11:17:34 local time CHINA
* Struggling textile industry gets boost from govt:
The second half of the year will be more difficult for the Chinese textile industry because of rising labor costs and slugging international demand, said a senior government official.
The industry is also plagued by a wide gap between domestic and imported cotton prices, said Zhu Hongren, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at a forum on Wednesday.
The ministry will support the industry through a series of measures, including encouraging innovation in high-end textile manufacturing, cutting outdated production methods and supporting growth in the sectors of dyeing and chemical fibers.
* Sportswear companies close stores amid slump:
Six of China’s leading domestic sportswear companies, including Li-Ning Co and Anta Sports Products, have closed 2,249 outlets in total in the first half of this year, amid a saturated market and competition from fast fashion companies, experts said Thursday.
Beijing-based China Dongxiang (Group) Co closed 611 Kappa brand retail outlets in the first half of this year, the highest number of closures among the six companies, according to the firms’ half-year earnings report.
Also, 361 Degrees International Ltd closed 601 retail outlets, while Li Ning Co shut down 410 stores, according to the companies’ first half reports.
11:17:34 local time PHILIPPINES
* Garments industry hopes to regain 150,000 jobs:
The garments industry is pinning its hopes on several projects meant to regain at least a quarter of jobs lost in the past six to seven years, the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines said over the weekend.
In its statement, the FOBAP explained that it is seeking funding support from the government to implement three projects aimed to revive the garments industry.
The three projects include a proposed industry mapping for garments and hard goods, the initiation of compliance programs for factories, as well as an “invite the CEO” project.
The group said the projects are important “so the big buyer companies with big quantities and buying programs will place orders, if not, the factories can just settle with the small quantity buyers which usually have lower buying prices.”
* Gov’t support sought for garments, hardgoods sectors:
The Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (Fobap) is seeking some funding from the government to support the implementation of three projects costing around P5 million crucial for reviving the garments and hardgoods industries in the country.
Fobap president Robert Young said these include the industry mapping for garments and hardgoods sectors, the compliance program and “invite the CEO (chief executive officer)” project.
Young explained that factories need to be compliant in implementing requirements and regulations such of child labor, clean and safe environment and minimum wage.
10:17:34 local time VIET NAM
* Footwear exporters urged to make more of opportunities:
Vietnamese leather and footwear exporters must become more competitive to capitalise on a shift in demand from China to Viet Nam, advised experts from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
They were addressing recent increases in orders made with Vietnamese producers from countries such as Japan, amid negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The ministry experts said foreign importers were shifting orders of leather and footwear products from China to Viet Nam, urging Vietnamese companies to improve their competitiveness on the global market.
Viet Nam is finalising its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and is negotiating free trade agreements with countries in the European Union to attract further investment to the leather and footwear industry.
* Quang Ninh, China’s Texhong strike cooperation deal:
The northern province of Quang Ninh and China’s Texhong Textile Group signed an investment cooperation deal in the city on August 28.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Doc pledged the provision of all possible support for the group to kick-start projects in the locality.
He said Quang Ninh considers Texhong Textile Group as its strategic investor.
Chairman of Texhong Textile Group Hong Tianzhu, on his part, noted that the province’s support has made foreign investors, especially Texhong, more confident in doing business in the locality.
Last year, Texhong started construction on a 300 million USD fiber plant in Hai Yen industrial zone, Mong Cai city. Once completed by 2017, it is expected to generate jobs for 4,500 local people.-VNA
10:17:34 local time CAMBODIA
* Unionists remain in hospital:
Blinded, bloodied and barely conscious, two unionists who were nearly beaten to death after passing out pro-union literature in front of a Phnom Penh garment factory remained in their hospital beds yesterday, awaiting a possible transferral to Vietnam.
“I am very worried about them because they seemed to have lost memory and one of them may lose an eye,” Sam Soeun, president of the Union Federation for Labour Rights, said, standing beside his near-comatose brother at Calmette Hospital.
