17:48:58 local time CHINA
* Chinese industrial textiles needs more attention: CTIA:
* China has much to do to improve workplace safety:
Three major industrial accidents; more than 100 deaths.
Most tragically a fire at the poultry processing plant in Dehui, Jilin province killed at least 119 people on Monday. The other two accidents were a fire at a grain depot in Heilongjiang province on Friday and an explosion at a petrochemical plant in Dalian, Liaoning province on Sunday, which inflicted heavy economic losses.
The accidents happened within a week of each other and bring home the harsh reality that China has much to do to improve workplace safety.
Although the causes are yet to be determined, the ignoring of workplace safety rules contributed to the high death toll. According to Monday’s survivors, some of the exits at the slaughterhouse remained locked when workers tried to escape. read more.
* Workplace tragedies challenge ‘Safe China’:
A fire that killed 119 workers at a northeast China poultry plant on Monday has once again raised concerns regarding safety in China’s workplaces.
The fire in Jilin Province is the latest in a string of work safety accidents that have resulted in heavy casualties this year.
Thirty-three people died in a blast that occurred at an explosives factory in east China’s Shandong Province on May 20, while another 28 workers died in a coal mine explosion that happened in southwest China’s Sichuan Province on May 11.
17:48:58 local time PHILIPPINES
* Industries hit 3 ways:
The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) says smuggling hits industries three ways: taxes and duties are foregone, it results in unfair competition, and jobs are lost.
FPI president Jesus Arranza said the local tire, garments and textile industries were among the biggest casualties of rampant smuggling.
From six players in the tire manufacturing business, only one, Yokohama Tires, has remained standing.
Half of the jobs in garments have been lost. In Paranaque alone, Arranza said, some 2,000 to 3,000 jobs were lost in garment factories that were shut down.
Based on Arranza’s computation using latest available data, some P125 billion worth of taxes and duties have been lost in 2007 alone.
16:48:58 local time VIET NAM
* WRC Briefing Paper on Labor Rights in Vietnam:
Over the past several years the country of Vietnam has become an increasingly important location for the manufacturing of collegiate licensed apparel. In March 2013 Vietnam was second only to China in the number of factories (185) that have been disclosed to the WRC by licensees as suppliers of collegiate products.
As a result, the labor rights environment in Vietnam’s export manufacturing sector is of significant interest to the WRC and to universities and colleges concerned about the working conditions under which their licensed apparel is produced.
The labor rights situation in the country dictates this as well: in 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor added garments from Vietnam to its official list of products made with forced and child labor, making Vietnam one of only seven countries in the world whose apparel receives this designation.
Unfortunately, Vietnamese government policies restricting the establishment of independent nongovernmental organizations, including those that could monitor factory conditions and assist workers, and preventing the establishment of independent trade unions, severely hamper independent monitoring of labor conditions in Vietnam’s export garment factories.
For this reason, despite considerable effort, the WRC has found it difficult to identify the type of independent local civil society organizations whose grassroots outreach to garment workers is a key element of our investigative methodology, thus hindering our work in the country. However, given the difficult labor rights environment in Vietnam and the country’s increasing importance as a manufacturing location for collegiate apparel, we believe it is essential for universities and colleges to have a clear picture of the key labor issues in Vietnam’s export garment, in order to inform their engagement with licensees sourcing apparel from the country.
The WRC has therefore prepared a briefing paper.
You can read more & download the report here.
* Council to decide on minimum wages:
The National Wage Council will replace the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs to do the job of making decisions on minimum wages from next year onwards.
The council, which was set up by the Government in its Decree 49/2013 and is slated to start operation from early July, is responsible for analyzing the socioeconomic situation and living standards of people, and then forecast the subsistence needs of workers and their families. In addition, the council will check the compliance to regional minimum wages and submit wage proposals to the Government every year.
It will also study the minimum hourly wage for irregular jobs and review the geographical boundaries of each region that is assigned with a certain minimum salary. Moreover, it will conduct surveys and draw on experience from foreign countries.
* Industrial harmony promoted:
The Government needed to be more actively involved in both policy making and law enforcement to help promote harmonious industrial relations, labour experts have pointed out.
