In the news 14-16 June 2014

07:04:54 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Employers want low minimum wage increase in Vietnam:

20140615 THANHNIENews
Vietnam’s garment industry is expected to affected the most by minimum wage increase. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

Employers’ organizations have asked that minimum wage increase be kept below 12 percent in 2015 or halted altogether to ensure sustainable employment in Vietnam.
“We expect 2015 to be another difficult year and many companies will tighten recruitment and business expansion if there is a high increase in minimum wage,” Phung Quang Huy, director of Employers’ Bureau at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to National Wage Council regulations, plans involving minimum wage adjustments have to be based on an agreement between representatives of employers, employees and the government.
The minimum wage is currently between VND1.9-2.7 million (US$90-128) a month, depending on the locations.
At a recent meeting the on minimum wage held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the International Labor Organization in Vietnam, many representatives from employers’ organizations recommended that minimum wages increase in 2015 in accordance with the growth of the Gross Domestic Product and inflation.
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* Middle East, Africa potential untapped:

20140614 VNNews
Workers at the 10-10 Garment Co make mosquito-nets for export to Africa.Viet Nam’s trade with the bloc has risen sharply in recent years, reaching US$4.3 billion last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

Vietnamese firms should be proactive in boosting exports to the promising African and Middle Eastern markets, a seminar heard in HCM City on Thursday.

Together, the two regions have 70 countries with a population of more than 1.2 billion and a huge demand for all kinds of goods, especially consumer goods, offering great potential for Vietnamese exports, said Pham Trung Nghia, deputy director of the Middle East, Africa, West and South Asia Markets Department, said.

African countries need consumer goods, food and foodstuff, machinery, and drugs while the Middle East needs food and foodstuff, agricultural produce, seafood, and consumer goods, he said, adding that Viet Nam is capable of meeting all these needs.
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07:04:54 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Cambodian minimum wage activists “won’t be silenced by weapons and bullets”:

There is an arc that stretches over the past 10 years and connects, in blood, the fight for a living minimum wage for Cambodia’s 600,000 garment workers.

At one end is the 2004 assassination of Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea, who had been pushing for an increased minimum wage, but was shot dead in broad daylight by a helmeted gunman on Thursday 22 January, 2004, as he bought a newspaper in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

A decade later, on Friday 3 January 2014, five people were shot dead in Phnom Penh by military police officers during a second day of garment strikes for a US$60 increase to the US$100 minimum wage on a dusty stretch of road that is home to garment workers and the factories in which they make big-brand clothes.

In these protests, 23 unionists and workers were rounded up and summarily incarcerated in a remote prison bordering Vietnam awaiting trial on charges that included incitement, aggravated intentional violence and the destruction of public property. Two were bailed.

After five months, during which the rest of the men languished in prison, the trials began.
Outside the barricaded court, supporters held signs that read: “The world is watching,” while others scuffled with police.
On Friday 30 May, all 23 were found guilty, but released from prison on suspended sentences.

Of these, the president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDEA), Vorn Pao, has become a symbol of the minimum-wage movement—something he remains committed to despite ill health, compounded by being beaten during his arrest, and a suspended sentence hanging over his head.
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* Ocean Factory Dispute Headed to Arbitration Council:

The Ministry of Labor on Friday referred the ongoing Ocean factory labor dispute to the Arbitration Council, after another round of failed negotiations between workers and factory management.

Workers have been holding ongoing protests for three weeks after management announced it would pay workers only $15 this month after the factory suspended operations on May 26 because of a lack of orders.

Vong Sovan, deputy director general of the Ministry of Labor’s general department of labor conflict, said the ministry met with workers, management and unions for two hours Friday and in the end decided to send the case to the non-binding council.

“This is the final agreement by the factory and union to send the case together to the Arbitration Council,” he said.
Cheng Chhan, a worker representative from the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said they were optimistic about the outcome.
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* Union leader to face another day in court:

The leader of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union is due to appear in court this afternoon for a third round of pretrial questioning over a case stemming from a strike that ended more than six months ago.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn, who is appealing bail requirements that prevent him from holding public gatherings, remains unsure whether the complaint of incitement filed by a security guard at SL Garment Processing will make it to trial.

“Based on the case, I’m not involved,” said Thorn, who was charged in April. Questioning is to begin at 3pm.

Depending on the investigating judge and prosecutors’ decision, Thorn and union activist Pav Phanna could both stand trial for inciting violence during a nearly four-month-long strike involving thousands of workers. At the height of the strike, police opened fire with live ammunition during a riot on November 12, killing a street food vendor.

SL security guard Sath Sophai filed a court complaint against Thorn and Phanna, saying he was injured during the course of the strike.

In addition to the $25,000 paid to the court last month and the stipulation he may not host gatherings, Thorn’s bail agreement requires he stay away from SL. Thorn and attorney Kim Socheat have yet to hear from the appellate court about the appeal they filed in April.

Socheat has told the Post that he believes SL is behind the lawsuit.
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* Despite Employer’s Concessions, Workers Vow to Continue Protest:

Workers at the Beautiful Spring Footwear factory in Takeo province refused to end a two-day protest on Saturday after management ceded to most of their demands but refused to raise their good-attendance bonus.

