10:44:15 local time VIET NAM
* Finance ministry’s salary cut proposal faces government opposition:
The Ministry of Finance’s proposal to cut the minimum wage by VND100,000 per month from January 2014, has encountered disagreement from the prime minister as well as many other government officials.
At the government’s regular meeting on September 29, Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung said by the end of September this year, total state budget revenues reached VND543.83 trillion (USD25.9 billion), equal to only 66.6% of the estimate.
He added that only 23 localities met the tax collection target, while the other 40 failed to do so, including many big cities like Hanoi, HCM City, Haiphong and Danang and Quang Ninh Province.
Therefore, to ensure the state budget revenue balance, the minister recommended some solutions, including the basic monthly salary reduction of VND100,000 from January 2014 to bring it back to the same level as it was before May 2013 VND 1.05 million.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said, “By the end of this December, the basic salary rise will have been active for seven months. Thus, it is unreasonable to cut the salary. I totally disagree with this solution.”
* On the job training refines basic laborers:
Vocational training has long been an issue of concern to businesses concerned with the quality and skills of workers, but it has lagged behind due to businesses not yet agreeing on a curriculum and the role of enterprises in the process. What is working now is the job training and placement model.
Long Bien Vocational College, a part of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group, was assigned the task of implementing job training and placements in 2010. In those three years the college trained 3,894 industrial sewing workers from Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, and Thanh Hoa provinces, with the employment rate after training reaching 95 percent.
Most graduates meet the requirements of large enterprises in terms of skills and professionalism.
10:44:15 local time THAILAND
* Workers to press for ILO pact ratifications:
Labour activists will step up pressure on the government to ratify two International Labour Organisation conventions ensuring workers’ rights to assemble and negotiate.
Chalee Loysung, chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, said labour groups have called for the ratification of ILO conventions 87 and 98 since 1992.
The 87th convention says workers and employers have the right to gather without seeking permission from the government, and that officials must refrain from intervening or limiting worker organisations’ rights to carry out such activities.
10:44:15 local time CAMBODIA
* SL’s future prospects look grim:
As the strike at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd edges toward its second month, observers on both sides of the issue said this week they fear management and the union may have reached an impasse that could shut the Singaporean factory’s doors for good.
More than 6,000 SL workers began walking off the job in August, after shareholder Meas Sotha hired armed military police to stand guard inside the factory, which the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) has called an effort to intimidate unionised workers – an allegation Sotha has denied.
Among other points, workers demanded a pay raise, $3 per day to subsidise their lunches and the dismissal of Sotha. Since the strike began, SL and C.CAWDU have engaged in several fruitless negotiation sessions facilitated by government officials.
* GMAC advises members on new policy of BFC monitoring:
“GMAC has been deeply involved with Better Factories Cambodia since its inception, both as a strategic partner, a constituent representing the interests of employers as well as contributing to the funding of this project. However, recent events pertaining to the approach taken by BFC to introduce a public disclosure program have raised doubts within GMAC if we are being treated as a true partner and given the respect that we deserve,” the statement said.
11:44:15 local time INDONESIA
* As Signing the Inpres, The President Wanted The Minimum Wages To Be Based On KHL, Productivity And Economic Growth:
In an effort to align the minimum wage policy with productivity and national economic growth, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) signed the President Instruction (inpres) Instruksi Presiden Nomor 9 Tahun 2013 on September 27th 2013 on the establishment of minimum wage policy in the context of business continuity and the increase of labours.
President instructed Coordinator Minister of Economy, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Industry, Head of National Police, Governors, Regents and Mayors, to coordinate and integrate in taking necessary actions according to their respective authority and functions in order to align the minimum wage policy with national economic growth and productivity considerations.
The aim is to establish business continuity and national industry growth, also to improve workforce welfare.
