay social insurance for 16 female workers, and two didn’t sign labor contracts with 73 female employees, inspectors said. The company names were not released. to read.
04:08:02 local time VIET NAM
* Minimum wage ‘not enough’ to survive on:
The smell and sound of snuffling pigs fills the 7sq.m room of worker Ninh Thi Kieu in Yen Phong Industrial Zone.
Kieu, 20, lives next to pig cages in a room with a bed and gas cooker that costs her VND700,000 (US$33) a month, one-fifth of her basic wage. All other appliances are on or under the bed or hung on the walls.
Kieu says she left for northern Bac Ninh Province two years ago for a job in a mobile phone factory after her mother was hospitalised.
“I had no idea of the job in an assembly line but hoped that I could lead my own life and save for my mother’s treatment.”
However, on a wage of VND3.5 million ($167) per month she only has enough to live, though she’s luckier than others whose basic wages are equal to the State minimum of VND1.65-2.35 million ($78.5-$111) for enterprises. read more.
* Textile, garment to have more local materials:
Local textile and garment enterprises expect the localization rate of the industry to amount to 60-70% in the next three to five years compared to the current rate of almost 38%, said Hoang Ve Dung, Deputy General Director of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
According to Dung, if textile and garment enterprises want to increase the value of exporting products, the capability of supplying materials and accessories is very important as there are more and more foreign customers wanting to have the accessory supply produced locally. read more.
* Vietnam’s garment export growth rate highest in the world:
On Apr 13, the conference “Competitiveness of Vietnam textile industry: perspective in the eyes of international experts” was jointly held in HCMC by the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) under the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dhyana Van Der Pols, Consultant CBI of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, according to the latest research is published, the growth rate of garment exports in the period 2005-2011 in Vietnam reached the highest in the world with 32 pct
While the similar speed of China is 15 pct, India 10 pct, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand are about 7 pct. read more.
* Garment exports grow 32%:
Viet Nam’s textile and garment exports saw growth of 32 per cent during the 2005-11 period, the fastest growth rate for this sector anywhere around the world, according to a recent survey.
The information was released at a conference in HCM City on Saturday by Dhyana Van der Pols, a consultant for the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) under the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China came next in the rankings with a growth of 15 per cent, followed by India with 10 per cent and Turkey, Malaysia and Thailand with 7 per cent each. read more.
03:08:02 local time BANGLA DESH
* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Wal-Mart, Sears Refuse Compensation for Factory Victims:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) have so far declined to join Li & Fung Ltd. and other companies in voluntarily compensating victims of a fire last year at a Bangladesh garment factory.
Wal-Mart and Sears also didn’t respond to an invitation to attend a meeting today in Geneva, where companies whose clothing was manufactured at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory are expected to discuss compensation payments, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a Washington-based international labor-monitoring group.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Work to become next China must start now: WB:
The country has the potential to capture at least 15 million jobs in the next ten years, said the World Bank.
“Recent reports (e.g., McKinsey/USAID) have shown that the productivity of Bangladeshi workers is on par with Chinese workers in well-managed firms with their wages being five times lower than those of their Chinese counterparts (half those in Vietnam),” said the WB.
The country’s unique competitive position comes at a time when China is in the process of outsourcing 80 million jobs from labour-intensive industries.
The WB also called for a more proactive role of the Board of Investment in promoting the country to investors from high-growth economies, particularly to those from China who are looking for more convenient locations for outsourcing their manufacturing.
“East Asia is more expensive, Pakistan too risky, India too regulated, and Africa — which also has a competitive labour force — does not yet have the production capacity and track record to be a major competitor. With the right moves, Bangladesh should top foreign investors’ list.”
* RMG makers fear 30pc fall in orders for political unrest in current year:
The ongoing political turmoil has started taking its toll on country’s apparel sector and is feared to cause fall in orders by nearly 30 per cent by the end of the current year, factory owners say.
Expressing grave concern over the present political situation they said many buyers have started shifting orders to India, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia even at higher prices than Bangladesh to get uninterrupted supply of clothes in the coming spring and summer seasons.
Foreign buyers usually negotiate purchases for spring and summer collections in April to June and confirm orders by July and the factory owners make shipments until December. read more.
* Assess tax on sewing charges, BGMEA urges govt:
Increased tax at source on the value of export will harm the readymade garment industry, said apparel manufacturers, urging the government to impose the tax, instead, on “cutting and making (CM)” values which is the actual earnings the industry retains.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made the appeal at its budget proposal recently submitted to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) also urging the government reduce the tax and assess it on the basis of CM values.
