20:47:30 local time CHINA
* China’s sportswear industry poised to end losing streak:
China’s home-grown sportswear industry is finally showing signs of recovery after nearly two years of massive oversupply, and industry watchers are betting that ANTA Sports Products will be first out of the blocks.
ANTA, the country’s largest sportswear company by market capitalisation, cheered investors on Tuesday when it said the value of its order book grew for the first time in six quarters and its earnings beat expectations.
“The dawn is coming. We expect to see a turnaround story next year, while more clues will be seen in the second half,” said Elyse Wang, retail analyst at Haitong Research based in China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen.
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* Stagnating PX production may affect Chinese textile firms:
20:47:30 local time PHILIPPINES
* ‘Heartless, despicable,’ workers say of Ecop, JFC rejection of petition for P85 wage hike:
The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) on Wednesday described as “heartless and despicable” the rejection of the group’s petition for an P85 wage increase for minimum-wage earners in Metro Manila by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC).
The group issued the statement as it prepares to make a last ditch attempt to push for the wage-increase petition at the final public consultation scheduled on Thursday at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City.
“The statement of the Ecop and the JFC calling for the wage board to dismiss outright the P85 wage-increase petition of the TUCP by utterly ignoring the realities surrounding it is heartless and despicable,” Gerard R. Seno, executive vice president of ALU-TUCP said.
* NCR wage board sure to give crumbs to workers – KMU:
Holding a protest near the meeting of the Metro Manila wage board at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said the wage board’s meeting is sure to result in the granting of mere “crumbs” to workers.
KMU said the wage boards’ record since these were created in 1989 shows that these are incapable of granting a significant wage hike, such as the P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide that workers have been clamoring for.
The labor center said it is Congress and the Senate which should hear calls for a wage hike, not the country’s regional wage boards, so as to bring the NCR minimum wage closer to the Family Living Wage in the region, currently estimated to be at P1,033 by Ibon Foundation.
19:47:30 local time VIET NAM
* Enterprises informed of latest EU regulations:
A seminar was held on Tuesday in the southern province of Dong Nai to discuss the principles of ‘origins’ in free trade agreements (FTA) and the new Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) the European Union has adopted.
During the seminar entitled “Rules of Origin in FTAs and new EU laws,” which was co-organised by Dong Nai Province’s Department of Industry and Trade and the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP), businesses and Governmental agencies were updated with the latest information in the field.
They also learned about the regulations on origin and issuing certificates of origin which would help them make full use of the new GSP and promote their exports further to the EU market.
19:47:30 local time CAMBODIA
* Fearful workers urged to stay:
Key players in all quarters of the garment industry have expressed concerns that workers, fearing a violent election-related conflict, may leave work and return to their home provinces after their next pay cheque.
In a statement, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) joined the government this week in urging workers who have remained home since the July 28 election to return to work – and those who did come back to remain in Phnom Penh.
“People may leave in the next few days after they are paid,” said Kong Athit, C.CAWDU’s vice-president, in the statement. “According to the situation, nobody can tell what’s going to happen [politically], but we estimate it’s not going to be too serious.”
When Phnom Penh garment factories – which were required by the Ministry of Labour to allow workers three days to return to their home provinces to vote – reopened their doors on July 30, several reported workers not returning. Some of the workers told the Post they decided or were told by family members to stay home after hearing rumours of armed military officers on every corner and mass rioting.
18:32:30 local time NEPAL
* Industrial shut down continues:
Production at some 14 industries based in the Bara-Parsa industrial corridor was halted for the second consecutive day on Wednesday as well due to the strike by workers who have been demanding for an increment in salary at all levels.
The industries were brought to a complete halt by workers of Bara, Parsa and Rautahat districts aligned to the Joint Trade Union Coordination Committee. The agitating workers have warned to continue the shut down until their demands are addressed.
The government had decided to hike the salary of low-paid workers from a minimum of Rs 6200 to Rs 8000 on June 10, effective from this fiscal. Following the government’s decision to increase the remuneration of only a certain group of workers, other workers have come up with a series of protests demanding the salary hike to be applicable at all levels.
18:47:30 local time BANGLADESH
* 30 injured as RMG workers stage demos:
At least 30 people were injured after alleged henchman of the factory owner cracked down on their demonstration
Agitated garment workers staged demonstrations and vandalised a factory in Ashulia yesterday to press home their demand for their salaries from July and Eid bonuses.