While acknowledging that a number of new provisions specified by the new Labour Code and Trade Union Law indicated the increased roles of upper-level trade unions and local labour organisations in promoting better industrial relations, experts complained that the provisions were lacking in specification, orientation and practicality.
“When we look at the Labour Code, it is difficult to find specifications on the Government’s role in solving industrial disputes,” said Yoon Youngmo, chief technical advisor on industrial relations for the International Labour Organisation in Viet Nam.
Vi Thi Hong Minh, head of the Employers’ Society’s Office under the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointed out that the Labour Code had provisions about harmonious industrial relations but offered no specific definition as to what a harmonious industrial relation should be.
There is also a provision about the roles of trade unions, employers’ associations and Government labour agencies regarding inspecting the implementation of the labour laws, but there are no specifications as to how it should be done.
16:48:58 local time CAMBODIA
* Breaking Down Violence at Sabrina 03 June 2013:
This morning 03 June 2013 during the protest at Sabrina Factory (Nike Brand) Violence was breakdown between Police and workers.
* Strike arrests, injuries:
Clashes at the ongoing Sabrina Garment factory protest yesterday morning led to the arrest of eight union members and several injuries on all sides.
Demonstrations at the Kandal province Nike supplier turned violent for the second time in two weeks when protesters entered the factory and exchanged volleys of thrown objects with employees still at work, leading police and military police to intervene.
“Strikers confronted each other in the factory and used stones and sticks to damage factory property,” National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said, adding that nine police officers were seriously injured while intervening.
“We arrested eight union members who incited workers to use violence. We have handed them over to police to work on this issue.”
According to Free Trade Union spokesman Pich Ponnareay, about a thousand police and military officials intervened at the factory, which employs more than 5,000 workers.
* Cambodian police break up Nike factory protest:
Cambodian riot police on Monday broke up a protest by several thousand workers at a factory making clothes for US sportswear giant Nike and arrested eight people, labour activists said.
Unionists accused the security forces of using excessive force and intimidation to quell the demo — the latest in a series of outbreaks of worker unrest at factories producing goods for western brands.
“The arrests are a threat to thousands of workers at the factory not to continue their protest… the situation is getting worse,” said Say Sokny, secretary general of the Free Trade Union (FTU).
The FTU said at least 10 people were injured in the incident at Sabrina Cambodia Garment Manufacturing in the southern province of Kampong Speu. The arrested demonstrators included seven of its members.
* Eight Arrested as Garment Workers, Police Clash:
Eight people were arrested as garment workers from rival unions in Kompong Speu province clashed with each other, and with riot police, on Monday at a Taiwanese-owned garment factory making clothing for U.S. sports brand Nike, police and union officials said.
Since May 20, striking workers at Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment MFG Corp., which employs about 5,000 people in its factory on National Road 4 in Samraong Tong district, have staged several protests, some violent, to demand a wage increase.
* Strikers clash with colleagues at Cambodian garment factory:
Around 4,000 striking workers on Monday forced their way into a factory in Cambodia that makes clothing for U.S. sportswear company Nike and clashed briefly with colleagues who had remained on the job before being dispersed by police.
Police said at least 11 policemen and eight workers were injured.
The confrontation at the Sabrina factory followed a series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest clothing exporter after China, including the collapse of a building in April that killed more than 1,000 people.
Witnesses said many of the workers pressing for a wage increase at the Sabrina plant west of Phnom Penh were armed with sticks and rocks and smashed windows before being confronted by non-strikers.About 1,000 police and soldiers used batons and shields to separate the sides and disperse the strikers.
“We had to break them up in order to protect the whole factory from destruction,” Kheng Tito, a national military police spokesman, told Reuters.Sao Sreytouch, a striking worker, said she was confronted by other workers with sticks and steel pipes upon entering the factory, where workers walked out on May 21.
Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU) at Sabrina, accused police and factory owners of colluding “to cause chaos” and force an end to the strike.
* 7 Cambodian workers arrested at Nike subcontractor:
Cambodian police have detained seven workers at a factory that makes clothing for the U.S. sportswear company Nike in the latest strife linked to a strike over salaries there.
Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia organizer Son Vanny said its members traded barrages of sticks and stones Monday with members of a rival union opposing the strike. He said police then arrived and started beating workers. Police declined comment on any arrests or possible injuries.
The protest at the Taiwanese-owned Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing plant west of Phnom Penh began May 21 over demands that salaries be raised to $88 per month from $74. Police used force when the workers blocked main road outside the factory on May 27, allegedly causing two pregnant workers to miscarry.
* Cambodia’s garment industry expanding:
Both exports and imports of garment materials rose more than 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year, reflecting a growth in Cambodia’s biggest industry.
Exports of garment and textile materials went up by 17.5 per cent to reach $1.34 billion from January to March this year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. Meanwhile, $753 million was spent on imports to supply production, an 18.3 per cent increase.
“We noticed an increase in orders from buyers during this period. At the same time, we also got an increase in numbers of new factories every month, and they need to import machinery and raw materials,” Cheat Khemara, the Garment Manufacturers’s Association of Cambodia’s (GMAC) senior officer, said yesterday.
17:48:58 local time INDONESIA
* Pan Brothers Allocates IDR395.1 Billion Capex:
Indonesia-based garment manufacturer, PT Pan Brothers Tbk, allocated capital expenditure of US$40 million or equivalent to IDR395.1 billion that will be used mostly to build new plants in two locations in Java Island.
Pan Brothers Vice President Director Anne Patricia Sutanto said the company has a number of corporate agendas as well as development and business expansions to support its performance growth progressively.
Around US$35 million will be allocated for constructing 4 new plants to be built at the beginning of second half of 2013 and targeted to begin production in the first quarter of next year.
“Besides the construction of new plant, we are also developing shop chain and launching our own brand called ZOE as one of business expansions,” she said on the sideline of Pan Brothers’ shareholders meeting, Friday (5/31/2013).
16:18:58 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Brand Myanmar grabs the global spotlight:
Western garment and footwear brands are conducting due diligence on individual Myanmar factories, the industry as a whole and the government’s political and reform process, industry representatives and officials say.
The brands are drawn by the easing of sanctions, duty-free access to new markets, a new legal framework that establishes basic workers’ rights and nascent efforts to improve working conditions at factories.
Recent disasters at factories in Bangladesh also have them looking for new countries to source from. “I don’t think we have seen the fallout from Bangladesh yet,” said Steve Marshall, the liaison officer of the International Labour Organisation in Myanmar.
Several global brands have contacted his office as part of their research. “Obviously they are concerned about reputational risk,” he said, adding that they are “doing their due diligence, seeking reports on broader human rights and also specifically on labour market issues”.
Expectations that production costs in Myanmar will fall as access to electricity increases and economic reforms reduce freight, telecom and financial transactions costs are also perking up their interest.
15:48:58 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG workers stage demo in Gazipur:
Workers of two readymade garment (RMG) factories in Gazipur industrial belt observed work abstention and staged demonstration on Monday protesting dismissal of their co-workers and demanding hike in wages.
Police and locals said workers of ‘Ananta Casual Wear Limited‘ garment factory in Borobari area began work abstention in the morning protesting dismissal of their 25 fellow workers.
They also staged demonstration in the area to press the factory authorities to meet their several demands including increase in attendance bonus and overtime.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Unrest in Gazipur, Ashulia – Factories Shut Sine Die:
Factories in Gazipur have been shut sine die on Monday 03 June 2013, after a massive demonstration started mainly by workers of the Ananta Garments factory for better wages. The agenda which was wage turned to violent expression of rights as workers protested on the beating of their fellow workmates.
Police and locals said workers of ‘Ananta Casual Wear Limited‘ garment factory in Borobari area began work abstention in the morning protesting dismissal of their 25 fellow workers. The workers of SQ sweater factory observed work abstention and staged demonstration on the Gazipur-Tangail Highway since the morning demanding hike in wage.
They had started agitation on Saturday pressing for the demands including hike in wage and other allowances but the authorities dismissed the 25 workers in the last two days. The workers allege that their coworkers were beaten by factory goons for demanding better pay, including weekends and farer overtime bonus.
