09:18:08 local time MONGOLIA
* Incentives to be provided for herders supplying hides:
The Regulatory Agency on Implementing Light Industry Policy of the Ministry of Manufacturing and Agriculture, has decided to start implementing Government Resolution 48 and begin providing incentives for herders who prepare and supply hides to domestic leather processing factories.
Below are some details regarding the incentive from S.Davaajav, monitoring council member of the Association of Leather Goods Producers.
-How many leather processing factories are operating in Mongolia? How much raw material for leather goods are produced each year?
-There are 32 factories and two of them operate in Darkhan-Uul Province. In accordance with the decree, now the herders supplying hides to domestic factories are able to acquire the incentive starting this month.
09:18:08 local time PHILIPPINES
* Int’l labor activists stage ‘solidarity walk’ for People’s Protest vs price hikes:
Chanting calls in various languages, more than 60 delegates of an ongoing international labor workshop in Manila staged a “Solidarity Walk” at twilight of Tuesday (July 16) in UP Diliman in support of the “Protestang Bayan” against price hikes.
Marching at the rain-drenched street from the University Hotel to the UP Oblation, labor activists from US, Australia, Hongkong, Indonesia, India, Manipur, Thailand, Myanmar, and various regions of the Philippines shouted out calls in their native language for respect of workers’ rights. On that day, Filipino workers, drivers, youth-students, women and migrant supporters conducted simultaneous protest actions in various points in Metro Manila and in other regions. They railed against rising prices of basic goods and basic services, which they blame on Aquino’s economic policies such as privatization and deregulation.
08:18:08 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnam migrants seized in Russia not connected to extremism :
The Vietnamese embassy in Russia has dismissed any connection between 250 Vietnamese arrested last week for illegal immigration with the weapons and extremist documents police confiscated from their place of work.
In an email written to Thanh Nien dated July 10, Le Hong Truong, chief of the consular office under the embassy, said the information about the immigrants’ involvement came from a Vietnamese interpreter who had been hired by Russia’s Federation Migration Service to assist with the case.
On July 7, Russian agencies raided a textile factory in Moscow and took into custody 250 Vietnamese workers for illegal immigration.
* Leather-footwear firms may benefit little from TPP:
It is probable that local leather-footwear companies won’t benefit much from the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) under negotiations now, said Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chair of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).
At a seminar on the sidelines of this year’s international leather and footwear exhibition in HCMC last Thursday, Kiet said the TPP brings benefits to the country’s leather-footwear industry as a whole. However, he noted, when import tariffs are slashed in line with the TPP, it is foreign importers who will enjoy the most benefits besides consumers.
* APHEDA extends aid for enhancing local labour unions capability:
Haiphong Labour Union recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Australian People for Health,Education and DevelopmentAbroad (APHEDA) to implement phase 2 of the project “Capability enhancement for Vietnam Labour Union in industrial zones, export processing zones and enterprises”.
Target of the project phase 2 is to enhance capability and confidence for trainers of the Labour Union so that they can conduct training courses for local labour unions’ officers effectively; to update and experiment training contents and programs in fields of collective agreement and social dialogue; to test and implement the negotiation at enterprise level with the new method of Vietnam Labour Union.
08:18:08 local time THAILAND
* Short-term loans for SMEs hit by minimum wage hike:
The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) will grant short-term, low-interest loans to local small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), which have been impacted by the Bt300 minimum wage hike, Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk announced.
* Labour woes turn producers to Myanmar:
The electrical-appliance and auto-parts industries are already forging trade relations with partners in Myanmar due to the labour shortage in Thailand.
“Some companies aim to set up factories there this year so that they can start production next year,” Suparp Suwanpimolkul, honorary president of the Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association, said yesterday.
As the members of the association are SMEs, their strategies have to rely on those of giant brand-name foreign companies, he said.
When these big manufactures move into Myanmar, Thai SMEs will follow them.
The garment and textile industries face similar labour difficulties.
In the past five years, the workforce in the garment industry has shrunk sharply by over 50 per cent to about 300,000-400,000 people, said Chartchai Singhadeja, director of the Overseas Trade and Investment Centre of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association.
