In the news 8-9 May 2014

08:39:39 local time map of china CHINA

20140507 * Four killed in E China textile plant fire:

Photo taken today shows the accident site after a fire occurred at a textile plant in Haimen City, east China’s Jiangsu Province. Four people were killed by the fire, which broke out early today.
to see.

07:39:39 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* All work, no play for factory workers:

After 10 hours of hard work on the production line, Tran Van Nam and his two flat mates go to dinner. The residents of Ho Nai 3 Commune in Trang Bom District in the southern province of Dong Nai, said they had no television or computers, even though they are in their early twenties and are all single.

“The other workers living in this rental block are not much different,” Nam said. “There are 30 flats here, but only two have television or computer.” He added that workers in the area often finished work at about 5pm, but did not know what to do to pass the time.

Finding ways to entertain themselves is a challenge for many workers as it seems all kinds of entertainment come with a cost. “I used to read news from websites with my mobile phone, but I stopped because of the increasing fees for internet use,” Nam said.

He said that he could not afford to buy books with the low salary of a blue-collared worker. He could not even play football as it meant renting a court for more than VND200,000 (US$9.50) per hour. With a lack of places to go, male workers often gather together to drink wine and play cards.
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VNNews new

* Economic slowdown prolongs substandard work conditions:

20140509 VNNews
A guest house area for workers in Cot Village, Ha Noi. Enterprise and factory workers in the city are struggling with low incomes and dangerous working environments prolonged by the economic downturn. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

Workers of enterprises and factories in Ha Noi are struggling with low incomes and dangerous working environments as the economic downturn continues to hurt, a senior labour official says.

Tran Van Thuc, President of the Ha Noi Confederation of Labour, was cited in a recent Viet Nam News Agency report as saying the economic slump that began several years ago is still exerting strong impacts on workers in the city.

He noted that in 2013, almost 11,000 enterprises closed down, resulting in 24,000 people losing their jobs.

Despite the Government’s annual adjustments, the average wage was VND3 million per month (US$145) at present, which can only meet 76 per cent of the minimum spending standard, and is not commensurate with the workers’ efforts and time spent on their job, Thuc said.
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VNNews new

* Vietnam’s garment exports offer vast potentials:

Vietnam sees enormous potentials it could reap from its abundant workforce, cheap labour prices, large markets, and upcoming accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, the Government news portal said on May 7.

Garments and textiles is one of the earliest members of the 1 billion USD earners’ club in 1995 (after crude oil), earning over 2 billion USD in 2003 and more than 17 billion USD in 2013.

Export volume of the commodity recorded 251 times higher in 2013 against 1986 and surged by 21.8 percent yearly.

So far, made-in-Viet Nam garments and textiles are available in over 100 countries and territories in which around 50 foreign markets got over 10 million USD in export turnover and 16 others with over 100 million USD. Especially, ten foreign markets earned over 200 million USD in export turnover.
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07:39:39 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Supreme Court denies bail to 21 rights defenders and workers:

This morning, the Supreme Court announced that it will uphold the decision of the Court of Appeal on February 11, 2014 to deny bail requests for 21 of 23 human rights defenders and workers arrested in early January.

None of the 21 defendants were transferred to court for the bail decision.

The Supreme Court provided two reasons for denying bail to the 21: first, the investigation into the cases has already been closed by the investigating judge; and second, the trials are already in progress so defendants should remain in detention to ensure their attendance.
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* For union leader on run, militant attitude prevails:

20140509 CD For-union-leader-on-run-militant-attitude-prevails
to see-read.
BF NEW Cambodia_Daily_logo

20140508 * After 2nd Adjournment, Speedy Trial for 23 Protesters Unlikely:

On Tuesday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court adjourned proceedings in the case of the 25 protesters arrested during the garment sector strikes that broke out in the capital late last year.

The two young men arrested in clashes with police near the Stung Meanchey Bridge in November and charged with intentional violence and property destruction were told to expect a verdict on May 30.

For the 23 beaten and arrested by soldiers and military police in January, however, a speedy trial is proving more difficult.

The court on Tuesday said it would only continue to hear their case after two weeks—on May 20—having previously pushed the case forward 11 days after opening proceedings on April 25.