* RMG workers-cops clash injures 50:
At least 50 people were injured in a clash between RMG workers of Dynasty BD Limited and cops in Aukpara of Ashulia on Monday morning.
The clash erupted when the workers went on strike demanding dues and to open the factory.
Source said workers brought out a procession at around 08:30am and police charged baton to disperse them. And then workers barricaded Dhaka-Aricha highway road in CNB bus stand area around 10:00am.
read more. & read more.
* 30-60 injured as RMG workers, police clash at Ashulia, Gazipur :
At least 60 people including seven cops were injured in clashes between the police and apparel workers who demonstrated in Ashulia and Gazipur on Monday pressing for pay hike.
The police charged batons, fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, who retaliated with stones and bricks.
The clashes at Ashulia erupted after several hundred garment workers
blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway near Jahangirnagar University demanding an increase in wages and allowances, withdrawal of cases against workers, reopening of the closed factory and reinstatement of the terminated workers.
The clashes broke out in Gazipur when workers blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at Barabari in Gazipur pressing for an increase in wages and overtime allowances.
Garment workers at Ashulia, where several hundred apparel factories are located, have been staging protests since the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 to push eight-point demands including wage hike and workplace safety.
read more. & read more.
* PM for steps to let RMG workers unionise:
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday asked the cabinet to take steps to introduce trade union activities in the export-oriented apparel factories.
She said that the workers’ right to unionise was essential in dealing with labour issues ‘more effectively’ in the face of unrest in the garment industry that employs over 40 lakh workers, mostly women.
Hasina told her cabinet colleagues that the Awami League-led government had initiated amendments to the labour law considering trade union activities positive in resolving any crisis in the labour-intensive industrial sector, a minister told New Age after the weekly cabinet meeting.
read more. & read more.
* On paying wages on time:
The government is going to take stern action if readymade garments factory owner don’t pay the wages of workers within the first 10 days every month.
Workers suffer immensely when they do not receive their salary timely. It creates resentment among them which sometimes erupts like volcano creating unrest in our society. If the owners of industries pay salaries on time, they can avoid many unpleasant situations, including frequent labour unrest that hurts the image of our country outside, which are not desirable to anyone.
* Move to promote workers’ rights and labour relations:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Monday signed US$ 2.5 million agreement to promote fundamental workers’ rights and labour relations in export oriented industries in Bangladesh like readymade garment, shrimp and leather sector.
Heikki Eidsvoll Holmas, Minister for International Development of Norway, and Srinivas Reddy, country office director for Bangladesh, ILO, inked the deal on behalf their respective organisations at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the city.
The agreement signing ceremony was also attended by Mikail Shipar, secretary for Labour and Employment Ministry, Sukkur Mahmud, chairman of National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education and Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Employers Federation.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Quality of most buildings are not up to standard:
Experts from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) have expressed concern over the standard and quality of the buildings that are housing heavy-weight industries including those of ready-made garment (RMG) factories.
“Most of such buildings have not been constructed, complying with the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC); even many of them do not have the necessary approval from the authority concerned,” they said.
The BUET experts made the observation following their inspection during which they found major faults in construction design, structural lay-out plan of such buildings and warned of vulnerability to natural disasters like earthquake.
“Unfortunately, our inspection teams have found that most RMG factories have been housed in the residential or commercial buildings,” said Prof Mujibur Rahman, Head of the BUET’s Civil Engineering Department.
* An easy-to-grasp explanation of the Bangladesh Safety Accord:
* UK pressures retailers on Bangladesh supply chains:
The UK government is putting pressure on clothing retailers that source from Bangladesh to improve the safety of their supply chains in the country, reports just-style.
Development secretary Justine Greening has written to the CEOs of approximately 20 retailers to discuss how the Department for International Development can work together on the issue.
‘DFID will work with companies to see how we can take the next step, whether it’s signing up to ethical trading standards or going the extra mile in ensuring responsible business practices,’ said Greening.
