19:07:00 local time CHINA
* China’s cotton reserve is 63% of world’s total:
China’s cotton reserves were estimated to stand at 5,820 bales this year, accounting for 63 percent of the world’s total, the United States Department of Agriculture said in a report.
A bale is a standard unit of measurement for cotton and is equivalent to approximately 226 kg.
The government admitted to having “a high level of reserves” but did not divulge the exact figure.
The USDA also estimated that global cotton consumption will grow by 2 percent this year, the third consecutive year for increased consumption. Consumption in China, India and Pakistan will account for 70 percent of the world’s total, the USDA said.
* Private sector wages increasing: NBS data:
The average salary of private sector workers in China’s urban areas rose by 14 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis to 28,752 yuan ($4,681) per year in 2012, while the real average salary in the non-private sector increased by 9 percent to 46,769 yuan last year, according to statistics published Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The growth rate of the real average salary in urban areas was slightly higher than in 2011, when the average real salary in the private sector saw 12.3 percent growth, with an 8.5 percent rise in non-private sector real wages.
Despite the faster salary growth, the average annual salary of employees in the private sector of urban areas last year only accounted for just 61.5 percent of wages earned by staff in the non-private sector, mainly at State-owned companies.
* Surplus workers in rural areas will be ‘zero’ this year:
China’s surplus labor from rural areas is projected to drop to zero in 2013, an expert who has participated in a World Bank report told China Daily.
The projection followed a statement from the National Bureau of Statistics in January that last year the nation’s workforce fell by 3.45 million to reach 937 million, the first time that the absolute number of China’s working-age population has declined.read more.
18:07:00 local time VIET NAM
* Trafficked victims get new lease on life:
Earlier this month, 23-year-old Nguyen Chi Linh (not real name) finally got his long-awaited moment in the spotlight. He celebrated his graduation from a hospitality training programme as a security guard.
Three years ago, the Khmu ethnic resident from Dien Bien Province was once a forced labourer in a HCM City garment factory, getting beaten, working 16-hour shifts in mostly locked rooms and hardly ever getting to go out.
“An acquaintance in my hometown recommended me the job. I was told it was at a family-run garment factory in HCM City,” Linh explained in heavily-accented Vietnamese. “I was promised VND1.5 million (US$72) per month and free meals.”
Instead, Linh ended up receiving almost nothing from the factory’s owners apart from verbal and physical abuse.
“I had no chance to escape. The doors were always locked. When we wanted to go out on a Sunday, the owner would ask someone to follow us,” Linh remembered. “Our phone was confiscated.”
Huan said children and young adults from mountainous areas are often targeted and lured to sweatshops in cities because of poverty and a lack of education.
“Some textile factories in HCM City take advantage of this. They promise to pay the youngsters as much as VND18 million a year, but in reality they receive almost nothing at all.”
* Textiles, garments rank second among export earners:
Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) General Secretary Dang Phuong Dung said at a recent Ministry of Industry and Trade meeting that the textile and garment sector ranked second in terms of export value in the first four months of this year.
The sector exported goods worth US$1.3 billion in April, taking the total in the first four months of 2013 to US$5.1 billion (an increase of 20.3 percent over the same time in 2012), ranking second among all exporting industries in the country over the period. read more.
18:07:00 local time THAILAND
* Thailand’s textile & apparel exports rise marginally in Q1:
Thailand’s textile and apparel exports for January to March period have increased marginally by 1.1 percent from US$ 1.82 billion in 2012 to US$ 1.84 billion in 2013, according to a report by the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) and the Thailand Textile Institute (THTI).
Segment-wise, textile exports from the Southeast Asian country for the first quarter increased by 6.37 percent from US$ 1.07 billion in 2012 to US$ 1.13 billion in 2013, the report stated.
However, the exports of apparel from Thailand declined by 6.43 percent from US$ 749 million to US$ 701 million for the same period. read more.
* New chief urges govt promotion of industry:
The newly elected chairperson of the Asian Chemical Fibre Industries Federation (ACFIF), Mayuree Na Rangsilpa, is cashing in on this platform to seek the Thai government’s help in promoting the industry more intensively on the grounds that it supports other key sectors and strengthens the local economy.
To date, she said, the government had not understood the chemical-fibre industry well. It is an upstream industry that supports important downstream sectors such as automobiles and medical products.
Moreover, the government’s perception of the textile industry is short-sighted, as it clearly regards the sector as a sunset industry that is mainly involved with fashion, whereas it is able to help encourage so much business value in other industries, and also create jobs at the same time, she said. read more.