The loss of tax privileges such as those under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) will further pressure the industries to look abroad as it will increase production costs by about 25 per cent. The industries aim to maintain research and development centres in Thailand, while plants will be set up in other countries.
08:18:08 local time CAMBODIA
* ILO says working conditions deteriorate in clothing and footwear sector:
Working conditions in Cambodia’s clothing and footwear sector deteriorated in the six months to April, the International Labor Organization said Thursday.
“Following steady improvement in working conditions from 2005 to 2011, conditions are now declining,” said Jill Tucker, advisor to the UN agency’s Better Factories Cambodia program.
“Some of the non-compliance may be attributed to the industry’s rapid growth since 2011,” she said.
“Still, all stakeholders need to take stronger steps to halt the downward trend. If not, Cambodia runs the risk of forfeiting the advantages that accrue to a reputation for decent working conditions.”
* ILO hires consultant to address child labor issue:
The International Labor Organisation said Thursday it had recently hired a full-time consultant to address the issue of child labor in Cambodia’s clothing and footwear industry.
In the six months to April, the UN agency said it suspected children were working at 13 out of 155 factories monitored. Investigations subsequently found six children under the age of 15 working at three of the factories.
“The lack of a universal birth registration system in Cambodia and falsification of age‐verifying documents significantly impede the detection of underage workers,” the agency said.
* BFC’s 30th Synthesis Report Highlights Decline in Garment Sector
Conditions Since 2011:
Improvements are not being made in key areas of working conditions including fire safety, child labor, and worker safety and health according to the latest Synthesis Report released by the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia program (BFC).
BFC’s latest Synthesis Report compares its most recent data on garment sector conditions to data collected over the past eight years and finds that conditions have been declining in several key areas since 2011.
“Release of our 30th Synthesis Report provides us with the opportunity to take a long term view. Unfortunately, our data shows that following steady improvement in working conditions from 2005 to 2011, conditions are now declining. Some of the non-compliance may be attributed to the industry’s rapid growth since 2011. Still, all stakeholders need to take stronger steps to halt the downward trend. If not, Cambodia runs the risk of forfeiting the advantages that accrue to a reputation for
decent working conditions” said Jill Tucker, Chief Technical Advisor of ILO-Better Factories Cambodia.
read more. & you can download the report here.
09:18:08 local time INDONESIA
* Solo Garments Penetrate China and Bangladesh:
Garment exports from Surakarta are on the rise. The opening of new markets aside from European traditional markets has triggered this growth. This new market includes Bangladesh and China.
Deputy head of the Association of Indonesian Textiles in Central Java, Joko Santoso, says the export of garments to Bangladesh and China has occurred because businesses in these two nations import rather than produce more products.
“Work safety during production was a serious issue in Bangladesh, especially considering the accident that occurred some time ago,” Joko told reporters yesterday.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of accidents related to work, garment businesses in Bangladesh opt to import goods from other areas, such as Surakarta.
Meanwhile, the high wages for workers in China has seen garment businesses in the nation opt to import instead of produce.
* Lasem Batik Demands Increase:
A number of Lasem Batik crafters in Rembang, Central Java, admitted to receive an increasing demand during the holy month of Ramadhan. “Demands increased to 25 percent compared to regular days,” said Riva’i, the Head of Lasem Batik Cluster.
“Orders come from major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya,” Riva’i added. “Currently, we increase production to 3,000 cuts per month.”
Santoso, a batik crafter, mentioned that batik trend is dominated with bright colors, featuring blue or red. Most customers from Surabaya, Surakarta and Yogyakarta loved the classic design of Lasem Batik, which he claimed to have prepared around 500 designs.
07:18:08 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG sector needs to observe social compliance:
Premature deaths in the collapse of a building or in a fire incident are nothing unusual in Bangladesh.
Lives are being lost regularly in road accidents or in any other incidents. The people in Bangladesh are known for short memory.
They forget the past very easily.