The factory’s roughly 1,000 workers started protesting outside the building on Friday, two days after a production-line manager allegedly threw a shoe at a pregnant woman.

In addition to seeing the line manager fired, the protesters’ 19 demands include an increase in their monthly bonus for good attendance from $10 to $15, a lunch allowance of about $1, more fans and more purified drinking water.

Tram Kak district deputy police chief Sok Sokchea, who attended negotiations at the factory on Saturday, said Sunday that the factory agreed to all the protesters’ demands—including the line manager’s termination—except the bonus increase because the factory had opened only recently and could not afford it.

“The negotiations will continue tomorrow [Monday], but it seems like it will not work because the factory could not meet the workers’ demands,” Mr. Sokchea said.
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* Plan to ‘end factory strife’:

A new programme has been launched to improve industrial relations between garment factories and unions.

The initiative announced yesterday was put together by the International Labour Organization (ILO), European clothing giant H&M, and a number of other partners.

The initiative hopes to “improve the unions’ ability to genuinely represent workers” by offering training to both factories and unionists, and to “improve communication and negotiation skills,” the announcement read.

The garment industry has been hit by a series of strikes in the past year, and Joel Preston, a consultant with the Community Legal Education Centre, was sceptical that the programme would catch on.
“Previous examples of similar efforts have failed pretty miserably. I think it would be fantastic, but I don’t think it’s very likely,” he said on Friday.

Preston pointed out that to make the new industrial-relations programme work, unions and factory owners would have to act in good faith.
“That’s a reflection of factory owners wanting and needing to make a profit at almost any cost, and the first ones to bear that cost are almost always the workers,” he said.
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PPP new

* H&M, ILO Form New Industrial Relations Initiative:

In an effort to bring stability back to the country’s embattled but crucial garment industry, the Ministry of Labor has joined forces with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Swedish clothing giant H&M in a campaign for unions and factories to sign direct agreements to improve industrial relations.

The initiative is being funded by H&M—the world’s second-largest clothing retailer by sales—the Swedish government and Swedish trade union IF Metall, and comes after a year in which the industry has been plagued by a record-setting number of strikes and a nationwide protest for higher wages, which started in late December and was lethally suppressed in early January.

“The project will provide training and awareness-raising to eliminate unlawful practices, including bribery and corruption, and promote enterprise-based approaches based on international standards, including in collective bargaining and gender equality,” the ILO said in a statement on Friday.
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* Cambodian garment & textile exports grow 8.98% in Q1 2014:

The exports of garments and textiles from Cambodia grew by 8.98 percent to US$ 1.173 billion in the first three months of the current year, compared to exports of $1.076 billion made during the same period last year, according to the consolidated released by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).
As per GMAC’s revised month-wise garment and textile export figures, Cambodia exported $287.07 million worth of goods in January 2014, followed by exports of goods valued at $440.77 million and $445.73 million in February and March, respectively.
From January to March 2014, Cambodia exported $461.59 million worth of garments and textiles to the US, followed by $400.21 million to the EU, $95.18 million to Canada, $77.67 million to Japan, and $138.92 million to other markets, the data showed.
In recent years, Cambodia’s apparel and textile exports have grown in leaps and bounds. From an earning of mere $1.156 billion from clothing and textile exports in 2001, the figure grew to $2.19 billion in 2005, $3.008 billion in 2010, and $4.047 billion in 2011.
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* Two’s company at CSX:

20140616 PPP 9-grand-twin
Workers at Grand Twins International’s Phnom Penh factories piece together Adidas-branded clothing last week.Photo by Vireak Mai.

It may not have all the glitter, adrenaline or the iconic tolling bell of Wall Street, but today, the usually deserted Cambodian Stock Exchange (CSX) will be a hive of activity.

After first hinting at an initial public offering more than two years ago, garment manufacturer Grand Twins International (GTI) and its chief underwriting firm, Phnom Penh Securities (PPS), have steered their way through the listing process to become the country’s first private-company stock offering since the CSX launched in 2011.
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PPP new

08:04:54 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Indonesian Clothing Firms Cash In on Football Mania:

Manufacturing of Garments Inside a Sritex Textile Factory As GDP Predicted To Expand
Workers at Sri Rejeki Isman factory in Sukoharjo, Central Java, monitor operations in the spinning area. (Bloomberg Photo/Dadang Tri)

Football fever will outshine electoral excitement as a fillip to apparel sales, the Indonesia Textile Association chairman predicted over the weekend.

Ade Sudrajad said the association estimated supporter outfits for the 2014 World Cup would add 15 percent to Indonesia’s clothing exports, bringing to $3.5 billion sales over the first six months of this year.

Those $525 million worth of jerseys and jackets would boost overall textile product exports to $13.5 billion, he said.