“According to our monitoring of many cases over the years, it is a strange case that the court is doing this,” said Ny Chakrya, who has been covering the trial as the head of monitoring at local rights group Adhoc.
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20140508 * Police presence has strikers on edge:

A day after police in Kampong Speu province arrested six striking workers, the unexpected presence of about 100 military police officers at a garment factory in Takeo province had some union activists fearing the worst.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina yesterday said he believed authorities came to the I-Cheng (Cambodia) factory in Bati district not to prevent violence, as authorities suggested, but to arrest nine union activists leading the now two-week-old strike.

“This morning, my [CUMW] officials called me and told me that police and military police are seeking their arrest at the factory,” Sina said. “I told them to escape and hide in a safe place.”

Pointing to the Kampong Speu arrests, Sina said he feared workers could be arrested just for participating in a strike.

“I think that union rights are being threatened, which is against national and international law,” he said.
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PPP new

20140508 * Six Unionists Charged With Incitement After Roadblock:

The Kompong Speu Provincial Court on Tuesday charged six union representatives with incitement over a protest near the Wing Star Shoes factory earlier that day, in a move unions say was unjustified and meant to intimidate.

Court prosecutor Keo Sothea said all six were charged with threatening to commit a crime and inciting a felony for allegedly encouraging the factory workers to block a road during their protest for back pay and more benefits.

“There were seven people but they have arrested six; another is at large,” he said.

The prosecutor did not name the men, who were arrested early Tuesday morning while setting up loudspeakers for the protest. The provincial and district police chiefs both declined to comment.

Sath Chheang Hour, president of the Cambodia National Confederation for Labor Protection, said all seven were officers in two partner unions. Four of the arrested men belonged to the Khmer Worker Power Federation Union, and two belonged to the Cambodia Solidarity Union Federation.
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* Report Shows Workforce Still Lacks Skills:

Cambodia lacks the skilled labor force necessary to advance the economy and the government must find ways to create more valuable work as it faces fierce regional and international competition, according to a new report released Thursday by the World Bank.

The report, “East Asia Pacific at Work: Employment, Enterprise and Well-Being,” touches on Cambodia’s ease of doing business, agrarian economy and minimum wage, but says the lack of education and training among the population remains among the most significant drags on economic improvement.

“Many economies, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines, need to find ways to create and sustain productive work,” the report says. “Countries can ill afford to ignore what appear to be increasingly restrictive business environments.”

It adds that in Cambodia, China, Mongolia and Vietnam “the demand for skills is rising sharply and outstripping the available supply of skills in the workforce.”

“Economic growth in the region is moderating. Labor’s share of gross national output has declined in some countries. Further productivity gains have been handicapped by shortages in basic skills in Cambodia…and several Pacific island countries, as well as gaps in advanced skills across the region’s labor force,” the report says.
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* Kamako Chhnoeum: Program Findings from 1 January to March 31, 2014:

After the launch of the Kamako Chhnoeum (Outstanding Worker) project on September 1, 2013, the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) program released its first report in October 2013 and a second report in December 2013. The project is available for workers to call for free on two networks.
The project uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to educate factory
workers onissues of importance to them.
The format is a phone- in quiz where workers answer questions related to salary and allowances, occupational health and safety, or personal health.
The caller chooses a topic on which they would like to be quizzed and is then asked a series of three questions.
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* BetterFactories Media updates 8-9 May 2014, Report shows workforce still lacks skills:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-05-08 Police presence has strikers on edge

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:

2014-05-08 After 2nd adjournment, speedy trial for 23 protesters unlikely
2014-05-09 For union leader on run, militant attitude prevails
2014-05-09 Report shows workforce still lacks skills

* to read in the printed edition Koh Santepheap Daily:

2014-05-08 Footwear and garment factory workers go on strike

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

* BetterFactories Media updates 24 April-7 May 2014, Garment protest trail defendants deny charges:

* to read in the printed edition The Phnom Penh Post:

2014-04-24 Accused 21 brought to capital
2014-04-24 AEC ‘won’t spur labour flow’
2014-04-24 Trade deficit prompts call to diversify export
2014-04-24 Union leaders in court over ‘detainment’ of factory boss
2014-04-25 Concerns ahead of trail for 23
2014-04-25 Union leader rejects ruling
2014-04-28 Anger grows as 23 trail begins
2014-04-28 City rejects May Day location
2014-04-29 China factory back at work following strike
2014-04-29 Strike closes most Bavet factories
2014-04-30 Bavet factories close as protest continues
2014-04-30 Let unions register HRW
2014-05-02 Minister urges end to strike
2014-005-02 Violence mars May Day
2014-05-05 Bavet strike ends at all but 2 factories
2014-05-06 Employees of Wing Star strike again
2014-05-06 Workers to gather at court house
2014-05-07 Gov’t backtracks on rally ban
2014-05-07 Momentum building for GTI
2014-05-07 The 23 testify, put police on trial

* to read in the printed edition The Cambodia Daily:

2014-04-24 21 Strike detainees transferred to Prey Sar Prison ahead of trial
2014-04-24 As protesters prepare for court, no justice for dead
2014-04-24 Post- new year protests in Svay Rieng decline
2014-04-24 Workers protest over reps summoned to court
2014-04-25 Factories mostly skip minimum wage meeting
2014-04-25 Thousands expected at Municipal court in support of 23
2014-04-26-27 GMAC boycotts workshop on minimum wages
2014-04-26-27 Mass Trails of garment protesters commence
2014-04-26-27 Union leader appeals court orders resourcing his activities
2014-04-28 Bavet city garment strikes gain momentum
2014-04-29 10,000 garment workers in Bavet still striking for bonus pay
2014-04-30 FTU bows out of May day rallies
2014-04-30 Uneasy calm in Bavet as factories ordered shut
2014-05-01 Freedom park locked down ahead of Labor Day
2014-05-01 Police make arrest, file complaints in violent Bavet city strike
2014-05-01 Unions plan to defy protest ban, hold workers’ day rally
2014-05-02 Labor minister says solutions to Bavet strike in the works
2014-05-02 Rallies marred by police by police violence
2014-05-05 Bavet factories reopen after strike, but pay dispute lingers
2014-05-06 Protest planned for 2nd day of garment protest trials
2014-05-07 Garment protest trail defendants deny charges
2014-05-07 Protests see some business bust, others boom
2014-05-07 Union says three workers arrested over Wing Star protest

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.

* Cambodian garment & textile exports grow 5.81% in Jan-Feb:

The exports of garments and textiles from Cambodia grew by 5.81 percent to US$ 374.93 million in the first two months of the current year, compared to exports of $354.33 million made during the same period last year, data with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) showed.
From January to February 2014, Cambodia exported $159.83 million worth of garments and textiles to the US, followed by $63.93 million to the EU, $49.1 million to Canada, $31.95 million to Japan, and $70.12 million to other markets, according to the data.
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08:39:39 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* A Higher Minimum Wage Is Crucial for Indonesia:

On May 1, Indonesia for the first time commemorated Labor Day as a national holiday.

Tens of thousands of workers thronged the streets of Jakarta, to celebrate and to voice their demands. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared May 1 a national holiday in July 2013, much to the delight of workers all over Indonesia.

The move signifies monumental progress for the labor movement in Indonesia, but it is not enough. A one-day holiday cannot and should appease those who have been struggling for fairer pay. A higher minimum wage is not only imperative for the welfare of the workers, but also necessary for economic progress.

The wage issue has always been at the heart of labor demands. On May 4, 1886, workers in Chicago clashed with police forces after they rallied for an eight-hour workday with no cut in pay, thus effectively demanding a higher wage. The clash, known as the Haymarket affair, was a momentous event for the modern labor movement, and is now celebrated worldwide as Labor Day, or May Day.

Labor in Indonesia
In Indonesia, the labor movement has its roots in the 18th century, and, like its US counterparts, better remuneration has always been at the core of its demands. In 1920, Soerjopranoto, now one of Indonesia’s national heroes, led a strike by the Personeel Fabrieks Bond labor union to demand higher wages for sugar mill workers in Java from their Dutch owners.
The governor-general of the Dutch East Indies quickly condemned the strike as communist political action against the government.
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06:39:39 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* RMG workers block Bandartilla road:

Workers of a laid-off garment factory today lay siege on the Agrabad-Patenga Airport Road disrupting traffic system for about an hour at Bandartilla area in the city.