18:07:00 local time CAMBODIA
* Accident rocks garment industry again:
A walkway that collapsed at about midday on Monday at the Top World Garment (Cambodia) Ltd. factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
For the second time in four days, Cambodia’s garment industry has been rocked by another partial collapse of a structure at a factory.
Garment workers are reporting that at least 10 people, including a pregnant woman, have been injured after a concrete platform collapsed into a pond at the back of the Top World Garment (Cambodia) Ltd. factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh at about midday today.
Workers told the Post they still believed people were in the pond. An official for the coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) said that as many as 20 people might have been sent to hospital.
“I was standing on the end of the kiosk. I saw it begin to collapse and people falling into the water. Five other people and myself helped pull a pregnant woman from the water,” Top World Garment factory employee In Srey Nin said.
Members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit and police are searching in the pond for more survivors.
So far, there have been no confirmed casualties. read more.
* 13 injured in lunch-shed collapse:
13 garment workers are injured when the lunch-shed they were in had collapsed on them at the Hong Kong-owned Top World Garment (Cambodia), Ltd. factory.
The shed which is used by workers for breaks and having lunch fell around 12 o’clock in the afternoon, according to Yanrath Keopisey, an official from the Free Trade Union of Workers, who was at the scene.
The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but the shed was built near a pond full of water hyacinths.
Immediately after the accident, Phnom Penh Police Commissioner, Choun Sovann, accompanied by other police officers were dispatched to the scene.
* Cambodia Factory Accident Injures 23: Police:
A shelter collapsed injuring 23 workers on Monday at a Cambodian factory producing garments for a top Western brand, police said, the latest incident to raise concerns about regional industrial safety.
The concrete and metal structure, where workers were resting during their lunch break, fell down in the compound of the Hong Kong-owned Top World factory located in Phnom Penh, said local police chief Hy Narin.
“The shelter is old and it collapsed into the lake while the workers were having lunch there,” he told AFP.
“No one died but 23 workers were injured,” Hy Narin said, adding that the workers were rushed to hospital for treatment.
The factory produces clothes for Swedish fashion giant H&M, according to Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation.
“With this latest incident, we are worried about the safety of the garment workers,” he told AFP. read more.
* Factory walkway collapses:
Twenty-three garment workers, one of them a pregnant woman, were taken to hospital yesterday after a kiosk and a connecting concrete walkway at Top World Garment factory in the capital collapsed into a pond – days after two workers were crushed to death in a footwear factory in Kampong Speu province.
Workers said the 30-metre-long structure, comprising a concrete platform and iron roof, fell into the rubbish-filled water as they ate lunch shortly after 11:30am.
“I was standing on the end of the kiosk,” factory employee In Srey Nin, 30, said. “Five other people and myself helped pull a pregnant woman from the water.”
That woman was Khem Rany, 27, who said she was eating lunch as usual at the factory, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, when the kiosk began crumbling beneath her.
“We don’t know what happened,” she said. “The construction collapsed into the water. I was afraid something would happen to my baby. I cannot swim.”
* Factory Dining Hall Collapses in Phnom Penh; 23 Injured:
The dining hall of a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district that supplies clothes to U.S. brand Gap collapsed into a pond Monday, injuring more than 20 workers who were eating lunch, workers and officials said.
The hall, which is part of Top World Garment (Cambodia) Ltd. in Kbal Koh commune but outside the main building, collapsed at 11:40 a.m., according to commune police chief Mao Rith. read more.
* ‘Take it or leave it’ :
The uncle of a man who died in Thursday’s ceiling collapse at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu province claimed yesterday that the company had threatened to give the family nothing if they did not agree to an on-the-spot payout.
It came as a government official said the two families who lost loved ones in the collapse were not eligible for state compensation beyond funeral costs.
Rim Rorn, 29, uncle of Rim Roeun, 22, who died in the Kong Pisei district factory, a supplier to Asics, said talks between his family and factory representatives had broken down.
“The representatives told us to accept their offer . . . or it’s hopeless for us,” he said.
Wing Star Shoes management, which could not be reached for comment yesterday, had offered the family about $10,000 – $20,000 less than they wanted, Rorn said.
“We don’t want to go further to demand more compensation, but it seems the company does not agree . . . so I think we will file a complaint to the government.
* Factory Orders Staff Back to Work Amid Safety Concerns:
Employees at a Taiwanese-owned shoe factory in Kompong Speu province where two workers were killed when one of the building’s floors collapsed on Thursday have been ordered back to work today, despite ongoing concerns from labor activists about the building’s safety.