President SBY specifically instructed Menakertrans to define and enact the wage and national wage system development policy, with provisions such as follow:
1. Minimum wage is based on proper necessities of life (KHL), productivity and economic growth;
2. Minimum wage at province/regions/city level is directed to achieve KHL;
3. Province where the Minimum Wage is still under KHL, the wage increase would be distinguished between Intensive Creative Industry and others;
4. Province where the Minimum Wage achieves KHL or more, the wage increase would be set upon employer and workforce of the company.
10:14:15 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Govt, business leaders discuss Myanmar’s national export strategy:
Government ministers and private sector representatives met at a workshop on Tuesday to formulate a national export strategy (NES) aimed at boosting Myanmar’s trade and economic development.
The Deputy Minister for Commerce delivered the opening speech at the National Export Strategy for Myanmar workshop in Yangon where he outlined the plan.
“The national export strategy should comply with our national all-round plan. This is an important step towards the mainstreaming of trade and the country’s national development plans,” said Pwint San, Deputy Minister for Commerce.
The five-year export strategy will be developed in four stages: preliminary consultation, detailed discussion, designing the project and implementation, according to the deputy minister.
09:44:15 local time BANGLADESH
* Garments worker protest wages in Gazipur:
At one stage at noon, the workers came out from the factory and started a rally at the Dhaka-Gazipur road in front of the premises
Workers of a sweater factory in the Naljani area of Gazipur went on strike on Wednesday to demand the fixing of their production wages.
The employees of Odesa Fashion limited have been protesting since Tuesday, police said.
On Wednesday morning, the workers again started their protest and observed a strike. Later, they attended a meeting with the factory owners but it ended without a proper result.
At one stage at noon, the workers came out from the factory and started a rally at the Dhaka-Gazipur road in front of the premises. On information, police rushed in and moved the worker sfrom the road.
Later, the factory authority announced a holiday for the day.
Jahidul Islam, Officer In-charge of investigation of Joydebpur Police, said additional police were deployed at the area.
* RMG workers demonstrate for arrears in Ashulia:
Workers of two garment factories at Kumkumari Bazar in Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital, demonstrated at the factories yesterday demanding their arrears.
Ashulia Industrial Police said the workers of Maa Stitch Ltd and Noorzahan Fashion Ltd sought their arrears of August and September.
Although the authorities of the factories earlier assured them of paying it within October 1, they did not do so, police added.
Abdus Sattar, deputy assistant director of Ashulia Industrial Police, quoting Noorzahan Fashion authorities, said the management could not pay the arrears in time due to financial crisis.
He said the factory owner yesterday reassured them that they would pay it within October 15.
The workers said they would go for tougher movement if necessary.
Maa Stitch Managing Director Mohiuddin Ahmed could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
* 100-dollar dream teases RMG workers? :
On the industrial outskirts of Dhaka, which is dotted with big and small clothes factories, thousands of workers took to the streets demanding a minimum wage rise.
Last week, protestors blocked roads, set factories on fire and clashed with police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Some 200 apparel plants – which make clothing for some of the world’s top retailers such as H&M and Carrefour – had to remain closed for a week.
The last time the government raised the minimum wage for the garments sector was in 2010. Now the workers are demanding an increase from 3,000 taka (38 dollars) to 8,114 taka (100 dollars).
That is more or less the price that a pair of brand name jeans made in Bangladesh sell for after it reaches the shopping mall shelf in Warsaw or Berlin.
The employers agreed a 20 percent hike, increasing salaries to 3,600 taka or about 46 dollars. But most commentators considered the increase a mockery and this offer led to riots.
In Bangladesh the minimum wage is fixed for each sector separately.
The differences are substantial: transport workers or shop attendants get twice as much as the average wage for three million Bangladeshi garment makers.
The latter are at the bottom not just nationally, but globally. According to a study by the Japan External Trade Organisation released in December, only in Myanmar do garment workers earn less.
In neighbouring India their wages (in dollars) are twice as high as in Bangladesh, in China five times as high.
