In the news 11 March 2014

12:58:45 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Strike may be shifted to post-holiday date:

A stay-at-home garment strike scheduled for tomorrow is in doubt after a number of workers and unionists urged that it be postponed until after the Khmer New Year, a union leader said yesterday.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said some workers feared the strike would leave them without money for the holiday period.
Leaders of the 18 union groups involved in the strike will meet today to decide whether to proceed, he added.

“We want to continue planning this strike, but we have received the suggestion from our members and workers to suspend it until after the Khmer New Year next month,” he said.
For weeks, the unions have been threatening that a stay-at-home strike will begin tomorrow and run until at least March 19.
The unions and workers behind it want a $160 minimum monthly garment wage and the release of 21 workers and unionists arrested at the height of a strike in early January.
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PPP new

* Union activists defy government ban on public forum:

Hundreds of union activists in Cambodia defied a government ban on a public forum for garment workers, timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on Saturday 8 March.

Over 500 hundred union activists attempted to attend the rally at Freedom Park in the capital Phnom Penh but were met with heavy resistance by armed police who had barricaded entrances to the park.

At one stage, security guards wielding batons stormed a small group of marchers forcing them towards Naga bridge at the edge of the park. Eventually, in a tense stand off, the activists increased in number and were able to push back the security guards, while trucks carrying police with tear gas launchers patrolled alongside Freedom Park.

The leaders of 18 unions had called for a public forum to discuss an increase in the minimum wage for garment workers, 80% of whom are women, and the release of 21 workers detained since a brutal police crackdown on strikes in January, which left 4 workers dead and 39 people injured.
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Home

* Cambodia garment sector has Asia’s highest rate of unionization:

Cambodia’s garment sector has the highest rate of unionization of any industry in Asia, Cambodia Federation of Employers and Business Associations Van Sou Ieng said Tuesday.

“Major efforts are needed to improve the quality of workplace relations,” Van said in a statement posted on the Camfeba website. “With roughly 60 per cent of the country’s 600,000 garment workers unionized … the industry had the highest union density rate among all industries in any Asian country.

“However, multiple and competing unions is irrefutably a problem for all parties, and is rooted in corruption, management interference and political affiliations.”

Van said the draft Trade Union Law contained provisions that, would “improve social dialogue” if implemented.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* ILO, Camfeba outline ways to improve investment climate:

The International Labor Organization said it would launch on Wednesday two reports outlining ways to improve the investment climate in Cambodia.

In a statement, the ILO said the reports were the   product of a partnership with the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (Camfeba).

“The reports provide insights into the current situation in Cambodia and provide evidence-based and practical recommendations on how to improve the business-enabling environment,” it said
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CAMHERALD

13:58:45 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Pan Brothers’ 2013 Earnings Jump 41% on Growing Demand:

Pan Brothers, one of Indonesia’s leading garment manufacturers, reported a surge in profit last year on the back of growing demand locally and internationally.

The company’s net income rose 41 percent to $10.6 million in 2013 from the year before, while sales climbed 19 percent to $340 million. Pan supplies garments to international retailers including Nike, H&M, and Lacoste, and its sales transactions are denominated in dollars.

Export sales, which made up about 95 percent of its sales, increased 13 percent to $323 million. Meanwhile, domestic sales surged to $16.4 million from $1.51 million the year before.

Sales to Asian countries — which include domestic sales — and to other minor destinations in the region jumped to 40 percent of the total last year, compared to 8 percent in 2010. Sales to European countries and the United States were each at 30 percent in 2013. By comparison in 2010, sales to the United States accounted for 47 percent of the total, while sales to European countries accounted for 42 percent.

Indonesia’s competitive labor cost and larger workforce are starting to attract many apparel companies, as other garment powerhouses, like China and India, are raising their labor wages.

“Indonesian textile and garments industry are likely to be a key beneficiary of active government support, robust growth outlook and growth constraints that face competing Asian textile manufacturing destinations,” Pan said.
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jak-globe

12:28:45 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Hong Kong textile manufacturers shift production to Myanmar for cheap labour:

20140311 SCMP
Hong Kong textile manufacturers shift production to Myanmar for cheap labour

 

Hong Kong textile manufacturers have signed a deal to set up their first industrial park in Yangon, which they expect will slash production costs by at least half.