The Newcon Garment in the Bardartilla area was announced lay-off by the management last month. On Thursday afternoon a section of workers – both permanent and daily-basis – brought out procession demanding their last month’s salary stating that the salary was supposed to be paid this morning.

Movement of vehicles on the busy Airport Road came to a halt from 3.00 pm. The police from the EPZ police station cleared the road at around 3.45 pm and brought the situation under control. Sub-inspector of the EPZ police station said most of the workers were working on daily-basis.

However, it was decided that the management will sit with the workers on Sunday next to peacefully settle the issue. Situation in the evening returned to normalcy, he added.
to read.
FE bd

* Building trade unions in Bangladesh will help prevent another Rana Plaza:

It is now just over a year since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh which killed 1,138 people and injured around 2,500 more. In the aftermath, international trade unions Uni Global and IndustriALL worked with unions such as the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) to develop the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Multinational corporations such as Inditex (which owns Zara) were put under immense pressure to sign the Accord.
Some 160 corporations signed up and the Accord now covers 1,500 factories and has completed its first round of inspections.
This is a serious bit of legislation, which has never been seen before in the fashion industry. It is a legally binding five-year plan, which commits corporations to disclose which factories they are using.

Yet even with the implementation of the Accord, there is a long way to go before Bangladesh’s garment industry becomes consistent with international standards and until workers are fully protected.

Campaigners agree that the key to progress is freedom of association and unionisation of garment workers.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of the NGWF, is adamant that “without unionisation there will not be change in the ready made garment (RMG) sector”.
Christy Hoffman, deputy general secretary of UNI Global Union, agrees: “There is no such thing as a truly safe factory without informed and engaged workers on the factory floor with an independent voice to raise problems and enforce solutions.”
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* Risky garment factories will be closed for relocation: Tofail:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said any readymade garment at risk of accident will be shut down immediately to avoid a tragedy like the Rana Plaza.

He was talking to reporters after a meeting of Commerce Ministry, Labour Ministry, BGMEA, BKMEA, ILO and the two platforms of international brands and retailers – Accord and Alliance – at the Secretariat.
The minister said stakeholders involved in the effort to ensure building safety in the RMG sector have agreed that a risky factory will be closed down when defects are found during ongoing inspection initiated by ILO and Accord.

So far, 20 risky factories have been identified and 14 already have shut down following the inspections of about 1,000 factories, he said.
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* Disagreements over parameter catch up with RMG factory inspection:

The ongoing RMG factory inspection programme is being hampered due to some disagreements over safety assessment parameter between the experts working for global retailers’ groups and those for Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

North American retailers’ group Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and European Union retailers’ platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh have identified structural flaws in five more garment factories in Dhaka and Chittagong this week but the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment has not taken any decision on the factories due to the disagreements, a government official said.
Labour ministry officials said that a review committee comprising representatives from the government, Accord, Alliance, BUET and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association would not take further decision on the factories referred by the global retailers’ teams before resolving the technical issues between the foreign and local experts.

Earlier the review committee shut seven readymade garment factories permanently and suspended production at 13 other units due to structural faults in the factory buildings identified by the global retailers’ teams.
In another development, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday held a meeting with representatives of BUET, Accord and Alliance and discussed the disagreements over safety assessment parameter at the secretariat office in Dhaka.
After the meeting Tofail told reporters that the disagreements over pound per square inch would soon be resolved through discussion.
In the meeting the commerce minister requested Accord to give workers wages during the closure of factories for remediation like Alliance, meeting source said.
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* Accord refuses to pay workers during factory closure:

The Accord — a platform of more than 150 brands, retailers and trade unions — declined Thursday to pay the workers during production suspension or shut down of any factory.

“Accord’s representative said that owners have to pay the workers in case of shut down of any factory. But I request the Accord to contribute to the workers payment as done by Alliance,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said.

The Accord will assist or provide fund when remedial work will be carried out, he added.

The minister was speaking after a meeting on fire, electrical and building safety assessment of the existing RMG factories with the representatives from apparel sector, BUET, ILO, Accord and Alliance.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, Accord Executive Director Rob Wayys, Alliance Managing Director M Rabin, BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam, BKMEA Vice President Md Hatem, ILO Country Director Srinivas Reddy and Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Inspector General Syed Ahmed, among others, were present at the meeting.
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FE bd

* Invest to cut energy cost: consultant Tofail asks Accord to pay workers of closed factories:

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday asked Accord, a platform of 150 clothing retailers and brands mostly from Europe, to pay half of the salaries of the workers who lost jobs temporarily due to factory inspection.