The minimum wage is theoretical, everyone takes overtime. IPS interviewed some women working as sewing machine operators who positioned their monthly earnings at 8,000 to 9,000 taka (about 102 to 115 dollars). Usually their workday stretches over 11 to 12 hours.
But raising the bottom threshold is important, because this means an increase for everyone.
According to trade union leader Masood Rana, the wage demands are partly a result of a growing awareness among the workers. After the hype over the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April that took the lives of 1,133 workers, workers began to realise how much Western consumers pay for clothes made by their hands.
* Over 100 worker fall sick in Ashulia:
At least 100 workers of a shoe factory fell sick after causing inhalation problem as toxic air spread from poisonous chemical at Durgapur of the industrial area on Wednesday noon.
The ailing workers were admitted to Ganashasthya Hospital and Women and Child care Hospital.
Local sources said that a worker was fainted after felling ordure spell in the air at the 4th floor of Durgapur Leatherex Footwear Industries Ltd. Around 12:00 noon and later, same incidents rapidly erupted in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor of the factory.
Meanwhile, the authority of the factory shut the operation to control the situation.
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* Proposal to upgrade factory inspection dept gets MoPA approval:
The ministry of public administration (MoPA) has endorsed approval the labour ministry’s proposal for upgrading the existing ‘factory and establishment inspection department’ to a full-fledged directorate with a 730-strong manpower, officials said.
The MoPA in a letter on September 23 last approved the proposal, under which a main office, along with 23 district offices, will be put in place in accordance with the organogram of the proposed directorate, they mentioned.
The labour ministry will send the proposal to the finance ministry this week, and later it is expected to go to the secretary-level committee for approval, they added.
The move for upgradation came up following the government’s commitment to recruit additional 200 factory inspectors by December next.
* JICA to help mend risky garment factories:
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide Taka 100 crore in loan for repairing risky buildings of garments factories to minimize accidents like Rana Plaza collapse.
Bangladesh Bank (BB), Public Works Department, JICA, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) will sign a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Thursday.
After the signing of MoU, the central bank will publish a circular for the commercial banks informing them about the fund and its utilization, said BB’s SME and Special Programmes Department General Manager Sukamal Sinha Choudhury.
“Only the owners of risky buildings will get the loan facility . . . the highest Tk 10 crore will be given to a owner,” he added.
Loan will be allocated on the basis of the inspection reports of the JICA representatives and first come, first served basis.
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* Draft of Apparel Board Act to be placed before cabinet today:
The draft of ‘Textile and Apparel Board Act, 2012’ is likely to be placed before the cabinet today for its approval, officials said.
Ministry of Textile and Jute (MoTJ) had prepared the draft which was delayed for a long time due to differences among the Board of Investment, MoTJ and other government agencies, they added.
“The draft Act is likely to be placed before the cabinet again Thursday for its nod,” a senior government official involved with the process told the FE Wednesday.
The main purpose of the Act is to form a board to provide one stop service to the country’s $21 billion garment industry, he said adding the board will work as a core authority under the ministry.
* GSP suspension to harm Bangladesh’s export: ADB:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) will have a negative impact on Bangladesh’s economy, suppressing its exports.
“US suspension of GSP is also likely to suppress exports, though garments are not covered by the scheme,” said Mohammad Zahid Hossain, Principal Economist of ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission.
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* Abuse of bonded warehouse facility :
The abuse of the bonded warehouse facility by a section of export-oriented apparel units is an old story.
There has been a growing suspicion that an unspecified volume of fabrics and goods, imported duty-free under the facility, is sold in an organised manner in the local markets.
The country’s largest cloth market at Islampur in old Dhaka bears testimony to that fact.
The wholesale cloth outlets there are overflowing with foreign fabrics, a substantial part of which is imported under the bonded warehouse facility. Trucks and covered vans carrying foreign fabrics imported for consumption by the export-oriented apparel units enter the area and unload the same for local consumption during the late hours of night.
Besides, some owners allegedly sell imported fabrics and other accessories to the local market from stocks at the factory sites.