At least 30 people were injured after alleged henchman of the factory owner cracked down on their demonstration.
Abdus Sattar, an official of the Ashulia industrial police, said the incident occurred around 9am, in the Sadupara area of the region, when workers of Landmark Group began demonstrating in front of the factory to demand their dues.
At one stage, the demonstrators went haywire and smashed doors and wndowpanes of the factory. Later, police brought the situation under control, he added.
The workers alleged that the factory had paid the salaries of a few workers but the salaries of some 8,000 other workers remained unpaid. They also said 30 of their fellow demonstrators were injured as “paid henchmen” of the factory owner attacked them.
* Garment Worker Issues:
Unrest among the factory workers of a subcontracting factory in the streets of Mirpur 1 follows on the eve of Eid since the last three days due to unpaid wages, overtime payment and festival bonus.
The owner of SR Corporations Limited, Mirpur 1, allegedly held off paying his employees their deserved wages, overtime payment and Eid bonus. SR Corporations is subcontracted by Doreen Garments, which currently manufactures shirts for leading western brands.
The owner of SR Corporations, Mr. Raihan, had been fleeing his responsibilities since the last three days. Mr. Raihan had terminated the employment of a manager who worked for him. The manager, demanded his payment on termination which was BDT 5,45,808. The owner only paid BDT 35,000 and told him to leave the factory premises.
* Fast Retailing signs Europe-led Bangladesh fire and safety accord:
Fast Retailing Co Ltd, Asia’s biggest retailer and operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, said on Thursday it had signed a Europe-led safety pact for Bangladesh garment factories after a building collapse in April killed more than 1,100 people.
A spokesman for the Japanese firm said the company had taken several months to join the accord – already signed by European clothing companies H&M and Zara operator Inditex SA- because it wanted to thoroughly consider the pact’s conditions.
“Our reason is quite simple – our priority is to work across the industry to improve conditions for the workers in Bangladesh, so we just wanted to join in,” said Aldo Liquori, a spokesman for the firm in Tokyo.
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* Owner of Japan’s Uniqlo signs safety pact for Bangladesh:
The owner of Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo announced Thursday it has signed up to a safety pact covering Bangladesh’s disaster-hit garment factories, following criticism of its delay in doing so, AFP reported.
Fast Retailing said in a statement it has signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Last month 70 top retailers promised to open their Bangladesh factories to safety inspections within nine months as part of the accord.
The mainly European brands will underwrite repairs and renovations if inspections reveal their factories to be unsafe, according to the legally binding agreement.
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* Asia’s largest clothing retailer signs Bangladesh Safety Accord:
Huge breakthrough for workers as Fast Retailing Co. Ltd – owners of UNIQLO – signs up
UNI Global Union is celebrating a huge breakthrough for workers today after Fast Retailing, Asia’s largest clothing retailer, became the latest big name to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord.
The Japanese company, owner of the popular clothing brand Uniqlo, joins a list of more than eighty global brands to have signed the Accord, which was created following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April that killed more than 1,100 people.
* July exports robust despite industry disaster:
The country’s export earnings posted a robust rise of about 24% to around US$3bn in July, belying the apprehension that the untoward incidents in the apparel industry in the previous months would badly affect the shipments.
The earnings in the first month of the current fiscal year was driven by exports of ready-made garments (RMG) also overpowering the political turmoil. The exports grew 24% as compared to $2.4bn of the same month previous fiscal (2011-12), according to Export Promotion Bureau figures.
An export target of $30.5bn has been set for the current financial year (2013-14) as compared to $27bn earned during the last fiscal year.
“We feel very proud on the export growth as the country maintained it despite all odds like political and labour unrests,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporters’ Association of Bangladesh (EAB).
“If the political and labour situation remains under control, the exports would experience further growth in the upcoming months.”
The export of knitwear garments grew by over 25% to $1.25bn and woven garments by 27% to $1.26bn in the last month. Both the items also witnessed rise in exports in the last fiscal year with nearly 15% for woven totaling more than $11bn and 10% for knitwear amounting to $10.5bn.
* Dhaka waits for TICFA signing with Washington:
Dhaka wants to make the best use of the singing ceremony of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement with Washington to bolster the country’s ties with the USA, officials said.