The instruction came as Alliance, another such panel of 27 US retailers and brands, has started doing the same.
The minister was briefing reporters after a meeting with the officials of Accord, Alliance, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and other stakeholders, at his secretariat in Dhaka.
The meeting was called to clear misunderstandings that arose out of the ongoing factory inspection.

So far, 1,000 factories were inspected and 16 were closed due to structural faults.
“The number (of closed units) is less than 2 percent of the total factories that were inspected. It’s good news for us. Our factories are less vulnerable,” the minister said, adding that no industrial accident took place after the Rana Plaza building collapse.
“So, this is also a good message for us that the owners have become more cautious about workplace safety.”
to read.
daily star bd

201440507 * Crack in RMG building: 50 hurt in evacuation:

Workers back to work in the evening

At least 50 panic-stricken garment workers have sustained injuries while trying to evacuate a crack-catcher building in Baraipara area of Kaliakair Upazila in the district on Wednesday.

According to the injured workers, the glasses of some windows of NAFA Apparels, a seven-storied building owned by Palmal group, have broken down and the building suddenly started shaking on Tuesday afternoon.

Later, the workers refused to continue work and left the building immediately after the incident. But, they were forced to join works on Wednesday.
But on Wednesday afternoon, some cracks were seen in different parts of the building  and some workers felt that the building was shaking.

After seeing the cracks, the workers started leaving the place in a hurry, leaving at least 50 people injured.
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* Textiles sector goes under new agency:

Bangladesh’s textiles sector will henceforth be under the Department of Textiles and not the Board of Investment (BoI).

The Cabinet has approved the shift in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting that the Ministry of Industries had proposed the change to clear confusion about who takes care of the sector.
He said: “The main matter is that textiles sector’s patron organisation will be the Department of Textiles, not the Board of Investment.” National Industrial Policy of 1991 stipulates that the ministry or department under which a sector falls will be its patron authority.

But, the secretary said, the Cabinet on October 7, 1992, had amended the policy bringing small and cottage industries under BSCIC, industries in export processing zones under BEPZA, and other units under the BoI.
He said confusion arose over textiles sector’s patron organisation since the amendment.
After the matter came to the attention of the Prime Minister, a meeting of the National Industries Development Council decided on June 20, 2012, that the ministries would follow the ‘allocation of business’ to act as the controlling authorities, according to a news agency.
to read.
FE bd

* US official praises progress in garment sector:

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Fatema Sumar yesterday praised Bangladesh for making improvements in the garment sector after the Rana Plaza collapse, the nation’s worst industrial disaster.

Sumar spoke during a courtesy call on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital.
Alam briefed her on the progress Bangladesh has made so far after the Rana Plaza collapse, saying it took a lot of dedication and commitment from all stakeholders to bring such changes.
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daily star bd

 * RMG exports defy odds:

20140509 DAILYSTAR export-performance

Garment exports continue to go from strength-to-strength one year after the Rana Plaza disaster, rising 17.79 percent year-on-year in April to $1.92 billion.

It fetched $19.97 billion in the first ten months of the fiscal year, up 15.37 percent year-on-year, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, however, expressed reservations about the figures, attributing the good performance to the release of backlogs.
Many factories, particularly those housed in shared buildings, are lacking in work orders, as international retailers adopt an overcautious approach towards sourcing, he said. About 45 percent of the country’s garment factories are housed in converted or shared buildings.
“Some international retailers have pulled out work orders from shared buildings over the last few months,” Azim added.
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daily star bd NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

* Dhaka to seek duty-free facility to Russian market in July:

Bangladesh will seek duty-free market access of its products to Russia when a high- powered official delegation visits that country in July next, officials said.