* Tanners to get Tk6bn funding this year:
The state-owned commercial banks will provide Tk6bn in loans to the tannery owners to purchase raw hides during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, said official sources.
Of the amount, Sonali Bank will disburse Tk910m, Janata Bank Tk3.44bn, Rupali Bank Tk500m and Agrani Bank Tk1bn.
Last year, the figure was Tk3.65bn. The tanners wanted more supply of loans this year as the prices of hide have increased. “The government provided TK3.65bn for the hide traders last year. But we wanted more this year to meet the increased demand as prices of hides increased,” said Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) Chairman Md Shaheen Ahmed.
The BTA and Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association (BFLLGFEA) will hold today a joint meeting to set price of hides this year.
09:14:15 local time INDIA
* Indian child slaves being exploited to stitch rugby balls for use in Oz: Report:
Hundreds of Indian children are secretly employed to make balls for Australian children of the same age, pressed into harmful, backbreaking labour for a little more than one dollar a day, according to a report in the Australian media.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, an investigation revealed the balls discovered being stitched in India were identical in material, stitching, design and colour to those it bought in Australia.
The 13-digit barcode used by Summit Rugby league to identify the ball was the same in both countries, and several stitchers revealed the balls were being sent to Australia, the report said.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Media Release- Summit takes full responsiblity for the Failure of its Compliance Process:
As a company we have been shocked and angered to find that our compliance program has failed us in this instance as evidenced by the recent Fairfax investigation.’ Owner Wayne Rowlands states.
‘We use independent external auditors SGFI who monitor our suppliers and have provided us with documentation on an ongoing basis that confirms that our suppliers comply with all laws and regulations regarding work practises. We believe that the issue is when our suppliers allow work to be subcontracted outside of the factory in peak times’.
It is our belief that only a very small percentage of balls have been subcontracted, however any percentage is too much.
Our immediate steps have been to demand that our manufacturers do not allow any work to be done on our balls that is not within the walls of their factory. We are however conscious of the fact that this may impact the welfare of the subcontractors and the families that they employ to do the work for them. To overcome this issue we have requested that our manufacturers identify these families and look to offer them roles within the factory to ensure that they are not out of work.
* Indian Ministry prepares draft FR textiles standards:
* Annual general meeting of Madhya Pradesh Textile Mills Association held:
The Madhya Pradesh Textile Mills Association (MPTMA) is working for the development and expansion of textile industry in the state for last 81 years. The association has 40 textile mills as its members.
These mills have produced 352037 tons of yarn and 1335 lakh metres of fabric in the year 2012-13. The mills exported over Rs 3,50,000 lakh worth of yarn, viscose fibre, fabric and knitted garments during the year.
* Bombay HC upholds Maharashtra Seed Act, delivers blow to industry:
Giving a major blow to the Bt cotton seed industry, the Bombay High Court has upheld the validity of the Maharashtra Cotton Seed Act, 2009 that regulates the prices of Bt cotton seeds in the state, the second largest producer of cotton in India.
The seed industry had challenged the state acts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, seeking to regulate prices of Bt cotton seeds, in their respective High Courts. “The decision will be of great help to the farmers,” said state agriculture commissioner Umakant Dangat.
Under the Maharashtra Cotton Seed Act, the seed companies also have to pay compensation to the farmers in case the seeds fail to deliver as its labels claim.
* Powerloom weavers look for options to go in for solar energy:
Powerloom weavers in Somanur and nearby areas are exploring options that will give them financial support to go in for solar energy.
P. Kumarasamy, secretary of the Coimbatore District Job Working Powerloom Unit Owners’ Association, told The Hindu on Wednesday that just a handful of powerloom weavers in the district have installed solar panels. A unit with 10 looms requires five kw solar system. The cost for this works out to Rs. 6.5 lakh.
The association organised a meeting a few weeks ago to create awareness on solar energy and several weavers had expressed willingness to go in for solar systems. Canara Bank had come forward to extend loans to the units interested in the project.