It has almost slipped from our memory that on October 15, 1985 the roof of Dhaka University’s Jagannath Hall collapsed killing 39 students, workers and guests and leaving around 300 others wounded. We have also recovered from the shock of the loss of 123 lives in the devastating fire incident that took place at Old Dhaka’s Nimtali, very close to the Jagannath Hall, on June 03, 2010.
Most of the victims were women and children. Though both the incidents exposed negligence on the part of the state about safety compliance, yet those did not attract that much international attention, as they had no link with the global business.
But when it comes to any such incident in the readymade garment (RMG) sector, it has a far greater effect, because it involves compliance with the international safety standard, the biggest chunk of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and generation of jobs, mostly for women.
There is a gulf of difference between the Jagannath Hall roof collapse and the collapse of the Rana Plaza that housed several apparel factories. Over 1,100 lives were lost in the Rana Plaza tragedy. The impact of the Nimtali fire is also different from the Tazreen Fashions fire that also claimed a large number of lives. In another incident on April 11, 2005 the Spectrum Sweater, an RMG factory building, collapsed killing 64 workers and leaving 74 critically injured.
In the KTS Textile Industries tragedy on February 23, 2006 in Chittagong, 61 workers lost their lives and more than 100 workers were wounded, as a fire originated from an electrical short-circuit. It was known that the sector employed many child and adolescent workers violating the rules and regulations. The lack of health and safety equipment, no fire drill and locked gates were the main reasons of the casualties.
Concerned government officials are equally responsible for industrial accidents as the factory owners are. There are enough laws, acts, rules and regulations. No system will work until the implementing agencies take the responsibility.
At this stage of maturity the garment sector has to fix “minimum price” of their products, not the “minimum wage” which is an inhumane approach to payment.
* ICCB for quick punishment for Rana Plaza disaster culprits:
The factory and building owners of Rana Plaza must be tried quickly according to law as such incident has put Bangladesh apparel industry in a very dire situation, said the International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh on Wednesday.
It said that Savar incident that killed more than 1,100 garments workers in April following the Tazreen Fashions fire which killed another 112 workers in November was widely covered worldwide because of Bangladesh’s position as the number two apparel exporter in the world.
The chamber said buyers were now pressing for safe workplaces, higher wages, rights to trade union and other conditions for compliance.
‘Following the accident, many international NGOs as well as consumers campaigned for restricting purchase of Bangladeshi garments until the factories ensure workers’ safety and labour rights.’ it said in a news release.
* Apparel industry needs strategic plan for future growth: ICCB:
In its latest news bulletin, the chamber urges retailers to stay in Bangladesh
The situation in the Bangladeshi garments sector has been improving gradually, but more comprehensive attention and cooperation of owners, regulators as well as buyers is needed to achieve significant results, said a leading chamber yesterday.
The sector came into worldview after the tragic deaths of 1,243 workers in the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar and in the factory fire of Tazreen Fashions in the recent months, said International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICCB).
“Such failure must be tried quickly according to law and should act as a deterrent,” according to the editorial of the April-June 2013 issue of the chamber’s news bulletin released yesterday.
* Apparel industry needs strategic planning: ICCB:
The tragic incident of the Rana Plaza collapse has put Bangladesh apparel industry in a very dire situation for the irresponsible action of both factory and building owner and such failure must be tried quickly according to law and should act as a deterrent, said a leading chamber on Wednesday.
“Therefore, the four main stakeholders – the government, suppliers, buyers and workers – must work together to develop a long-term implementable strategy to realize the potentials of Bangladesh’s readymade-garments market,” according to the editorial of the current ICCB News Bulletin (April-June 2013 issue) of International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICCB).
The owners and the government, on the other hand, may consider setting up a foundation to provide support to the garment workers and their children for education, health care including the victims who are otherwise incapable of earning their living, it said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Not enough protection for workers in new labour law:
Labour leaders, groups and human rights organisations have come down hard on the newly amended labour law.
Although the amended law accommodated some improvements, they said it still fell far short of ensuring enough safeguards for the workers, recommending the donors and international investors to press the government to make further changes.