The vicious attack in front of Dayup Global Co Ltd on Monday left Sam Visor, Soen’s 25-year-old brother, and Loy Socheat, a 37-year-old Khmer Workers Union Federation officer, unconscious and vomiting blood.
Both men may have to be sent to Vietnam to receive the advanced medical care necessary to treat their injuries, a doctor said.
According to Soeun, the attack on 10 unionists representing four different unions came without provocation. The men stood outside Dayup’s factory gates, passing out pamphlets detailing workers’ rights in Cambodia, Lay said, and were accosted by about 40 men from the factory bearing pipes and sticks.
* SL strikers go back to work today:
Thousands of striking garment workers are set to return to work today, as more than two weeks of demonstrations at one of Asia’s largest garment factories come to a close.
Meas Sotha, a shareholder at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd, and Kong Athit, vice president of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which represents SL employees, yesterday confirmed that the 6,000 workers intended to return to their posts.
Striking began on August 12, as workers demanded that SL remove military police standing guard inside the factory and cut all ties with Sotha, the man who hired them.
The workers’ return to work comes after a meeting between C.CAWDU, SL management and the Phnom Penh municipal government, during which government officials ordered SL to cut ties with Sotha, Athit said.
Sotha yesterday evening said he had not received any information about his alleged dismissal. Officials from City Hall could not be reached.
11:17:34 local time INDONESIA
* Five Labor-Intensive Industries to Enjoy Tax Relief:
The Finance Ministry will soon ratify the regulations in tax postponement and tax payment relief for labor-intensive industries. “They’re already at the stage of finalization, hopefully it will be done today,” Finance Deputy Minister Mahendra Siregar said yesterday, Tuesday, August 27, 2013.
On Monday, Mahendra said, Finance Minister Chatib Basri consulted the House’s Finance Commission to pinpoint the industries receiving the tax relief. “It’s been agreed, five labor-intensive industries would enjoy the tax relief: textile, garment, footwear, toy, and furniture,” he said.
The tax relief for the five industries includes the postponement of income tax payment of 25 percent each month and up to 50 percent for export-oriented industries. The second incentive is postponement of tax payment until April next year.
09:17:34 local time BANGLADESH
* Rules within three months to implement labour law:
The government will formulate necessary rules within the next three months aiming at implementing the country’s labour law, officials said.
The Bangladesh Labour Act of 2006 still lacks the required rules even though the Act was passed a couple of years back, they said adding the labour law was amended on three occasions with the latest change taking place in 2013.
“We will formulate the rules on the labour law that will describe its details for its smooth implementation,” Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE recently.
He said the ministry is working to formulate the rules within the shortest possible time.
* Govt to formulate rules to implement labour act:
The government is formulating rules and regulations for proper implementation of the newly passed Bangladesh Labour Act-2013.
To finalise the rules and regulations under the labour act within three months, the government formed two separate committees recently, labour ministry officials said.
Parliament passed the amended labour law on July 15 in the face of domestic and international pressure following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building on April 24, which killed more than 1,100 garment factory workers.
In 2009, the government initiated a process to amend the Bangladesh Labour Act-2006 following the demands mainly from the labour unions to make it consistent with the ILO Convention which was ratified by Bangladesh. The new labour law is also being criticised by labour leaders and right activists.
‘To ensure proper implementation of the new labour law we are formulating the rules and regulations very carefully and we have already urged the International Labour Organisation for technical support,’ joint secretary (Labour) Md Faizur Rahman told New Age on Thursday.
He said that two committees, one is rules and regulations formulating committee led by the labour secretary Mikail Shipar and another five-member working group led by the deputy secretary Md Aminul Islam have been working on the matter.
* Bringing EPZ under Labour Law: International working group to be formed:
Introducing Labour Law in the EPZs is one of the main conditions set by the US government in its Action Plan to reinstate GSP
An international working group will be formed to introduce Labour Law in the Export Processing Zones of Bangladesh under the US Action Plan, said official sources.