* NTC launches own garment brand:
The National Textiles Corporation (NTC), which works under the Union textile ministry, has launched its own garment brand — Indian Republic with a plan to set up over 300 retail stores for selling these readymade wear in the next two years.
The trigger to enter the garment sector with own branding by the NTC was to provide high-quality garments in a reasonable price range to the fashion- conscious youth of the country, said Union Minister for Textiles KS Rao after formally launching the brand on Wednesday
08:44:15 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA rejects power tariff hike, move to deprive CPPs of gas supply:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab has rejected increase in electricity tariff and a move to deprive Captive Power Plants (CPPs) from gas supply.
The Annual General Meeting of APTMA has mandated the office bearers of APTMA to represent the industry case to the government officials concerned besides seeking legal remedy from the court of law.
In this connection, a detailed presentation based upon published facts and figures of NEPRA and other official sources was made by the Director Energy.
* Pakistan Textile City to have 277 plots of various sizes:
* Labour rights: Trade unionists demand release of welfare board’s funds:
Trade unionists demanded on Wednesday that the federal government should immediately release funds for the Sindh Workers Welfare Board – which had been closed down since 2009. They also asked for the devolution of different workers’ welfare boards to the respective provinces.
“After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the worker welfare boards were to be transferred to the provinces, but they are still under the federal government’s domain, which is a violation of the Constitution,” said National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Deputy General Secretary Nasir Mansoor. He was speaking at a press conference at the press club on Wednesday.
“The Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), which falls under the sphere of the federal government, holds Rs80 billion funds. It has confiscated the share of Sindh without any reason. Due to this, scholarships, dowry grants and other schemes for the workers of Sindh have been discontinued,” said Mansoor, adding that Sindh is generating 70 per cent of the funds for the WWF, but since 2009, the provincial government was not receiving its share, while the other provinces are regularly getting the funds.
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08:44:15 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Police Detain South Korean Visitors & Uzbek Human Rights Leader:
Statement issued by the Press Center of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, October 2, 2013, Tashkent, Uzbekistan:
“On the Margins of Uzbekistan: Detained Foreigners
Today, October 2, 2013, in the cotton fields of Tashkent region police detained visiting Korean nationals and Elena Urlaeva, head of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan.
Urlaeva was showing the foreigners the high-school students picking cotton instead of studying.
The police officers of Yangibozor, Botirbke Mingbaev and Usmanov Elmurad, demanded the foreigners present their passports, but the foreigners did not respond.
Urlaeva immediately contacted journalists and the Korean Embassy in Uzbekistan. Then, instead of proceeding with the arrest and detention at the local police station, the police took the foreigners and Urlaeva to the bus station and told them to go to the grape fields in Parkent city.”
* UN Global Compact must embrace principle of a Living Wage:
UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings addressing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Global Compact in New York , urged that the post- millennium development goals 2015 agenda be built on foundations of equality and sustainability. Jennings said that unions were an important building block of this new architecture, referring to the UN Global Compact’s new vision of “Building the Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture”.
Here is Philip Jennings’ speech:
“The architects for a better world also need bricklayers, plumbers and electricians.
They live in neighbourhoods with working people from all walks of life.
They are the everyday architects and we should be building a better world with them.
My first message then is for the post 2015 agenda to give more prominence to jobs and the workforce, to root the agenda in the reality of the daily struggles facing working people and their families then we can give them hope and confidence that their concerns are being taken seriously.
Progress is stalled, things are not working well for working people.
Things are going wrong. It is not sustainable:
– We need to create 600 million jobs in the next decade just to keep unemployment at a standstill.
– Almost half of the world’s workforce is in vulnerable employment and we have massive youth unemployment everywhere. A lost generation!
– A growing gap between CEO pay and average earnings of their staff.
– Declining share of wages in the wealth produced.
– Poverty reduction yes but growing inequality everywhere.
– Wages de-linked from productivity.