Workers at the 200-hectare facility in the former capital of Myanmar will be paid about a fifth of those employed in mainland factories.
Liberal Party lawmaker Felix Chung Kwok-pan, representing the textiles and garment constituency, made the deal on behalf of 12 manufacturers to rent half of the 400-hectare Thilawa Special Economic Zone, co-built by Myanmar and Japan.

“We will start the construction work in mid-2015 and hope the factories can start operating by the end of next year,” Chung told the South China Morning Post.
The manufacturers will retain their production plants on the mainland to keep things “flexible”, he added.

The land is rented for US$52 million annually for 50 years.
Chung said the Hong Kong manufacturers planned to employ at least 30,000 Myanmese workers at the market salary of US$100 to US$120 a month.
read more.
SouthchinaMORNINGPOST hk

11:58:45 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 

—–UPDATE 17.45 (loc.time)——:

* Publication of first Accord structural, fire and electrical safety inspection reports:

The Bangladesh Accord Foundation has today announced the completion of the first reports detailing the results of factory inspections in Bangladesh.

Available online on the Accord website as of Tuesday (March 11) 09:00 CET, the reports set out details of current building safety standards in the first Bangladesh garment factories to be inspected and identify necessary steps required to improve the level of safety.

The reports do not highlight any issues of a similar magnitude to those which caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013. They do identify a number of issues to be addressed and explain the steps to be taken to resolve them. Some of these steps are already underway. The reports completed so far are for the first 30 inspections of 10 factories and were conducted in December 2013.

Between February and September 2014, 38 teams of international fire, electrical,
and structural engineers, working with Bangladeshi engineers and technicians, will conduct inspections of 1500 factories in total.

Please click here for more information on this important step in the Accord’s progress in making safe workplaces for garment workers in Bangladesh.
The Key guide is to give an overview of the report. Click on the report you want to download.
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BANGLADESHACCORD

* Thousands sacked as unsafe Bangladesh factory forced to close:

20140310 MALYASIAonLINE afp-bagladesh-garment-factory
Bangladeshi labourers work in a small garments factory on the outskirts of Dhaka

 

Several thousand Bangladeshi garment workers have lost their jobs after their factory was discovered with serious safety problems and shut down, officials said on Monday.

The factory was among hundreds, where workers stitch clothes for Western retailers, targeted by safety experts for inspection in the wake of Rana Plaza building collapse last year that killed 1,135 people.

The team of experts ordered the evacuation of six floors of two adjoining buildings housing clothing firms Softex and Fame Knitting after the inspection last week which discovered serious structural flaws.
Softex, a sweater maker and a supplier to French retailer Auchan, shut down immediately, laying off all 3,500 workers, saying “it was risky to continue operations”.

“I know what has happened to the workers is unfair. But the inspectors told me that the building has serious structural problems and asked us to evacuate the floors,” Softex chief executive officer Rezwan Seilm told AFP.

Seilm said he was “desperately trying” to pay three months worth of wages to the workers from the factory in Mirpur in the northern suburb of Dhaka.
Fame, employing about 2,500 workers, also closed for a few days last week after engineers involved in the inspection requested reduced weight on some of the floors, an official said.

Unions criticised Softex and Fame for failing to compensate the workers, but a trade group representing garment factories said retailers must shoulder some of the costs.
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ndtv daily star bd MALAYonLINE HIMALAYAN DAWNnew

* Knitting factory, 26 godowns gutted in Gazipur:

A knitting factory and at least 26 godowns of garments waste were burnt to ashes in a devastating fire in Tongi Bazar area here last night.

Station officer of Tongi Fire Service Station Jakir Hossain said the fire originated at a godown at mid night and soon engulfed the other adjacent godowns and the factory.
On information, eight fire fighter units of Gazipur and Dhaka districts rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after three hours of hectic efforts with the help of local people.
Owners of the godowns claimed that valuables worth about Taka 2.50 crore were burnt to ashes in the fire.
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BSS FE bd

* 4 RMG women killed as train hits minibus:

Four women were killed and 15 other people injured as a train rammed into a minibus carrying  readymade garment (RMG) workers near Jalalihat station in the city area on Tuesday morning.

Identity of the deceased could not be known immediately, except that they were employees of Base Textile Limited in port city.
Witnesses said the city-bound local train from Dohazari crashed into the minibus while crossing the rail track at the outer signal crossing around 8:00am, leaving the four women dead on the spot and 15 others injured.
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UNB INDEPENDENT BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd daily star bd
BD new age BSS

* First round of independent and transparent factory inspection reports completed in Bangladesh:

The Bangladesh Accord has published the first reports detailing the results of factory inspections in Bangladesh. The reports set out details of the current building safety standards in the first garment factories to be inspected, and identify necessary steps required to improve these standards.

The Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed on 13 May 2013, in response to the Rana Plaza factory building collapse on 24 April 2013, which resulted in the deaths of 1,133 workers.

The Bangladesh Accord is a major project to make the garment industry safe and sustainable, in which the brand and retail signatories have disclosed all factories they source from in Bangladesh. Signatories have agreed to independent structural, fire and electrical inspections and to implement the safety improvement measures identified by the inspections.

The reports identify a number of issues to be addressed and also explain the steps to be taken to resolve them, some of which are already underway.
The reports do not highlight any issues of a similar magnitude to those that caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013. Issues identified include: the need to reduce weight loads in certain areas of the factory through moving material, stock, or supplies; the requirement for better support for and enclosure of electrical cables; and the need to improve maintenance procedures around items such as electrical circuits, for example keeping them free of dust.
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Home  UNI Global Union BANGLA NEWS24

* Thrust on harmonised set of guidelines for RMG factory inspection:

A former apparel-sector apex body chief has urged the government to urgently take initiative to fix a harmonised set of guidelines for factory inspection programme in order to ensure working-safety in the local garment industry.

He also underlined the need for setting the guidelines taking the ‘Bangladesh context’ into consideration as the foreign buyers often try to impose standards from their own perspectives.

“If the ongoing inspection layout, hired from different context of the foreign countries in many cases, continues, the readymade garment (RMG) sector will unexpectedly face severe music, ultimately harming the greater inertest of the country,” Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said.
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FE bd

* Accord and Alliance – First Phase Of Inspections:

BGMEA came down heavily upon inspections conducted by the Accord and Alliance inspectors due to which some garment factories have already been shut down after faults were found in their construction.

They expressed their resentment and fears on the conference named “Sharing of Views on Current Scenario of RMG Sector” at Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) premises in Dhaka yesterday on 10-03-2014. The meeting was attended by the Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed.

In the conference, Mr. SM Mannan Kochi, second vice president of BGMEA alleged that although the buyers did not increase the prices as per their promise, they are shutting down factories in the name of compliance. Mr. Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury, first vice president of BGMEA said that he feared that around 60% factory are likely to face shut down in the backdrop of the ongoing inspection conducted by Accord and Alliance and it is really difficult to get rid of this.

As of Friday, 7 March 2014, the Alliance has inspected over 240 factories while the Accord engineers inspected around 70 factories and following the inspection a review panel ordered to suspend production of two factories, namely Softex and Fame Sweater Limited.
Fame Sweater Limited has been asked to minimize loads on floor, strengthen column and then to restart production after four days of the improvement, while Softex have been asked to suspend production and make quick improvements on the building structure.
Earlier on the first week of March, 3 factories have already caught fire, but fortunately without any great injuries of casualties.

Since February the BGMEA has repeatedly been stressing on funds and time for factory remediation, and have mentioned that improving factory conditions will not be possible if sufficient time of at least 2 or 3 years are not provided along with easily available funds.
They also called on Alliance and Accord to allow sufficient time and allocate adequate fund to complete the building remediation process in RMG industry successfully.
read more.

* First FWF safety trainings for factory managers Bangladesh:

The first three FWF workshops on Building and Fire Safety for Bangladeshi factory managers have successfully taken place in the first week of March.

112 factory managers, FWF brand managers and compliance representatives of buying offices joined the workshops in Dhaka.

FWF’s project leader Bablur Rahman talked about identifying safety risks in garment factories with the workshop participants. Then they discussed who is responsible for ensuring workplace safety.  Dutch safety specialist Erik Wiersma and engineer Anton Oudshoorn provided insight in prevention measures related to building safety, and shared their knowledge on escape routes, extinguishing fires and alerting people.
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fairwear

* Exports up 6% in February:

20140310 BANGLAnews24 Garments

Due to rise of export in garments sector, country’s overall export rose 6.36 percent in February as political turmoil eased after the January 5 general election.

Sources from Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said in the first eight months of the financial year, beginning on July 1, the amount of export was about $19.83 billion, up nearly 14 percent from the same period of the last year.