* GSP verdict may be delayed:
The United States Trade Representative might delay the verdict on whether Bangladesh will continue to enjoy the generalised system of preferences in the US market, an official said yesterday.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said the USTR, the chief trade negotiator for the US president, is taking time to observe the developments after the Rana Plaza collapse.
“This may delay the verdict.”
Bangladesh attended a USTR hearing on the continuation of the trade benefit on March 28 in Washington.
The verdict was supposed to come in the first week this month.
* Calamity fails to unify:
Major European retailers like Carrefour, H&M and Marks & Spencer have agreed to a plan to improve safety in garment factories in Bangladesh. But they will face a competitive disadvantage from American retail giants like Gap and Wal-Mart, which have declined to participate, citing fears of legal liabilities.
Some say those fears are overblown, and reflect the obsession with legal liability in the United States to the detriment of workers whose lives are at risk.
“If these American retailers get 20 lawyers in a room, they start hyperventilating about lawsuits and they`ll have a communal anxiety attack,” Philip J. Jennings of Uni Global Union, which represents 20 million workers, told The Times. Labor advocates argue that retailers should have embraced a worker safety plan sooner, particularly since a fire in a Bangladesh sweater factory killed 21 workers in 2010.
“This was exactly the right thing to do three years ago – but they didn`t do it,” Ineke Zeldenrust, a coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, which opposes sweatshops, told The Times.
And companies are reluctant to spend the money to make factories safer even though “the expense would be just a fraction of the $18 billion worth of apparel exported annually by Bangladesh,” The Times reported.
* US retailers have ‘blood on their labels’:
A leading House Democrat is accusing giant US retailers like Walmart and Gap of being complicit in overseas industrial disasters like the one that killed more than 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh in April.
Rep. George Miller (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, returned this week from a lengthy trip examining Bangladesh`s garment industry with a damning verdict: American companies have not only ignored poor factory conditions like those that led to April`s tragedy, he said, they`ve encouraged them in order to maximize profits.
* Garment exports to US stagnant:
But Vietnam and Cambodia are doing a good business in the market
Bangladesh’s garment exports to the US remained stagnant during the July-March period of the current fiscal year, the Centre for Policy Dialogue found in a study, which was released yesterday.
But Bangladesh’s competitors such as Vietnam and Cambodia saw a rise in their exports to the US market during the period, according to the study.
Bangladesh’s garment export growth remained static at 0.96 percent during the period compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year, whereas Vietnam logged a 9.5 percent rise.
Garment makers blamed the dull exports on political unrest, long lead-time, accidents like the Rana Plaza collapse, higher production cost and the devaluation of the dollar against the taka.
“Vietnam is doing an aggressive marketing in the US. They are grabbing the Chinese orders too. As a result, its exports to the US are increasing,” Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the CPD, told The Daily Star by phone.
* RMG industry: Realities versus emotions:
Emdadul Islam in the first of a two-part article, ‘RMG industry in Bangladesh – some thoughts’
Readymade garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh has come a long way today since its inception in the late 1970s.
The industry enjoys the status of being the biggest and number one industry in the country and does rightfully so. Employing directly more than three and a half million workers and many more indirectly, the 20-billion dollar export industry, unfortunately, is yet to be seen as a firmly footed and solid one.
Shortly after the very first initiative of RMG manufacturing and exporting from the country, the business flourished and has been growing henceforth at a phenomenal rate. Reasons for this rapid growth of this industry can be attributed to following various factors:
a) The rise of RMG in Bangladesh coincided with the volatile internal conflict situation in Sri Lanka. A strong RMG industry in Sri Lanka was faltering. International buyers then found an alternative emerging industry almost in the neighbourhood exactly at the same time,
b) Availability of government policy support in terms of duty- free import facility of capital machinery, back-to-back Letter of Credit (LC) facility for import of raw materials, Customs bond facility etc,
c) Abundance of cheap labour,
d) A situation of relaxed or almost no control/restrictions over matters related to labour law, compliance etc. for the garment makers,
e) Entrepreneurship from the relatively young investors,
f) Both technical and buying support from the foreign buying agents and buyers, etc.