Earlier, the Plan asked to form a working group and now the word “international” has been included.
Introducing Labour Law in the EPZs is one of the main conditions set by the US government in its Action Plan to reinstate GSP.
Of the 16-point US Action Plan, Bangladesh government is working now to implement 12 points first including the introduction of Labour Law in the Export Processing Zones, said official sources.
A Cabinet Committee on Readymade Garment will review progress of implementation works at its meeting on Sunday, sad the sources.
According to the official sources, the commerce ministry has already identified some lack of coordination among the government agencies in implementing the Action Plan. The meeting will hold discussion to remove such lack of coordination.
There is still a shortage of inspectors for factories in the country. As per the Action, a number of 200 inspectors require to be appointed as one of the main conditions set by the US government to reinstate GSP by December. But only 35 inspectors have currently appointed by the Labour Ministry under a project.
* Mediation Centre in RMG sector stressed:
Speakers at a workshop underscored the need for more discussions on forming an independent mediation centre to settle industrial disputes in the RMG sector for its sustainable development.
A Bangladesh-Germany joint project, being implemented by GIZ, organised the half-day workshop on “Assessing Feasibility of a National Dispute Settlement Centre for the Readymade Garment (RMG) Sector” held at a city hotel Monday.
Main objectives of this proposed settlement centre are to act as a pilot concept, on a national level, to serve as an intervention to resolve labour disputes, provide pro-active legal advisory services and support the workers and management in resolving industrial conflicts, said a press release.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit or German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the joint project, “Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES).”
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* WB for exploring new markets, improving workers’ welfare :
The World Bank (WB) has suggested exploring new markets and products, improving workers’ and consumers’ welfare and building a supportive environment for sustainability to hasten export growth.
The suggestion was made in the draft report of Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS), carried out as a part of Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
The WB also called for improving workers and consumers’ welfare by improving their skills and literacy, implementing labour and work safety guidelines, and making safety nets more effective in dealing with trade shocks.
* Workers go on rampage over cell phone restriction:
At least ten apparels workers, including a security guard of a garments factory, received injuries in a clash at Hijal Hati area under Kaliakair upazila in Gazipur district Thursday.
The agitated workers ransacked the Southern Knitwear factory. To avert any untoward incidents at the factory, authorities announced a holiday on Thursday.
Witnesses said the clash ensued when security guards of the factory forcibly resisted workers from entering the factory with cell phone sets, at about 9.00am.
Resisted, angry workers started to ransack the factory and a pickup van that was parked in the factory premises.
Around 1200 workers work at the factory.
Engineer M A Based, the managing director of the factory said, this is a minor incident. ‘We will solve the issue through discussion with workers soon.’
Inspector Kabir Hossain of Gazipur Industrial police confirmed the incident took place centering on allowing cell phones inside the factory.
Additional police were deployed to avert any unexpected incident, he said.
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* Wal-Mart to brief shareholders on BD:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -0.66% is planning to respond to questions from investors over its sourcing practices in Bangladesh during a briefing on Thursday, indicating that its shareholders have some concerns about a series of deadly disasters at overseas garment factories that make clothes for Wal-Mart and other Western retailers.
“We continue to receive questions about our company`s position on sourcing and specifically on the situation in Bangladesh,” Wal-Mart Vice President of Global Investor Relations Carol Schumacher said in an email to investors reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “Our goal is to provide an update on this area of the business and to give you the opportunity to ask questions.”
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* Walmart ready to loan $50 million to Bangladesh factories:
Walmart Stores Inc told investors on Thursday that it could provide up to $50 million in low-interest loans or other types of payments to Bangladesh factory owners for building improvements.
The money is part of the more than $100 million in loans and access to capital that a group of North American companies including Walmart and Gap Inc pledged in July. The Bangladesh central bank would need to approve any foreign currency loan. Details about lending rates also need to be finalized.