Garment exports were up 16.7 percent to $16.7 billion for the eight months, EPB sources added.
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BANGLA NEWS24 UNB DHAKATRIBUNE BD new age daily star bd

* Bangladesh’s garment exports swell 16.68% in July-Feb:

The exports of readymade garments from Bangladesh jumped by 16.68 percent to US$ 16.138 billion during the first eight months of the ongoing fiscal year 2013-14, compared to the $13.83 billion exports made during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, latest data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) showed.
Segment-wise, knitwear exports fetched $7.91 billion in July-February 2013-14 period, showing a rise of 17.5 percent over $6.732 billion earned during the same period last fiscal.
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fibre2fashion

* July-Feb exports slow on lower RMG shipments:

The country’s export earnings during the July-February period of current fiscal year (FY), 2013-14, witnessed a slow growth, following a downward trend in the shipment of readymade garment (RMG) products, sources said.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) official data, the country’s overall export stood at $19.82 billion during the first eight months of the FY, registering a 13.96 per cent growth over the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

However, the overall export growth was 18.02 per cent in July-November, 16.56 per cent in July-December, 15.08 in July-January of the current fiscal.

The total earnings during the July-February period exceeded the target by 2.17 per cent, according to the EPB data.
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FE bd  DHAKATRIBUNE

* Textile firms reign in IPO market:

Around 40 more IPO proposals have been submitted to the BSEC, of which, 10 are textile

Apparel companies have become dominant in the country’s initial public offering (IPO) market seeking funds to increase their production capacity and sales network.

Lower cost of fund and growing global presence of the sector have been mentioned by the analysts as reasons of the rising trend.
Of seven companies which has received IPO approval so far this year, three were textile, said Bangladesh Securities Exchange Commission (BSEC).

Last year there were three textile companies entering the IPO market while the number was four in 2012, one in 2011 and one in 2010.
Around 40 more IPO proposals have been submitted to the BSEC, of which, 10 are textile.

They include Keya Cotton Mills, Far East Knitting and Dyeing, Hamid Fabrics, MP Spinning Mills, Keya Spinning Mills, Dragon Sweater and Spinning, Fiber Shine, Royal Denim, Shasha Denims and Aman Cotton Fibrous.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* India textile industry for boosting business in BD:

Indian textile businessmen are focusing on increasing market share in Bangladesh to offset the impact created by China in last few years.

“Bangladesh is a natural trading textile partner for India. But for last two years, China is increasingly consolidating its footsteps in the Bangladeshi markets,” told Sanjay Murarka, partner of Kolkata-based FM Textile Private Limited, on the sidelines of the ongoing International Ethnic Week (IEW) Goa 2014.

“A proper and concentrated focus on Bangladesh markets can work wonders for the textile industry, which is amongst the top trading communities in India,” he added.
“From Surat itself, the trade of textiles to Bangladesh is to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore,” Murarka said.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

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 11:28:45 local time map of india INDIA

* India textile industry for boosting business in BD:

Indian textile businessmen are focusing on increasing market share in Bangladesh to offset the impact created by China in last few years.

“Bangladesh is a natural trading textile partner for India. But for last two years, China is increasingly consolidating its footsteps in the Bangladeshi markets,” told Sanjay Murarka, partner of Kolkata-based FM Textile Private Limited, on the sidelines of the ongoing International Ethnic Week (IEW) Goa 2014.

“A proper and concentrated focus on Bangladesh markets can work wonders for the textile industry, which is amongst the top trading communities in India,” he added.
“From Surat itself, the trade of textiles to Bangladesh is to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore,” Murarka said.
read more.
TOInew

* Bannari Amman’s subsidiary to set up new mill in TN:

Spinning Mills, part of  the Bannari Amman Group, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Tamil Nadu government for setting up of a textile project near Dindigul in the state.

The new project would attract an investment of around Rs 250 crore.
While company officials were not available for comment, the company in an announcement to the National Stock Exchange said it’s wholly owned subsidiary Abirami Amman Mills Private Limited has entered into the MOU with the state government.
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* Textile cluster may open in May:

The work on the textile cluster project at Malegaon is in its final stages and is expected to be finished by the end of May.The Rs 15.84-crore project is coming up in the Malegaon co-operative industrial estate, under a scheme of the Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises. The central government is contributing 80% of the project cost, while the state is providing 10% and the rest is funded by other stake-holders.Malegaon has around 2 lakh traditional powerloom units, but they do not have adequate facilities for pre-weaving and post-weaving treatment. The cluster project includes a common facility centre, which will have advanced technology needed for powerloom units. The cluster will have a common processing house, common auto warping, common testing labs and common treatment plants. PB Daberao, joint director (industries), Nashik division said, “The building of the cluster project is almost ready and the tender process for buying machinery has also been completed. The project will start by May end.”
to read.
TOInew

10:58:45 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Pakistan to lose textile exports worth $150m:

Pakistan will lose out on exports worth $150 million to the US market due to a sluggish commerce and textiles ministries and poor trade diplomacy, officials said on Monday.

