23:12:37 local time VIET NAM
* Restructuring vital for Vietnamese firms ahead of historic TPP deal:
With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) likely to be agreed this month, local businesses are under pressure to change. Le Xuan Nghia, director general of the Business Development Institute, explained the situation to Hai quan newspaper.
In your opinion, what are the challenges that Vietnamese enterprises are facing at the TPP threshold?
One of the toughest issues being discussed at the on-going TPP negotiation is the preferential rules of origin.
Under these rules, if a member state uses raw materials imported from other TPP members, the member will enjoy the preferential rules of origin.
These rules are mainly applied in the import and export of raw materials in the textile and garment industry, as well as for leather in the footwear industry. Of course, sometimes they also cover technology and equipment imports.
* Small change for the working classes:
In July, the minimum wage in Viet Nam was increased by VND100,000
(US$5 ) to VND1.15 million. The move was welcomed as a move to reduce pressure on workers hit by the spiralling prices of most goods.
However, at its monthly cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Finance Ministry proposed to decrease the minimum wage. The proposed reduction is exactly as much as the increase made in July.
According to the ministry, the contrary move was one of the measures taken to balance the State budget because the country is facing a shortfall in income.
However, as soon as he heard of the proposal, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung rejected it, noting that in the last three years, the minimum wage had increased by about 35 per cent but prices also kept going up.
So, it’s back to square one.
The workers can have their justified increase thanks to the PM – and, as for the State budget, well, as many say, it will just have to become more creative.
22:12:37 local time BANGLADESH
* BLF demands fair wages for extra work of tannery workers:
The other demands are providing proper training of workers to avoid accidents
Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation (BLF) demanded fair wages for extra work of tannery workers.
The demand was raised at a human chain organised in front of the National Press Club on Monday.
Speakers said tannery workers have to do extra work, but do not get fair wages. The production would be increased, if the owners ensured worker’s right. Rights of workers should be confirmed for the development of the society and nation, the speakers added.
The other demands are providing proper training of workers to avoid accidents, ensuring better work environment for workers and rehabilitation of victims of accidents.
President of BLF Abdus Samad presided over the meeting. Among others, Secretary General ZM Kamrul Anam, member Rani Khan and tannery owners and workers were also present at the programme.
* BD RMG to remain competitive even after wage hike: Hanna:
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh William Hanna on Monday observed that the readymade garment (RMG) sector in the country will remain competitive in the global market even after the wage hike of workers.
“Still, there’s a scope to remain competitive and move up the wages,” he told a seminar at a city hotel.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised the seminar, ‘Reinventing the RMG Sector: Emphasising on Social Accountability and Security’, ahead of the 24th Bangladesh Apparels and Textile Exposition 2013.
William Hanna also called on the country’s apparel manufacturers to increase the wages of workers annually, adjusting it with the inflation.
* RMG workers’ violent demo in Gazipur:
The workers of a garment factory staged violent demonstrations at Targachh in the city on Monday to press home their several demands.
Quoting locals, police said the workers of ‘Ehsan Moonlight Sweater Factory’ went on the work abstention in the morning to press home their demands that include a hike in the attendance allowance and leave from seven days to 10, and the arrest of the production manager for beating a fellow worker.
At one stage, the workers damaged the glasses of the factory.
Being informed, police rushed in and tried to disperse the agitating workers when a chase and counter chase took place between the two sides.
read more. & to read.
* ILO helps underprivileged people to get jobs in RMG sector :
Underprivileged people from rural Gazipur and remote North Bengal are now being employed in the readymade garment sector after completing a 3-month skills training programme.
The programme under the Skills Development and Sustainable Livelihood Generation Project is a partnership between East Knitting & Dyeing Industries, IDLC Finance, the ILO TVET Reform Project, Gazipur Technical School and College, Care Bangladesh and Shiree.
After the 3-month training period and subsequent skills assessment, trainees are certified and employed as junior machine operators in local readymade garment factories.
read more. & to read. & read more.
* BGMEA wants separate exchange rate:
The readymade garment industry has urged the government to fix a separate exchange rate for Taka against the Dollar to keep up with competition in the international market.
Md Atiqul Islam, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, made the demand on Sunday from a press conference organised ahead of Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition.
He also claimed Bangladesh received fewer orders than before in the last two months as many buyers were moving away to India and Vietnam.
“India’s readymade garment manufacturers can easily accept order now as the value of Rupee against Dollar has depreciated. On the other hand, our Taka has gained. This development has set us back in the competition,” said Atiqul.
“The value of Rupee has gone down by 32 percent. Taka’s value has increased by 5 percent. It means India is 37 percent ahead compared to us in the competition.”
read more. & to read.
* RMG to remain a key driver of higher economic growth:
Chief of an IMF mission tells AmCham luncheon
A stable garment sector, the main foreign currency earner, will continue to remain the key driving force behind the country’s future economic growth, Rodrigo Cubero, chief of an IMF mission, said yesterday.
Political unrest and recurrence of factory disasters like the Rana Plaza building collapse will hamper growth of the sector and the economy of the country as a whole, he said.