The commerce minister Tofail Ahmed will lead the Bangladesh delegation, the officials added.
Products, mainly ready made garment (RMG), pharmaceuticals, leather and leather goods, jute and jute goods and shrimp, will get top priority for discussion with the Putin administration for duty-free market access to Russia.
read more.
FE bd


* First job for new Benetton CEO – Pay Up! :

As Marco Airoldi takes the helm of Italian clothing brand Benetton, his first job must be to pay into the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund.
20140508 CCC-LBL

Today in Treviso, home of the Benetton Group, Marco Airoldi will be confirmed the Benetton Group’s new CEO – a role that will see him lead one of Italy’s biggest companies and one of the world’s major clothing brands through a time of change.

But before the group can look to the future they must act to remedy the past. After a year of mixed messages from Benetton regarding their commitment to ensuring compensation for all survivors and the victim’s families, Mr. Airoldi must set the record straight.

As Mr. Airoldi begins his tenure Clean Clothes Campaign lays out the facts regarding Benetton and Rana Plaza and demand he make his first job paying into the Donor Trust Fund.

The facts
What they say
: In September 2013, Benetton stated that they were committed to “playing a role in finding an industry-wide, multi- stakeholder approach to [compensation] – much like the Accord did for fire and safety”

The facts:
* Since December 2013, a
multi-stakeholder approach has been in place – The Arrangement. It has the full participation of the Government of Bangladesh, employers organisations, Bangladeshi and international trade unions and NGOs and major clothing brands and has the ILO as a neutral chair.

* Despite this still Benetton refuse to contribute.
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06:09:39 local time map of india INDIA

* ‘Powerloom sector needs modernisation’:

There is a clear need for modernising the powerloom sector,” Secretary, Union Ministry of Textiles, Zohra Chatterjee told Business Line here on Wednesday.

After visiting the powerloom cluster in Palladam and Avinashi in this region, Zohra observed that the sector is in dire need of modernisation. “The machinery, processes and technology are all outdated. There is an urgent need to make this sector more vibrant.

“The Ministry of Textiles has introduced a Hire Purchase Scheme under the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme to facilitate small and medium units in purchasing machinery. We are not sure how it will take off. The scheme nevertheless, is expected to benefit a large number of powerloom weavers.”

There are over 43 lakh powerloom weavers and each machine costs between Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 30 lakh, Chatterjee said. To a query on labour issues and labour laws, she said “Labour laws need to be simplified and also permit women to work at night.
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* Integrated framework for textile training in place:

After inaugurating the 38{+t}{+h}India Knit Fair, Zohra Chatterjee, Secretary, Union Ministry of Textiles, hailed the achievement by the textile and clothing sector in 2013.

“Éxport growth has been appreciable; and with the inauguration of the Knitwear Technology Mission Centre here, it is expected to take Tirupur to the next level of growth,” she told presspersons here.

Manpower shortage
“Between April and November 2013, the textile sector achieved a growth of 3.7 per cent, while the garment sector grew by 15 per cent.” To a query on manpower shortage, she said, “to address the trained manpower needs of textiles and related segments, an integrated framework for training (based on the industry’s need) has been formulated. The Ministry has proposed to operate projects within the XII Plan on an outlay of Rs. 1900 crore, with a target to train 15 lakh persons by 2017”.

Three components
The apparel training and design centre in Tirupur has trained over 4,500 persons till date. “Funds are available for training. Setting up sector skill councils for apparel and textiles is yet another important initiative under the skill development scheme,” she said, highlighting the three broad components of the scheme.
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05:39:39 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* It’s a joke:

Some workers’ organisations have recently asked for the minimum wage to be raised to Rs20,000 per month. Minimum wage is basically defined as the minimum or lowest amount that is paid to employees.

Some of the indicators used to set minimum wage are GDP, inflation, productivity, growth, labour supply and demand etc. Economists disagree whether increasing minimum wage helps or hurts economic growth, supply and demand of workers, poverty, jobs and other areas of economy.

However, this is the wrong debate. The real debate should be about what kind of society we want to live in and what kind of world we want to leave behind for future generations.
If we want a world with equality, equity, fairness and justice for all regardless to color, race, religion, gender, ethnicity or nationality then the debate should be whether increasing minimum wage will move us closer to or farther from that goal.