Negligence and late responses by the textile and commerce ministries to allay the concerns of the US-based Walt Disney Company has deprived 16 Pakistani companies from exporting products worth $150 million to that particular company from April 1, 2014, senior officials of the ministries told The News.

On August 14, 2013 The News revealed that the Walt Disney Company had intimated authorities in Pakistan that it is going to terminate all orders from Pakistan worth $150 million by April 1, 2014 as 16 Pakistani textile companies were failing to meet international health and safety standards while handling the orders. Further, the company said, Pakistan would have to join the Better Work Programme (BWP) in case it wanted to avoid the cancelation of orders.

However, officials said, a sluggish response from the concerned ministries led to Pakistan missing the chance to join BWP. Further, when Pakistan awakened from its deep slumber and urged the concerned US department to argue in favour of Pakistan before the top management of Disney, the company refused to oblige. Disney Corporation said this is its global policy and it could not bail out Pakistan from the impact of its policy.
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thenewspk

* 15 GM cotton varieties: NBC may approve commercialisation:

The National Bio-Safety Committee (NBC) is likely to grant approval to the long awaited 15 cotton varieties with Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) for commercialisation, sources revealed.

Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that after the ruling of the federal Law Ministry, the Climate Change division has finally convened a meeting of National Bio-Safety Committee on March 12 (Wednesday) to consider the commercialisation of GMO cotton varieties. Secretary climate division would chair the meeting.

After the approval of the GMO cotton varieties, it would not only result in the availability of more certified cotton seed for the upcoming season, but would also help in better production, sources added. Textile division had approached Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after delaying tactics were used by the Climate Change division for convening a meeting of the NBC.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

* APTMA wants 5% import duty slapped on cotton yarn:

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Yasin Siddik has urged the government to impose 5% import duty on cotton yarn as its heavy imports have been hurting the local industry, especially in the past few months.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Siddik said that APTMA – an industry group and one of the most powerful business lobbies in the country – has already reached out to the government.

“Soon after Pakistan received the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status, India started heavily subsidising its textile sector,” said Siddik. “This is why Indian yarn is fast making the local yarn uncompetitive in the Pakistani market.”
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tribune

* PHMEA concerned at rupee’s appreciation against dollar:

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMEA) on Monday expressed concerns over the appreciation of Pak rupee against dollar, which has a serious impact on exporters.

“The appreciation of rupee against dollar during your tenure is no doubt a very good sign; however, this has seriously impacted our exports,” says the PHMEA letter to Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
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BUSINESSRECORDER

 

map of Asia

HEADLINES TODAY:

CAMBODIA
* Strike may be shifted to post-holiday date
* Union activists defy government ban on public forum
* Cambodia garment sector has Asia’s highest rate of unionization
* ILO, Camfeba outline ways to improve investment climate

INDONESIA
* Pan Brothers’ 2013 Earnings Jump 41% on Growing Demand

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Hong Kong textile manufacturers shift production to Myanmar for cheap labour

BANGLADESH
* Publication of first Accord structural, fire and electrical safety inspection reports
* Thousands sacked as unsafe Bangladesh factory forced to close
* Knitting factory, 26 godowns gutted in Gazipur
* 4 RMG women killed as train hits minibus
* First round of independent and transparent factory inspection reports completed in Bangladesh
* Thrust on harmonised set of guidelines for RMG factory inspection
* Accord and Alliance – First Phase Of Inspections
* First FWF safety trainings for factory managers Bangladesh
* Exports up 6% in February
* Bangladesh’s garment exports swell 16.68% in July-Feb
* July-Feb exports slow on lower RMG shipments
* Textile firms reign in IPO market
* India textile industry for boosting business in BD

INDIA
* India textile industry for boosting business in BD
* Bannari Amman’s subsidiary to set up new mill in TN
* Textile cluster may open in May

PAKISTAN
* Pakistan to lose textile exports worth $150m
* 15 GM cotton varieties: NBC may approve commercialisation
* APTMA wants 5% import duty slapped on cotton yarn
* PHMEA concerned at rupee’s appreciation against dollar

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
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I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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