The foreign ministry officials are trying to complete the signing of the much-talked-about deal next month in Washington coinciding with prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New York to attend the UN general assembly session.
Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit America to take part in the UN general assembly in New York on September 23-27.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Another Rana Plaza worker dies:
Manowar, an injured worker of Rana Plaza, who had been fighting for live in a Savar hospital, died on Thursday morning.
Manowar, 18, had been in coma for more than 100 days after the devastating collapse of Rana Plaza, hospital sources said.
He died at about 8:45am in the ICU of Enam Medical College, the hospital management sources said.
His body was taken to Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur district, following completion of official procedures.
Manowar had sustained brain injury. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on April 24.
The tragic collapse of eight-storey Rana Plaza left at least 1,131 people dead so far.
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18:17:30 local time INDIA
* ‘Protect rights of girls in camp labour’:
Ending the camp labour scheme, euphemistically known as Sumangali Scheme, prevalent in the textile units in Tirupur and elsewhere that involves deployment of girls as workers must be pursued as a priority.
The State government and its agencies must ensure that the rights of girls are not violated in camp labour as the first step towards eradicating the menace, speakers at the regional conference to stop Sumangali camp labour scheme in textile and garment industry held here on Thursday said.
A resolution passed at the conference called upon the State government to ban Sumangali Scheme as it was a form of bonded labour, forced labour, and child labour involving girls below the age of 18 and in some cases even those below the age of 15.
* Indian Govt puts serious effort to promote handloom sector:
The handloom industry is one of the industries which uses labour intensive techniques. The total number of people currently employed in this sector/industry is 43.32 lakhs as per the census of 2009-10.
Handloom weaving constitutes one of the richest and most vibrant aspects of Indian cultural heritage, hence Ministry of Textiles GOI is making serious efforts to sustain and promote handloom sector in different parts of the country.
* Farmers demand hoisting of non-Bt cotton flag on Independence Day:
Hundreds of farmers and members of the GM free coalition symbolically gifted an Indian flag made of organic cotton to the prime minister on Thursday.
The flag, they said is a symbol of their resistance to Bt cotton, a genetically modified variety that has taken over India’s cotton production. They urged the PM to unfurl the organic cotton flag instead of a Bt cotton flag this Independence Day.
The unique protest was primarily against the controversial Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill, which has a number of clauses that may “facilitate fast track entry of GMOs in agriculture” according to activists. Right to Information (RTI) activists are also opposing the bill has a clause for ‘confidential commercial information’ that cannot be revealed even under RTI.
* Cotton harvest in India may reach a new high to record on higher planting:
Cotton production in India, the world’s second-biggest exporter, will climb to a record as above-average monsoon rainfall increased planting, Agricu-lture Minister Sharad Pawar said.
“The growing areas have received very good rains,” Pawar said in an interview yesterday. “Excessive rains in some areas will not impact the total output. Production should reach a record.” The harvest was the highest ever at 35.2 million bales (1 bale=170 kg) in 2011-2012, according to agriculture ministry data. Production was 34 million bales in 2012-2013.
* You have quit Europe, now quit India, farmers tell Monsanto:
“Cotton and the cloth made from indigenous cotton are a symbol of our freedom struggle”
Close on the heels of transnational seed company Monsanto abandoning its programme for development of genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe last month, there are growing calls for the company to do the same in India.
Its decision to withdraw all applications to grow GMO crops in Europe came in the face of strong opposition to the technology that was hurting its commercial interests.
“Monsanto, Quit India” and “Centre, reject Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill” were the demands raised by thousands of farmers and activists from across 20 States at a demonstration here on the eve of “Quit India” movement.
* Weavers’ suicides rock Sircilla:
The power loom weavers of Sircilla textile town in Karimnagar district, who are yet to recover from the burden of FSA (Fuel Surcharge Adjustments), are now reeling under the crisis of unemployment and closure of power looms with traders stopping the supply of raw material following the escalation of polyster yarn cost.
Due to the high cost of polyster yarn and increase in the production cost following heavy power bills, traders have stopped supplying the required yarn for producing polyster fabric since the last fortnight. Traders said that they were incurring losses due to huge production costs.
There are around 34,000 power looms in Sircilla textile town. Among them, 15,000 power looms produce only polyster fabric providing employment to 8,000 odd weavers directly and indirectly. However, following the non-supply of polyster yarn, several hundreds of power looms have stopped producing cloth and others are also on their way to closure.
