20:04:20 local time PHILIPPINES
* SSS’ profitability doesn’t mean efficiency:
The high profitability of the Social Security System (SSS) is not tantamount to its efficiency, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, made the statement amid the move of the SSS Board to grant a P1 million bonus for each member of the Board which coincides with the increased premium fees for SSS members.
Gatchalian cited that it is unfathomable to resort to such bonus bonanza, considering that the SSS has an unfunded liability of P1.1 trillion as of December 2012. Further, the SSS fund is expected to dry up by 2018 unless it increases the monthly premium contributions of its members by 0.6 percent.
19:04:20 local time VIET NAM
* Vietnamese workers might get 17% pay increase in 2014 :
Vietnam’s labor ministry has suggested that the government raise the minimum wage in the corporate sector 14-17 percent next year, a hike far below what the national labor union has asked for.
A Tuoi Tre report Friday cited an official from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs as confirming that the proposed wages range between VND1.9 million to VND2.7 million (US$89-127) a person a month depending on regions, up VND250.000-350.000 ($11.86-16.60) a month from the current range.
The new wages would still not meet basic living standards, estimated by Vietnam General Confederation of Labo at more than VND2.4-4.1 million a person a month.
* Italian footwear industry praises Vietnam’s potential:
Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Italia’s leading footwear companies to build factories, according to Italian daily newspaper Sole 24 ore.
- Italian businesses encouraged to invest in Vietnam
- Italian businesses seek opportunities in Vietnam
- Italian businesses seek investment opportunities in Vietnam
One of its biggest Italian footwear producers, Coronet, has decided to move its factory from Guangdong province (China) to Vietnam. As from 2014, Coronet will make footwear products at its new factory in Ho Chi Minh City’s Giao Long industrial zone.
Coronet senior adviser Umberto de Marco said the company aims to produce 2 million metres of leather a year and will raise its productivity in the near future. Most materials are transported from China and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will prevent Coronet from violating the anti-dumping law.
19:04:20 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodian Labour Law App:
Better Factories Cambodia has created a mobile application to bring the Cambodian Labour Law to the fingertips of students, academics, factory management, unions and others who work in the industry.
The application, which can be downloaded for free on any Android and iPhone smart phones, provides an interactive and searchable version of BFC’s Guide to the Labour Law. The app is available in English, Chinese and Khmer.
In addition to the Cambodia Labour Law, the app also allows users to calculate the correct maternity benefit that should be provided. It also features a range of photos documenting both good and bad practices. Users can also test their knowledge with a labour law quiz provided in the app. Those who work in the industry can also find a link to a calendar that lists trainings conducted by BFC.
* Kamako Chhnoeum (Outstanding Worker):
‘’Hello and welcome to Kamako Chhnoeum! This call is free. Answer the following questions and your phone number will be entered into a lucky draw. You don’t need to get the correct answer to be eligible for the lucky draw.’’ This is what one hears when dialing 8397 to participate in a new advocacy project being run by Better Factories Cambodia.
The Kamako Chhnoeum mobile phone project is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system which allows factory workers to call toll-free to take a short labour law focused quiz that will help them to enrich their knowledge of labour rights, occupational health and safety and personal health.
An options menu asks workers if they would like to hear about compensation and allowances, occupational safety and health or personal health. Once the worker selects a category, he/she will be led through a short quiz. After each question, the IVR system will explain whether the worker has answered the question correctly or not, and it will provide the correct answer. At the end of the quiz, workers are asked to identify the factory they work in and to comment on their workplace. The system will record their comments.
Ms. Jill Tucker, BFC’s Chief Technical Advisor, says: “This project will provide us with information on the level of labour-related knowledge that workers possess and will also deliver information to workers. It is practical and mutually beneficial. Our hope is that this project will spark a dialogue with workers, and be the first step in a process of using technology effectively in labour rights protection.”
* Voices on The Street:
Phon, Meat, Vegetable and Grocery Seller:
I don’t think that the increase in minimum wage improves workers’ lives. The price of everything is increasing even more than their salary does.
Lo Koon Piu, General Manager of Wing Ying (Cambodia) Garment Factory Ltd.:
This new minimum wage is reasonable. As a general manager of a factory, I am glad to see that workers can earn more.
H.E. Sat Samoth,Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training:
The minimum wage was discussed many times. We didn’t just set it as an estimation. To set the minimum wage, we checked our economy, technicality, progress in society, reality and lives of workers these days. I think that it is appropriate with the current minimum wage due to the current economy of the market. The minimum wage will increase; it won’t stay still.
Chenda, Garment Worker:
The increase in the minimum wage is really good for us as workers, but the inflation makes us suffer. When we get a higher salary the price of rent, electricity, water and everything else also rises. If they increase the minimum wage to US$150 per month, it will help us a lot because we can live better and spend wisely on food and everything.
17:34:20 local time INDIA
* Fire breaks out in garment godown:
A fire broke out in a garment godown in BEML complex in Rajrajeshwari Nagar on Wednesday evening. However, no one was injured in the incident.
Officials of the fire and emergency services department received a call at 4.57 pm following which they rushed to the building which has three floors above the cellar.
Officials said that there was no ventilation due to which there was dense smoke in the building, taking up to four hours to douse the fire.
Also, there was only one entry to the cellar and therefore the smoke could only be lessened using smoke removing equipment. The godown was owned one Shivakumar, whose father Basavaraju is a former Deputy Commissioner.
The officials said that the fire broke out after a Television set exploded. They suspect that the main TV switch may have been left on for a long time due to which the set heated up and exploded.
* Textile units urged to hold bonus talks:
A meeting of the CITU-affiliated Baniyan General Workers’ Union, held here on Wednesday, called upon textile workers to insist on unit owners to initiate bonus fixation talks before October 19.
“If the unit owners failed to hold talks, the workers in the respective units should contact the Union immediately and should not attend work from October 21.
The Union will then take steps to mediate with the owners,” C. Moorthy, general secretary of Baniyan General Workers Union, told reporters.
Stressing the demand for complete bonus fixation talks in all textile units before October 19, the workers affiliated to CITU staged a demonstration in the city on Wednesday.
* Indian Ministry wants cotton export benefits restored;
17:34:20 local time SRI LANKA
* ‘Sri Lankan apparel sector may face labor shortage’:
17:04:20 local time UZBEKISTAN
* In the land of cotton:
Forced labour in Uzbekistan
Every year about this time approximately 1m people—including teachers, doctors and students—are dumped in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields to pick “white gold”.
They are taken from their jobs and their schools, sometimes threatened with expulsion or dismissal or physical violence, and compelled to meet quotas to help the government earn some hard cash.
These ersatz labourers have not been pushed into the fields indirectly, by poverty, human-rights groups say, but by a quasi-feudal system that benefits an elite. Activists are now worried that a major infusion of international aid might obscure the problem rather than address it.
UNICEF and the World Bank have drafted a $49.9m grant proposal on behalf of Uzbekistan’s government to support education. The funding would come from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), an umbrella group based in Washington, DC. According to the grant proposal, the aid would help students in rural areas, who are at a disadvantage compared with urban students because they have fewer teachers and resources.
The application does not mention that countless students and teachers in Uzbekistan are missing classes two months a year because they’re tending cotton. Surely the first priority for any reform of the educational system ought to be getting them back into classrooms.