The growth of the industry was comparatively easier for us than it was in other countries because of these reasons. As a result, the industry could reach the level where it stands today. One can ask a question though whether the existing state of the industry is a very satisfactory one or it could have been better. The issue is debatable.
* Govt owes Tk 5.55 billion as cash incentives to jute exporters:
The government’s debt to jute exporters as cash incentives rose to more than Tk 5.55 billion taking into account the amounts of four fiscal years – FY ’10 to FY ’13 – which is creating a liquidity crisis in the sector.
Sources said the exporters have sought Tk 10.55 billion budgetary allocation from the ministry of finance (MoF) for their incentives.
The total debt of the government to jute exporters as cash incentives will come to Tk 5.55 billion in the outgoing fiscal, Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) official data revealed.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* PM to receive donation for Savar victims Wednesday:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will receive donation from different organizations and individuals for Savar victims on Wednesday (June 5).
The Prime Minister will receive cheques of the donation at her Tejgaon office at 10 am on June 5, PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.
Representatives of the organizations and individuals were requested to attend the function in time.
15:18:58 local time INDIA
* Weavers take out procession:
Powerloom workers strike enters 30th day; talks to be held today
Labourers working in powerlooms at several villages near this textile town took out a silent procession at Sathirapatti near here on Monday seeking an early solution to their month-long agitation.
Hundreds of labourers work in powerlooms at Sathirapatti, Samusigapuram, Sankarapandiapuram, Vagaikulampatti, Iyanapuram and Rajapalayam, among other villages, to manufacture surgical gauze and surgical bandage cloth.
About 10 units including Arumuga, Natchiar, Premier and Jayaram groups are engaged in exporting these goods to various international companies while 80 to 85 units are involved in distribution of the same to several States in the country. The rest is meant for sale within the State. With the expiry of the three-year wage agreement by May 2013, the workers have been on strike since May 4 this year seeking a new wage agreement with a pay hike.
* Global investors’ meet in 2014:
The State government will organise the third global investors meet in 2014 and it is also proposed to formulate a new textile policy with attractive incentives to textile industries to ensure that the sector is globally competitive.
Addressing members of the two Houses of the Karnataka legislature at a joint sitting here on Monday, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj said the infrastructure policy of 2007 would be reviewed and the PPP mode of implementation encouraged to create an investor-friendly environment in the State. “It will be the priority of this government to make all-round efforts to strengthen and rejuvenate the single window clearance mechanism”.
He said at one time in the past, Karnataka was a favoured destination for investors and this pride of place has suffered a setback due to political instability and corruption scams apart from the global recession. “My government is competent to face these challenges and a healthy environment for industrial growth shall be created with a view to increasing employment. Essential infrastructure such as land, power, water and other facilities shall be provided in right earnest and special attention shall be given to protect the interests of farmers while acquiring land for industrial purpose”.
* ‘Pay correct wages under MNREGS’:
People of Ammapettai panchayat union have appealed to Collector K.Baskaran to pay them the stipulated wages under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).
People from Arunthavapuram, Nadupatti, Utharmargudi, and other villages in Ammapettai union, who presented a petition at the grievances day meeting, said that MNREGS workers at Arunthavapuram village were paid only Rs.105 while the stipulated wages was Rs.148. At Nadupatti and Uthamargudi, only Rs.65 was being paid, they said.
* ‘A monetary flexibility for knitwear exporters’:
With rupee continuing to fluctuate against dollar and hitting a nine-month low recently, the ‘in-principle decision’ taken by Reserve Bank of India to relax the norms on forward contracts is set to give monetary flexibility to knitwear exporters in Tirupur cluster.
The forward contracts were widely used by exporters to evade the currency risks while executing the orders for apparels received from foreign buyers.
According to the RBI’s decision, the present limit of 25 per cent on the facility of rebooking of cancelled forward contracts will be increased to 50 per cent of the projected annual turnover of any company. Besides it, the documentation process in the declaration of forward contracts was to be eased further.
* New govt to formulate land, textile policies in Karnataka:
The new Congress government in Karnataka today said it would rationalise expenditure, set up a centre to spearhead administrative reforms and formulate land and textile policies.