Apparel manufacturers urged the government to reduce the tax at source to 0.50 per cent from the existing 0.80 per cent for the fiscal 2013-14 as businesses have been facing serious problems because of political unrest and faltering global demand.
According to sources, the apparel exporters can retain only 20-25 per cent of the price from any export consignments as they have to spend around 75-80 per cent of exports values for buying raw materials through back-to-back LCs.
“So tax at source at the rate of 0.80 per cent on export price is not rational. Tax at source for apparel exporters should be on manufacturing price or it should be reduced to 0.50 per cent in the upcoming budget,” said BGMEA president Atiqul Islam.
The industry is facing a tough situation because of fall in prices in the international market, appreciation of currency and fear of withdrawal of GSP benefits in various countries. read more.
* Simplifying procedures of factory licence:
In Bangladesh, like most other countries, factory establishment is subject to approval from specified government bodies.
With the requirement of obtaining licences and permits from various government agencies, setting up a factory in Bangladesh is time-consuming.
Whether the segregated approach is effective could be a topic of debate. But on a more fundamental level, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a project of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), has studied the procedural steps involved in obtaining some of these licences and permits such as industrial land allotment certificate, fire license, factory plan approval, factory registration certificate, etc.
BUILD’s process simplification recommendations pertaining to factory plan approval and factory registration certificate have been accepted by the Policy Coordination Committee in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) earlier this year and are currently being implemented. read more.
* Bangladesh to press duty-free access for garment to US:
People work at a garment factory in Bangladesh, which seeks easy access to developed markets. Photo: Star
Bangladesh will once again ask for duty- and quota-free access to developed countries at the upcoming World Trade Organisation ministerial conference.
Pascal Lamy, director general of WTO, has already called for proposals from the least-developed countries for consideration at the summit, the ninth of its kind, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, on December 3-6.
“Our officials are now preparing the papers to be sent to the WTO soon,” Mahbub Ahmed, commerce secretary, said yesterday. read more.
* Shifting of location delaying setting up of SEZ for textile sector in Kushtia:
Implementation of a project for setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) for the country’s textile sector in Kushtia is being delayed due to the problem of acquisition of land and shifting of its location.
The project was scheduled to be completed by June, 2013, said sources within Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), the project implementation authority. read more.
* Murder of Aminul Islam:
Just over one year ago, labour activist Aminul Islam was tortured and murdered in Bangladesh. It appears that Mr Islam was not the victim of random violence but rather targeted for his trade union work.
His murder was no doubt meant to send a clear message to trade unions and NGOs not to protest the low wages, gruelling hours and poor working conditions that characterize the RMG industry. Some suspects have been interrogated, but as yet no one has been arrested, much less prosecuted. It is believed that members of the intelligence service are involved in his murder. read more.
02:38:02 local time INDIA
* Delhi government increases minimum wages:
Doling out sops for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers ahead of elections, Delhi government today increased their minimum wages by six per cent, which will become effective from April 1.
Delhi Labour Minister A K Walia said the minimum wages have been revised for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled categories in all scheduled employments after making necessary adjustment of dearness allowance in order to ensure the minimum wages are in accordance with the latest inflationary trends.
read more. & read more.
* Cotton price turns yarn costly, say spinners:
The South India Spinners’ Association has said that increase in yarn prices during the last two months is because of the cotton price.
Association president K. Thirunavukarasu has said in a release that in February the price of cotton was Rs. 35,000 a candy (356 kg). Now it is Rs. 42,000 a candy. The price of hosiery 40s count yarn in February was Rs. 196 a kg and it was Rs. 202 a kg. The price of 44s count yarn used by powerloom was Rs. 220 a kg in February and now it is Rs. 230 a kg.
While the price of cotton has increased by Rs. 20, that of yarn has increased by Rs. 10. Further, the mills are hit by power cut and hike in diesel prices. The increase in yarn price is also because of hike in these inputs, he said. to read.
02:08:02 local time PAKISTAN
* Aptma seeks regular supply of electricity, gas:
A spokesman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has urged the government to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to facilitate the textile industry.
President Asif Zardari had granted an exemption from electricity outages on independent feeders of the sector. This helped spike textile industry growth. However, the caretaker setup withdrew this exemption without prior notice, and in doing so, crippled Punjab’s textile industry.
At present, the textile industry is operating short of one shift – a change that is affecting 33 percent of 10 million labourers in Punjab.When the exemption was withdrawn, the textile industry was promised that it would be restored within a week. However, the ministry of water and power has yet to fulfill its promise. read more.