The discussion about minimum wage will be justifiable and make sense in a world with paucity of resources and generalised want and deprivation, where it would keep the poor from starving to death.
However, when we see extreme wealth on the one hand and extreme poverty on the other, then talk of minimum wage is not only callous but an outright fraud to keep poor people ignorant.
Economists and other experts need to go beyond minimum wage and worry about the system of skewed wealth distribution.
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* Textile associations demand bailing out industry from crisis:

Textile associations have demanded the government to bail out textile industry from current crisis by allowing one time 10 percent compensation rebate on exports from March to September, exempting export purchases from sales tax, reducing cost of doing business, inject LNG in the system and linking mark up with LIBOR.

These demands were made at a joint press conference of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), All Pakistan Bed Sheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBHUMA), All Pakistan Textile Sizing Industries Association (APTSIA) and All Pakistan Cotton Power-Looms Association (APCPLA) here on Wednesday.

Addressing the press conference, Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Chairman PTEA said that textile industry in Punjab has reached at verge of disaster.
Sudden surge of around 12-15% in rupee value against the dollar has disturbed the business cycle of entire textile chain and put a direct inventory loss of 78 billion rupees, he added.
He demanded one time 10 percent compensation rebate on exports from March to September to absorb unexpected shock.
He said due to energy shortage, the sizing industry was operating on 50 percent capacity and thousands of workers had been rendered jobless in a month.
read more.

* Textile industry makes impassioned plea for bailout :

20140508 TRIBUNE
Representatives of the textile sector urged the government to urgently address the issues faced by them. PHOTO: FILE

At a joint press conference attended by major textile associations of the country on Wednesday, a collective plea was made to the government to bail the industry out its current state of turmoil.

Industry representatives asked the government to allow a 10% compensation rebate on exports from March to September, exempt export purchases from sales tax, reduce cost of business, inject liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the system and link markup with the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (Libor).

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood warned that the textile industry in Punjab had been on the verge of disaster. “A sudden surge of around 12-15% in the rupee’s value against the dollar has disturbed business cycle, causing a direct inventory loss of Rs78 billion,” he said.

Mahmood said 30-40% working capital of textile exporters was stuck in sales tax and customs duty rebate, creating a severe liquidity crunch.
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* No more bailouts, please :

20140509 TRIBUNE
What the textile sector needs from the government right now is not more free money but the rude shock of having to fend for themselves and investing in competitiveness. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

In what can only be described as a highly predictable move, the textile lobby has once again tried to hijack the national economic agenda and is pleading for a bailout from the government instead of dealing with the sector’s own structural weaknesses and incompetence.

The most recent laundry list of demands was presented at a press conference on May 7, where industry representatives effectively asked to be exempted from the few taxes that they still pay and to be given loans at absurdly subsidised rates.

An irony that may, perhaps, be lost upon Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is the fact that this latest round of begging from the perennially pleading textile lobby is due to one of the policies he is most proud of: pushing the exchange rate down to below Rs100 to the US dollar. This has reduced the rupee value of the dollar revenues that textile companies earn when they export their products. As compensation for those reduced revenues (in rupee terms), they are now demanding that the government foot the bill for lowering their costs. The height of insanity for the government would be to give in to those demands.
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* Chinese tycoons to provide tech aid for setting up Apparel Park: Shahbaz:

Vice President Shandong Ruyi Group of China Jerry Liu met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif today.

Matters regarding promotion of cooperation in textile, garments and energy sectors besides pace of implementation of the agreements reached between Punjab government and Shandong Ruyi Group were discussed in the meeting.

Talking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that several Chinese companies are working in Pakistan and the growing collaboration between Punjab government and Chinese companies is strengthening the friendship between China and Pakistan. He said that China is a sincere and reliable friend of Pakistan and Pakistan is proud of its friendship with China. He said that investment by the Chinese companies in energy and textile sectors in Pakistan augurs well.

He said that Punjab government is setting up Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park over a large area near Motorway and investment by Shandong Ruyi Group in the park is welcome.

He said that Chinese group will provide technical assistance in the establishment of the Apparel Park. The Chief Minister further said that the consortium of Chinese group will set up two coal power plants of 660 megawatt each in Sahiwal and the foundation stone of the coal power plants will be laid during current month.
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* Envoy says Pakistan valuable trade partner of Netherlands:

Ambassador of the Netherlands to Pakistan Marcel de Vink has stated that Pakistan is a valuable trade partner of Netherlands.