18:17:30 local time SRI LANKA
* Appeal: Justice for Weliweriya: Time for Indignation!:
A group of diplomats, intellectuals, lawyers, media personnel, artists and trade unionists have appealed for justice for the persons affected by the incident in Weliweriya last week.
“Popular mobilisation is never without reason. There is still time to awaken from our collective stupor and take our destiny into our own hands, to build a society in which we can all live together, as equals, in peace and harmony, enriched by our cultural differences, in a united Sri Lanka.
It is Time for Indignation! Let us take collective action to ensure respect for the rights and dignity for all!” the statement reads.
Following is the full text of the appeal:
* Police inaction caused mayhem in Weliweriya:
The tense situation in Weliweriya got aggravated as a result of the police not listening to the people in the area and not dealing with the public complaints received against a private company, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said.
In a statement released to the media Nanayakkara pointed out, the people are of the view that police have refrained from taking suitable action against the owner of the private company, although several complaints were made, as the owner is supposed to be a very powerful person.
“Even one complaint would have been sufficient had the police wanted to initiate action against the owner of the company,” he noted.
He added it was sad to note the responsible authorities have initiated necessary action to solve the problem of not having clear water to the people in Ratupaswala area, only after it reached a crisis situation.
“It should be investigated as to what action the District Developmental Committee and the Area Developmental Committee which meet on a monthly basis, had taken in respect of this problem,” he stated.
* Sri Lanka army slammed for killing protesters:
The Roman Catholic Church has accused the Sri Lankan army of shooting unarmed protesters and desecrating a church during demonstrations against water contamination.
In an unusually strongly worded statement on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Colombo condemned “unhesitatingly” the military shooting that killed three people and wounded more than 50 others in a village just outside the capital last Thursday.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith accused Sri Lanka’s army of violating the sanctity of St Anthony’s church, beating up people who rushed there to escape the army shooting.
“We wish to condemn unhesitatingly the attack that was carried out by some elements of the [armed] forces on people who had sought refuge at St Anthony’s church,” the archbishop said.
“Such actions cannot be accepted by anyone… We do not accept using one’s power in a repressive manner to suppress protests, even if they get out of hand.”
The military opened fire on Thursday on thousands of unarmed residents who were protesting against the contamination of their ground water supply, allegedly by chemical waste from a rubber glove factory.
* New regulations likely to boost Sri Lankan apparel exports:
* Trade union seeks Rs.5,000 wage rise from 2014 budget:
Trade unions are asking the government to propose a Rs.5,000 allowance for all private sector workers in the 2014 budget.
The Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) Anton Marcus has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the Special President Commission to decided on national policy for private and public sector wages which was first proposed in the 2013 Budget speech made in November 2012 be constituted within two weeks.
He further said that the European GSP Plus was still important for the future of the apparel sector. Marcus said the sector was now finding it extremely difficult to attract labour to fill vacancies, which increased from 15,000 three years ago to a staggering 40,000 now.
The EU has indicated their willingness to reconsider Sri Lanka for its GSP Plus and requested a tri-partite mechanism as a Budget proposal that would draw up a road map to ensure regaining of GSP Plus.
* The JAAF forecasts additional US$ 1 billion turnover:
It is a long-term strategic move with the objective of making Sri Lanka a Knowledge Based Economic Hub (KBEH) thus deviating from the existing traditional mode of manufacturing and supply.
The Joint Apparel Association Forum the Apex body which guides the destiny of the US$ 4 billion worth industry has been advocating for this move, Tuli Cooray Secretary-General of the JAAF emphasized.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance last week released a gazette notification titled Commercial Hub Regulation No: 1 of 2013, which will be applicable to all new enterprise established or incorporated in Sri Lanka.
Speaking of the apparel sector and the immense benefits the industry could accrue under this new regulation, Cooray said that the apparel sector alone would anticipate an additional foreign exchange turnover of US$ 1Billion (Rs.1320Million) by the year 2018. Based on the current scenario in international business climate the apparel sector has set itself a target of achieving US$5Billion in 2015 through garment exports. A further US$ 1 Billion is targeted from the emerging new market in China around that time, together will make the Apparel Sector worth nearly US$7 Billion before the end of 2020, he added.