For a stable economic growth, he suggested improving the infrastructure, power and transport sectors.
* IMF mission for improvement of infrastructure, labour productivity:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday said Bangladesh’s economy has strong potential in the longer term. It has good prospect of flourishing some new industries along with garments due to its lowest cost of labour, the Fund said.
“China is the largest garment exporter in the world. But its economy is an expensive one. India is also going in the same way. These have created high opportunities for Bangladesh to tap the international markets,” Rodrigo Cubero, the IMF mission chief now visiting Bangladesh, said Monday.
21:42:37 local time INDIA
* Flood-hit weavers still wait for Govt help:
For 50 years old Razia Begum of Lohata, past three months have been the toughest period of her life. She and her six daughters and son, involved in the traditional zardozi work, have been literally out of job for past two months.
Even her husband who works on a powerloom on daily wages has been sitting idle as the loom on which he works has been damaged due to the flood. Adding to her woes is the illness of two of her daughters for which getting medication has also become difficult due to financial constraints.
“Some times, I feel that are lives are cursed as there is nothing else that we can do to make a living. Even my children are not educated to get an occupation of dignity,” she said.
As of now, around 1.5 to 2 lakhs weavers, most of whom belong to rural areas of Kashi Vidyapeeth block, Arazi Line, Sewapuri and Cholapur, are struggling to earn their livelihood. As their equipment has been ruined in the flood and health threat looming large, they need immediate attention from the government. Their condition continues to deteriorate despite promises by Union textile minister and other ministers in the past two months.
* Child labour in BT-cotton fields under scanner:
As cross-pollination in BT-cotton plants in rural pockets has begun, officials in the district are closely monitoring whether child workers are being employed in the fields.
A survey by UNICEF revealed that migration of children from Javadu Hills in Tiruvannamalai, Vellimalai in Villupuram and Kolli Hills in Namakkal had increased last year, compared to 2011. They were mainly involved in cross-pollination in fields in Thalaivasal and Pethanaickenpalayam blocks in the district from October to December.
Officials at the Society for Monitoring and Implementation of Child Labour Elimination (SMILE) told The Hindu that various steps, including preventing migration, monitoring dropouts in schools and admitting them to schools run under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) were taken.
Resolutions have been passed at Grama Sabha meetings against child labour and handbills on child rights were distributed among farmers, they said.
* Handloom weavers’ plea to Collector:
Members of Tirupur District Handloom Weavers Union met Collector G. Govindaraj on Monday with a request to cover the entire weavers under the proposed free distribution of motorised ‘pirn’ and steps for streamlining the distribution of weavers credit card.
Union president N. Kanakaraj said according to the present plan of the government, the motorised ‘pirn’ would be given to only 25,000 weavers, who were the part of the cooperative societies.
“Our demand is that the gadget should be given to the entire three lakh weavers in the State. The introduction of motorized pirn in lieu of the present hand operated pirn for wounding weft yarn will help the weavers increase the productivity and quality of the fabric,” he added.
* India has become attractive for apparel sourcing: AEPC:
21:12:37 local time PAKISTAN
* Cost of doing business higher in Punjab: Gohar:
Group leader All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Gohar Ejaz has said the burden of Rs 5.38 per unit on textile industry in Punjab has made it uncompetitive to the regional competitors. He was addressing Meet the Press at the Lahore Press Club on Monday. Vice Chairman APTMA Seth Akber was also present on the occasion.
Gohar said the APTMA has yet contributed $3.5 billion to the exports despite unprecedented energy crisis during last 4 years with limited market access. He said his team has contested the case of industry at all fronts right from energy crisis to the Free Market Mechanism. He said his group has won the APTMA elections for the fifth time and 75 percent of the APTMA members have voted for his group.
21:12:37 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Uzbek doctors are in the cotton fields. Who is Ministry of Health fooling? :
Uzbek human rights workers are outraged over the Ministry of Health’s announcement that the country’s doctors have not been forced to participate in this year’s cotton harvest.
The director general of the Republican Scientific Center for Emergency Care, Abdukhakim Khodjibaev, has rejected claims made by human rights activists and independent media outlets about the country’s doctors being forced to work in the cotton harvest.
The news website Podrobno.uz published an interview with Mr. Khodjibaev in which he stated that all 5,090 hospitals and clinics in Uzbekistan are working at their normal capacity and patients are receiving adequate and timely care.
* Uzbek authorities conceal the true scope of forced labor, including that of children:
The presence of the child labor monitors from the International Labour Organization (ILO) has been forcing Uzbek authorities to cheat and deceive.
The local authorities in Bakhmalskiy region of Jizzakh province have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The ILO monitors are expected to come to visit soon. Their mission is to make sure Uzbekistan is not using child labor in the 2013 harvest.
The ILO press office has specified that anyone under eighteen years old is considered a child.
The monitors’ presence in the country has already forced the government to stop utilizing labor by school children – from the first to ninth grade. The school reform implemented recently entails that children graduate from school after the completion of the ninth grade and then enter college. Thus 16-18 year olds are no longer considered school children.