The government would rationalise expenditure by curtailing wasteful spending, effective targeting of subsidies and focusing on growth-inducing capital investment, Governor H R Bhardwaj told a joint session of the state legislature.
The government would implement recommendations of the Expenditure Reforms Commission in a time-bound manner, make tax administration more effective and efficient and exhibit zero-tolerance to tax evasion in all its forms, he said. It proposed to formulate a new textile policy with attractive incentives to textile industries, and make the sector globally competitive.
* Indians aren’t buying enough jeans, firms worried:
Imagine buying a pair of denims on equated monthly installment (EMI)? In the face of stiff competition from non-denim quarters — trousers, chinos, cargos — denim brands including Levis, Lee, Wrangler and others are renewing efforts to scale up the low denim consumption in India.
“The opportunity in the Indian denim market is huge as it is currently dominated by smaller players,” said J Suresh, managing director and CEO at Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd and Arvind Retail.
In the pipeline are plans to ramp up retail presence, sell denims on EMIs or even sell non-denim apparel within stores to boost walk-ins.
As in the case with Levi’s, which recently started retailing multi-coloured smart-fit pants from its flagship stores.
15:18:58 local time SRI LANKA
* Leading garment manufacturer goes legit after police raid:
The Colombo Crimes Division recently raided a leading garment manufacturer for using unlicensed software in their head office.
The case was filed in the Magistrates Court of Colombo. The company was found to be using illegal software and hence was compelled to legalize all the software in its organization.
Over 300 desktops were thereafter installed with genuine software purchased at the relevant authorized distributors of the software owners. Under the Intellectual Property Law of Sri Lanka, Business Leaders and Company Directors are held personally liable for such violations, and could even be liable for fines and imprisonment.
14:48:58 local time PAKISTAN
* Employees’ support sought for better welfare of labour community:
Director General (Operations) of the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), Syed Iqbal Haider Zaidi, has asked the employers to come forward and extend support for better welfare of labour community regarding their legal and moral obligations.
He expressed these views during the visit of SITE Association of Trade and Industry here on Monday.
Zaidi informed the office bearers of the Association that EOBI is playing a vital role to provide pension-related benefits to people of worker class and their survivors in the shape of old age pension, survivors’ pension, invalidity pension and old age grants.
He further said that there are 5.5 million industries and private sector workers who are registered under Employees Old Age Benefits Scheme and they are getting various types of pensions after their retirements.
* APTMA accuses NTDC of showing anti-Punjab bias:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership has condemned the NTDC and Pepco for issuing notice to the Punjab-based textile industry of 10 hours a day loadshedding, following the Supreme Court order of equal distribution of electricity among consumers.
Group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz, central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir and Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan held a press conference after holding a general body meeting of APTMA members on Wednesday at the APTMA Punjab office. They said only the mismanagement of the power distribution companies was behind the prevailing loadshedding of electricity, which have either misinterpreted or misunderstood the apex court’s verdict on equal distribution electricity among consumers.
* Textile industry continues tirade against load-shedding:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has once again asked the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) to provide Punjab’s textile industry with the agreed-to hours of electricity, threatening that the sector will start laying off the workforce from this month on.
“NTDC, after Supreme Court orders of ensuring equal load-shedding for all sectors, has increased outages from six hours to 10 hours per day. In such a scenario, there is no choice for us but to start relieving the workforce from this month,” said Aptma Chairman Ahsan Bashir at a press conference on Monday.
There are around 10 million workers associated with Punjab’s textile industry, he claimed.
Punjab’s textile industry receives gas for three days a week. “With an electricity load management period of 10 hours, the industry will have to discontinue two shifts; this means we have to lay off around 6.6 million workers,” he added.
read more. & read more.
* Faisalabad industry facing 18-hour-long power suspension:
The workers of industrial units, including powerloom, hosiery and textile, will launch a Million March on June 8 if the loadshedding duration was not reduced to five hours a day.
This decision was made during a meeting of trade unions and mill owners here on Monday. Later addressing a press conference, Pakistan Sizing Association chairman Mirza Muhammad Shafiq, Rana Muhammad Amin and Haji Talib Hussain protested against 16-18 hours loadshedding, which had crippled the business activities in Faisalabad.