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* Sewing machines distributed:
A sewing machine distribution programme was held at Baniachong upazila of Habiganj district under the auspices of Habiganj Ladies Club recently.
The swing machines were distributed among the poor women of the upazila. Presided over by President of Habiganj Ladies Club, Sutpa Majumder, the distribution function was addressed by the Deputy Commissioner of Habiganj Manindra Kishore Majumder as chief guest.
Poor women received sewing machines while meritorious students of Baniachong upazila were accorded reception at the programme.A total of 47 students received gifts from the authority of Ladies Club. The members of Habiganj Ladies Club and officers of different departments were present on the occasion.
08:17:34 local time PAKISTAN
* Sleepless nights for powerloom workers:
Powerloom workers say hours-long outages and increase in the electricity prices are creating financial problems and the sector is on the verge of collapse.
The Labour Qaumi Movement, an association of powerloom workers, Secretary-General Aslam Miraj, Baba Abdul Lateef, Alam Jutt, Rana Tahir and others met here on Wednesday to discuss the current situation the workers and the industry are facing.
They said the rulers were following in the footsteps of the previous government and failed to control electricity loadshedding.
They said the sense of insecurity was increasing among the labourers as factories were facing 15 to 18 hours power outages daily. The situation had left hundreds of workers jobless and rulers instead of providing relief to the sector increased the prices of electricity.
They said a meeting of the LQM divisional office-bearers had been convened today (Thursday) to devise a plan to launch a protest movement against the government.
read more. & read more.
* APTMA hails chief minister for energy management plan:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership called on Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday and appreciated the energy management plan of Chief Minister Punjab to take textile industry out of crisis. Group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz led the delegation.
Central Chairman Ahsan Bashir and Chairman Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan were also present on the occasion. Presenting the industry’s viewpoint on energy security and affordability matters, APTMA group leader Gohar Ejaz appreciated the dynamic visionary approach of the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to resolve energy crisis.
* 12,000 Turkish textile workers win:
IndustriALL Global Union is celebrating the victory of its Turkish affiliate Teksif. The union led 12,000 workers on a nine-day strike from 15 August. The successful strike has achieved the workers’ demands.
The Textile, Knitting and Clothing Industry Workers’ Union, Teksif, led the united strike from 15 August after sectorial level negotiations with the Turkish Textile Employers’ Federation failed. The previous agreement expired on 1 April 2013.
The new collective agreement will be valid for three years as of 1 April 2013. Here are some details:
Wage increase: It was agreed that wages will be increased with the following formula over the periods of six months: 2013/1 5%; 2013/2 3%; 2014/1 3%; 2014/4 4%; 2015/1 3%; 2015/2 4%. If inflation exceeds these percentages, wage increases will be complemented.
Bonuses: The union’s demand for bonuses with an amount of 120-day salary per year was accepted by the employers. This represents an increase from the prior bonus equal to a 72-day salary period. For new employees, the bonus will be 96-day for the first year of employment while it is agreed to make it 108-day in the second and 120-day in the third.
Overtime payments: It was agreed that overtime payments will be doubled (100% more) for work in weekdays, tripled (200% more) on weekends and four times (300% more) on bank holidays. If a worker is asked to work on a weekend, he or she will be given one extra holiday in the following week.
* Unions plan to take global action on 7 October:
October 7 is fast approaching and already many IndustriALL Global Union affiliates are preparing to take action in support of the global IndustriALL campaign to STOP Precarious Work.
IndustriALL is calling on all affiliates to join the global action and put the full force of IndustriALL’s global strength behind the fight against precarious work.
In Europe, IndustriAll European Trade Union has sent a message to its affiliates urging them to mobilize their members as part of the global action, pointing out that precarious employment continues to spread both in Europe and throughout the globe and that campaigning jointly and in solidarity can only serve to increase the effect of our actions further.