While conceding that some parts of the building—including the section that collapsed—had been built without a permit and were potentially unstable, an official for the provincial department of land management said Sunday that workers could safely return to work as “warning signs” would be erected to avert employees from parts of the factory still deemed unsafe. read more.
* Cambodia factory collapse: How did inspectors miss it? :
Hem Navy lies on a stretcher in the emergency room of a local hospital, hours after she was pulled out from under the collapsed ceiling of an Asics shoe factory in the southwestern province of Kompong Speu.
Half her face is severely bruised with signs of internal bleeding around her eyes, and her left foot is bundled in a bloody bandage.
“When the ceiling fell, I ran to try and escape it,” she said.
She’s among nine workers injured and sent to the capital city following the ceiling collapse Thursday morning in Taiwanese-owned Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd, which makes sneakers for well-known Japanese sports brand Asics. read more.
* Fear remains as factory reopens:
More than 20 people fainted yesterday at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu province, where two workers were crushed to death in a ceiling collapse last Thursday.
Workers and union officials said an electrical short-circuit scared workers returning for the first time since the tragedy.
Hong Seng Lim, president of the Development Movement Union of Cambodia Labour at Wing Star, said 21 workers were taken to hospital, but their conditions weren’t serious.
“An electric short-circuit made a loud noise, scaring workers and causing them to run out of the factory.”
Wing Star, a supplier to Japanese brand Asics, allowed its 7,000 workers the rest of the day off, Seng Lim said. read more.
* Court takes another crack at Bandith case:
Unions representing more than 15,000 members have called for justice for three women ahead of round two of legal action against their alleged shooter, deposed Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith.
Bandith, who is accused of shooting the three workers during a protest at a factory in Svay Rieng province in February last year, will face the provincial court once again tomorrow on charges of causing “unintentional violence”.
The Cambodian Labour Confederation and the Cambodian Confederation of Unions issued a statement on Friday urging the court to convict Bandith, send him to prison and make him pay compensation.
“The powerful always go unpunished, while the poor and the weak are always the victims or found guilty,” the statement says, adding that the court should use this opportunity to take a stand against rampant impunity. “We want to see the court . . . be independent.” read more.
* Trial of Former Bavet Governor Chhouk Bandith Delayed:
Earlier today, former Bavet Governor Chhouk Bandith – accused of shooting three female factory workers during a factory strike last year – failed to appear to his trial in Svay Rieng province.
Following a request by his lawyer, the Svay Rieng court agreed to delay the trial to June 12 in order to “respect the rights of the accused” and insure his presence at the trial. About 60 representatives from unions, NGOs and the united nations were present during today’s proceedings.
Bandith has admitted to firing his gun, and a police witness saw him pointing the gun at the crowd. Despite this, Bandith remains a free man.
The new court date is June 12 at 8 a.m., also in Svay Rieng. to read.
19:07:00 local time INDONESIA
* Indonesia’s Sritex to Raise Up to $226m in June IPO:
Indonesian textile manufacturer Sri Rejeki Isman (Sritex) plans to raise up to 2.2 trillion rupiah ($226 million) in an initial public offering by June.
Sritex set a price range of 230 to 385 rupiah a share for 5.6 billion shares, equivalent to about 30 percent of the company’s equity, underwriters Bahana Securities said in statement.
The funds raised will be used to expand production capacity.
Sritex clients includes international apparel retailers Sears , Wal-Mart and Uniqlo.
17:37:00 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Big jump in Myanmar textiles looming:
Myanmar is on course for a big jump in textile exports to Europe following the return of trade privileges by the European Union (EU), according to the Thailand Textile Institute.
The lifting of the ban on Myanmar under the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) would rapidly drive up Myanmar’s exports of textiles, it said. The institute did not predict the size of the increase, but said it would be significant.
Myanmar’s textile exports rose 18% last year over 2011, totalling US$946 million (27 billion baht).
The EU reinstated trade benefits to Myanmar on April 22 in the wake of democratic reforms after years under the rule of a military junta. Garments are a key industrial sector of the country. Myanmar was struck off the GSP list in 2003 to a protest against the country’s dictatorship. read more.
* Investment commission approves 33 companies in first quarter:
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has granted licenses to 33 companies within the first four months the year, whose total investment amounts to US$815 million, report says.
The list includes 15 garment factories and other companies from the energy related industry, car manufacturing, information technology, and food and beverages, according to MIC.
Garment factories has received Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) granted by European Union, and countries like Japan, Korea, and China have shown special interest in opening garment factories in Myanmar. Beverages companies have also entered the domestic market. read more.