They alleged that the Fesco had clamped worst loadshedding on the industry, forcing the closure of 100,000 powerlooms and hundreds of industrial units and leaving over 600,000 workers jobless. They said that 200,000 workers would also lose their jobs if the situation continued for more time, causing worst law and order in the area.
* Cotton concerns:
Cotton is the backbone of our agrarian economy and the textile industry. With the onset of cotton seed sowing season, I would like to draw the relevant authorities’ attention towards a perennial problem: the use of substandard pesticides by our farmers. The net result is low yield and huge losses – sometimes of up to one to 1.5 million bales minimum per season.
If the agriculture department keeps a check on this menace, Pakistan may get 1.6 million bales which is the requirement of our industry. To achieve this goal, the government should ensure that the officials of the relevant department regularly visit cotton-growing areas to catch and punish those who are involved in adulteration of pesticides.
* Paper on Fire, Safety and Labor Issues in the apparel supply chain: Implications for Pakistan:
The apparel supply chain was already under pressure over several fire incidents which killed hundreds of workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan last year but with the collapse of Rana Plaza building in April 2013, which killed more than 1,100 workers, a lot of changes are being brought about.
The incident forced more than 30 brands, predominantly European retailers, to sign the Accord on Fire & Safety in Bangladesh (AFBSB). Prior to the incident, activists had been campaigning for two years but only o ne major buyer had agreed to sign this agreement on a condition that at least three other buyers also sign up for funding. Some important signatories to the accord are Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Esprit, Inditex (Zara), Next, Primark, PVH (Tommy Hillfiger, Calvin Klei n), Sainsbury’s, and Tesco.
Major US – based retailers, on the other hand, decided not to sign the agreement.
The agreement aims to establish a fire and building safety program in Bangladesh over a five year period. Under this agreement the initial inspection of all participating factories would be carried out within two years.
It envisages a central role for the International Labor Organization (ILO) as the monitoring body. The agreement aims to create a self – financed project with each signatory company contributing a proportion to its annual buying volume towards the project. According to the agreement, signatory companies are bound to place “comparable or greater volumes” as a binding commitment towards maintaining a “long term sourcing relations hip” with Bangladesh. This condition was added because of concerns that buyers may start shifting their orders out of Bangladesh which may destabilize the industry that employs millions of workers, mostly women
The accord aims to help Bangladesh build its National Action Plan on Fire Safety (NAP). In a separate but related development, the ILO and the World Bank refused to let Bangladesh join their textile industry monitoring and safety program, the BetterWork program, until the country improves conditions for labor unions and overhauls its labor laws.
BetterWork program requires unannounced, independent inspections of participating textile companies and is being run in several countries.
Bangladesh applied to join the BetterWork program but was refused entry because of the country’s weak labor laws and treacherous conditions for labor unions. ILO and the World Bank have demanded major changes before approving participation into the program.
Bangladesh’s situation in terms of its labor practices and safety regulations is not unique.
There are several other garment producing countries, such as Pakistan and Cambodia, where almost the situation exists.
In these countries, the state either does no t have the capacity or is not committed to implement these laws over fear that it will drive away investment.
This situation is in contrast to China, the largest garment producer in
According to the ILO, China has witnessed continual improvement of occupational safety and health over the past decade. In China OSH laws are enacted by the National People’s Congress (NPC); administrative regulations are enacted by the Central People’s Government of China (The State Council); local regulations are made by the People’s Congress at province level and departmental rules are enacted by departments working under the State Council.
In countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan the local governments are either non – existent or ineffective. A study by the UNDP (2010) on local government in Bangladesh admits that although the constitution of Bangladesh is one of the most progressive ones in the region as far as the emphasis and importance to local government is concerned but it is not accompanied by effective powers and a political culture to enact the legislation .
As a result, all tiers of local government are yet to be run by the elected bodies.
In Pakistan factory inspections are covered under the Factories Act of 1934 which was banned i n 2003 by the provincial government of Punjab and followed by other provinces.
You can read more & download the paper here.