He said this during his meeting with Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi here on Thursday. The Federal Minister stated that the textile industry constitutes an important sector of economy of Pakistan.
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* Withdrawal of 5 percent duty from import of cotton yarn: ECC’s move to have negative impact on economy: PAF chief:

Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) on Wednesday apprehended that the government’s move of withdrawing five per cent duty exemption from the import of cotton yarn would have negative impact on the country’s economy.

Talking to Business Recorder, PAF’s Chairman Muhammad Javed Bilwani said the government should make the market open for value-added textile sector for acquiring raw material without any hurdles.
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* Aptma urges govt to resolve energy crisis:

All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman Mohammad Yasin Siddik on Wednesday urged the government to resolve the energy crisis as it was having a negative impact on the textile industry.

Speaking to newsmen at the Aptma office, he said if the government did not take corrective measures, the situation would worsen and textile units would suffer more.

He said that around one million spindles have closed down owing to energy crisis and high cost of doing business.
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* Severe loadshedding, gas outages: one million spindles stop working across country: APTMA chief:

About one million spindles shut operations across the country due to severe load shedding of electricity and gas that increased the cost of production of textile industry manifold.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Muhammad Yasin Siddik, Chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) said due to severe load shedding losses of the textile industry are unbearable and the cost of production has increased manifold as compared to the competitors in the region.
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* $2 million export orders expected: TMA delegation sees about achieving goals in Australia:

A delegation of Towel Manufacturers’ Association of Pakistan (TMA) on a visit to Australia expects to execute export orders worth two million dollars.

According to a message received here, TMA delegation comprising prominent manufacturers-cum-exporters of terry towels and home textiles has successfully accomplished its desired goal.
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* GSP Plus yet to reflect in textile stocks:

The grant of generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) Plus by the European Union to Pakistan doesn’t seem to do any good to the textile companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) with 46 of them having recorded zero turnover in April 2014, The News learnt on Wednesday.

Out of total 569 listed companies, 111 stocks registered zero turnover in April 2014, albeit there was an overall 6.5 percent increase in the KSE 100-index during the month.
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There are updates under ‘special reports’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 5: 20140307- NOW
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 3 20140307-now
* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 4 20140314- NOW


* Four killed in E China textile plant fire

* All work, no play for factory workers
* Economic slowdown prolongs substandard work conditions
* Vietnam’s garment exports offer vast potentials

* Supreme Court denies bail to 21 rights defenders and workers
* For union leader on run, militant attitude prevails
* After 2nd Adjournment, Speedy Trial for 23 Protesters Unlikely
* Police presence has strikers on edge
* Six Unionists Charged With Incitement After Roadblock
* Report Shows Workforce Still Lacks Skills
* Kamako Chhnoeum: Program Findings from 1 January to March 31, 2014
* BetterFactories Media updates 8-9 May
* BetterFactories Media updates 24 April-7 May
* Cambodian garment & textile exports grow 5.81% in Jan-Feb

* A Higher Minimum Wage Is Crucial for Indonesia

* RMG workers block Bandartilla road
* Building trade unions in Bangladesh will help prevent another Rana Plaza
* Risky garment factories will be closed for relocation: Tofail
* Disagreements over parameter catch up with RMG factory inspection
* Accord refuses to pay workers during factory closure
* Invest to cut energy cost: consultant Tofail asks Accord to pay workers of closed factories
* Crack in RMG building: 50 hurt in evacuation
* Textiles sector goes under new agency
* US official praises progress in garment sector
* RMG exports defy odds
* Dhaka to seek duty-free facility to Russian market in July
* First job for new Benetton CEO – Pay Up!

* ‘Powerloom sector needs modernisation’
* Integrated framework for textile training in place

* It’s a joke
* Textile associations demand bailing out industry from crisis
* Textile industry makes impassioned plea for bailout
* No more bailouts, please
* Chinese tycoons to provide tech aid for setting up Apparel Park: Shahbaz
* Envoy says Pakistan valuable trade partner of Netherlands
* Withdrawal of 5 percent duty from import of cotton yarn
* Aptma urges govt to resolve energy crisis
* Severe loadshedding, gas outages: one million spindles stop working across country
* $2 million export orders expected: TMA delegation sees about achieving goals in Australia
* GSP Plus yet to reflect in textile stocks

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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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