On Monday, parliament passed the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill 2013 keeping provisions for allowing trade unionism in factories without the owner’s permission, ensuring safety measures for workers, introducing compulsory group insurance and stopping children from being involved in hazardous work.
While welcoming the amendments, Kalpana Akter, a leader of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, observed that there was still scope for the factory owners to harass the workers.
“The bureaucratic process to form trade unions is lengthy and cumbersome and workers will not dare to form unions out of fear of losing jobs,” Kalpana told the Dhaka Tribune.
“The bottom line is that most of the legislators are factory owners. Quite naturally, the changes brought in the labour law will protect more of their interests than those of the workers,” she said.
* Labour law 2013: many steps backwards:
Rights groups argue that the country has taken numerous steps backwards with the labour law 2013, although it is often billed as a landmark.
“This would be good news if the new law fully met international standards, but the sad reality is that the government has consciously limited basic workers’ rights while exposing them to continued risks and exploitation,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group, told The New York Times.
Although the new law is said to offer workers the full freedom to organise, the reality is far from it, said Nazrul Islam Khan, president of Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, the labour wing of the opposition party BNP.
“The amended labour is not worker friendly as it will favour the owners only,” he said, adding that the government did not take into consideration the suggestions made of the labour leaders.
Take, for instance, the 10 percent threshold for signatories to form a trade union that they advocated for, to facilitate unionising.
* Ticfa up in the air:
The signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) with the US is still uncertain as the government is yet to decide on a date to ink the deal.
“Ticfa is a dead issue. The cabinet just approved it ahead of the US government’s verdict on GSP [Generalised System of Preferences] thinking it might have an impact,” a senior government official said yesterday.
Although the US has been informed immediately via a written letter about the cabinet’s approval to Ticfa, a timeframe for signing the deal was not specified, the official said.
06:48:08 local time INDIA
* Labour department issues warning to 12 organizations for not following women safety measures:
Finally, the labour department has taken action against multinational companies and call centres for flouting women’s safety and security related norms.
All 12 erring organizations have been issued challans and have been told that strict action will be initiated if they fail to take corrective measures. The organizations have been told to explain about the loopholes and take corrective measures within a stipulated period of time, failing which action will initiated against them.
After conducting drives and surprise checks for 15 days, the department found many irregularities in several organizations. A report in this regard was submitted to the senior officials, on the basis of which, the warning was taken against the organizations.
* Handloom weavers stage demonstration:
Handloom weavers, affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), came out to the streets at Kangayam, near here, on Wednesday in protest against the recent reduction in the job work charges and the delays in disbursal of bank loans to them.
K. Thiruvenkatasamy, district vice-president of CITU, told reporters that it was not correct to reduce the job work charges of weavers, which is given on a piece rate basis by the entrepreneurs who supply raw materials to them and then source the fabrics produced as an end product, just because the Union Government had raised the import duty of raw silk.
* Govt working on work spaces, skill dev for apparel sector:
* Minister urges exporters to gain from China’s fading interest in garment sector:
Textile minister KS Rao on Monday asked the industry to aggressively cash in on China’s recent focus to move away from labour-intensive sectors, including garments, and boost apparel exports beyond the target to reach $20 billion in the current fiscal.
He promised all sorts of assistance, including a relook at stringent labour laws, to boost garment production as well as exports in the country. “Apparel exporters have told me they can increase their exports to $17.5 billion in the current fiscal.
You assure me that you are going to increase the exports — not to $17.5 billion this year, but to $20 billion… Whatever assistance will be required, I will talk to PM Manmohan Singh for the same,” Rao said.
* Go ‘BD’, flaunt branded shirts at half the price:
How about a Jack & Jones T-shirt for Rs 200? Or a Hugo Boss shirt at half
the price? Surprised? Locals call them the “BD” variety – the nickname
given to garments imported from Bangladesh. Truckloads of these, crossing
the borders, are making their way to city markets.
Be it Fancy Market in Kidderpore or New Market, garments imported from
Bangladesh through ‘legal routes’ have started flooding the city. The supply is likely to go up after the US government suspended Bangladesh from the Generalized System of Preferences, which means Bangladesh will lose much of its business there.
Sukalyan Roy, owner of Sarthik Enterprise, a garment importer, feels that
readymade garments from Bangladesh have already captured a sizeable section of the market in the state. “We sell both branded and non-branded garments imported from Bangladesh, where garments of almost all brands are manufactured. If there is an export reject, they send it to India,” Roy said. “Prices are much lower for the imported garments,” he said. “For example, a Jack & Jones T-shirt imported from European countries may be priced at Rs 700-750 in Kolkata markets. But the same thing from Bangladesh is available for Rs 200,” he added.
* New schemes boon for powerloom sector:
Modernization and upgradation of powerloom machines in the country’s
man-made fibre (MMF) hub is all set to get a major boost with the launch
of the venture capital fund and the hire-purchase pilot schemes by the
central government. The schemes are aimed at increasing the credit flow in
Invitee member of All India Powerloom Board Arun Jariwala said that an
umbrella trust will be set up by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) which will be registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to carry out activities of a venture capital fund.
Tex-Venture Capital Fund is aimed at providing equity investment to micro and small enterprises sector in the textile industry. The venture funding of MSE in the textile industry will boost innovation in the industry by creation of brands, generation of intellectual property, increased bank financing to industry etc.
* ‘Price stabilisation fund can help change cotton scenario’:
The Prime Minister wants 30 per cent increase in textile exports this fiscal. But, it may not be an easy task, as the textile sector faces multiple challenges including steep fluctuations in raw material pricing, outdated technology, and inflexible labour laws.
However, the newly appointed Minister for Textiles Kavuru Sambasiva Rao is confident of meeting the target and has his task clearly cut out. He shares with Business Line priorities in the coming month. Excerpts:
What is the idea behind the proposed cotton price stabilisation fund?
Unless cotton growers get remunerative prices, there will always be instability in the textile market. Unfortunately, cotton price is internationally dictated leading to caretlisation among multinationals and large-scale businessmen. They also hoard. A price stabilisation fund can help change the situation.
06:48:08 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka govt rules out reapplying for European Union trade concessions:
Sri Lanka will not reapply for trade concessions from the European Union under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a top government official said here on Wednesday.
The European Union canceled the GSP plus facility given to Sri Lanka in 2010 because the government declined to implement its recommendations to strengthen good governance and reconciliation after the end of a three decade war in 2009.
Under the GSP plus, Sri Lankan exporters enjoyed preferential access to the EU market, which resulted in a boom in the apparel industry, which is Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earner next to remittances.
With the loss of this facility, critics say exporters have been unable to compete with countries such as Bangladesh that enjoy this trade facility in the EU and have resulted in the closure of dozens of factories.
06:18:08 local time PAKISTAN
* Gas, power supply to textile industry heavily reduced:
Energy supply to the textile industry in Punjab has been reduced heavily both by the Pepco and the SNGPL since January 2013, bringing down the growth of textile exports to 4.6 percent against 30.6 percent in India, 19.2 percent in China and 12.0 percent in Bangladesh on an average per year for the period 2005-11.
According to the data available with Business Recorder, electricity loadshedding has increased to 10 hours a day in July 2013 with power generation of 15000MW against 6 hours a day in July 2012 with power generation of 13500MW and 4 hours a day in July 2011 with power generation of 12700MW.
* SACTWU settles significant wage negotiations in sheltered employment! :
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has settled its 2013 round of wage negotiations for the Sheltered Employment Sector.
It is a significant 21% total package agreement, reached in negotiations with the Department of Labour (the employers in this instance).
The settlement covers a wage increase, improvements in employer retirement fund contribution levels, the introduction of a housing allowance and some important trade union organisational rights advances.
The details include a 6% wage increase , a 1% increase in employer contributions towards the provident fund, housing allowance of R300 per month for factory workers, an implementation of medical aid employer contribution for factory workers and an additional 5 cent per week per employee increase in employer contributions towards the SACTWU Worker Health Project’s HIV and Aids awareness campaign. The agreement will be implemented at the end of this month.