Sales have also been driven by the demand for T-shirts and other campaign clothing for legislative and presidential elections, Ade said. However since that demand is confined to the local market, Ade said domestic sales were estimated to rise by a little less, to $7.5 billion this year from $7 billion last year.
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06:04:54 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

 * More Workers Fired after Forming a Union:

More than 60 workers at a Bangladesh washing facility have been fired since late April and at least one union leader has been physically assaulted in what their union says is a campaign to end union representation at the plant.

One worker, the union treasurer, was fired while she was pregnant—effectively ending her union activity and her maternity benefits, says SGSF. Replacement workers are reportedly being hired only on the condition that they not join the union, and false criminal charges have been filed against several one union  and two members including the union’s general secretary, according to SGSF.

The Solidarity Center’s Dhaka office sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor and Employment on April 23 asking ministry officials to resolve the terminations, illegal under Bangladesh law, and SGSF and the plant union have filed formal labor complaints. To date, government agencies have not responded.
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20140613 * 15 hurt as RMG workers clash with cops in city:

20140613 FE

At least 10 garment workers were injured as they clashed with police at North Badda in the city on Friday during their demonstrations demanding arrears be paid.

Locals said several hundred workers of ‘Tuba Fashion’ situated at North Badda started demonstrations at noon demanding payment of their due salaries and allowances.
At one stage, they blocked the main road near ‘Fuji Tower’ at about 3pm, disrupting traffic on the road.
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UNB banglanews24NEW FE bd

* RMG inspection review panel resumes operation:

The government-set review panel on the readymade garment factory inspection has started functioning again after about one month of lull as the experts of global retailers’ groups and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology have given assurance that they would reduce their differences over safety assessment parameters.

Sources involved with the process said the review panel comprising representatives from the government, Accord on Fire and Building Safety, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, BUET and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association would visit two factories in Dhaka and Narayanganj today.
The EU retailers’ group, Accord, in its inspection found structural faults at the factories and suggested immediate evacuation.
The review panel reassesses the factories for which the inspection teams of the retailers’ groups suggest closure.

Earlier, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment had kept halted the function of the review panel due to disagreements over safety assessment parameters between the experts of Accord and Alliance and BUET and had asked them to resolve the issues.
The parties held two meetings on the disagreements mainly about concrete strength with the International Labour Organisation moderating the meetings.
Accord has agreed to consider the concrete strength (brick chip) at 2,050 pound per square inch instead of 1,500, sources said.
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* Accelerating export growth in RMG sector:

The projected export earnings target of US$34.20-billion from the readymade garments (RMG) sector for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2014-15 is unlikely to be achieved.

Major stakeholders think that an 11 per cent rise in the earnings over the current fiscal year’s export target of $30.50 billion is an upbeat forecast and there is little logic behind such a rosy projection.

During last one year, especially after the Rana Plaza collapse, about 200 factories were closed due to various reasons including political violence, failure to meet compliance requirements and ongoing factory assessment. Many more factories may be closed due to the ongoing inspection programmes of the global brands and the government.

Following the disagreement over the issue of concrete strength, an official review committee has stopped visiting garment units identified as risky by the Accord. BGMEA also requested the Accord to follow a single harmonised training curriculum aiming to convey similar messages to the workers.

On the other hand, the government is in a dilemma over making its inspection reports on RMG factories public as it wants to scrutinise the necessary legal and procedural aspects.
But Accord has already made some of their assessment reports public on their respective websites.
It is also in the process of uploading more reports in the coming days.
But any report of factory assessment carried out by the BUET on behalf of the government and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is yet to be made public though different rights groups are demanding publication of  the reports.

Recently, the Human Rights Watch has called upon the government to disclose the findings of ongoing apparel factory safety inspections carried out by the government and other groups to help the workers know actual conditions of their workplaces.

In July 2013, Bangladesh, the EU, and the ILO agreed to a compact on labour rights and factory safety which were later joined by the US government, to create a publicly accessible database listing all RMG and knitwear factories, as a platform for reporting labour, fire and building safety inspections.
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FE bd

* Tofail seeks GSP restoration, apparels’ duty-free access to US market:

Steve Chabot assures of discussing it with Congress colleagues

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has requested US Congressman Steve Chabot to support Bangladesh for GSP restoration as well as granting duty-free market access of Bangladeshi apparels to the US market.

In response, Chabot, also Chairman of the US Congress Sub Committee on Asia and the Pacific said he would keep on discussing with his colleagues in the US Congress over restoration of GSP benefit for Bangladesh.
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daily star bd

* Certain quarters downplay BD’s achievements: Tofail:

He urges US media to project BD’s impressive achievements

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has expressed displeasure over a negative campaign by a certain quarters against Bangladesh in the world despite having a lot of achievements in many areas.

“Certain quarters tend to downplay the achievements of the country while overplay its negatives,” he said while exchanging views with major retailers of the US in New York on Friday.

Tofail said the booming RMG sector which has turned Bangladesh into the second largest exporter of the RMG in the world has greatly contributed towards empowering women and stabilising society in a big way, according to a message received here on Saturday.

He said it was his earnest desire to see that the rest of the world, particularly the Western buyers, get the correct perspective of the RMG sector in the country as distorted picture might have misled some quarters about the ground reality in Bangladesh.

Tofail, however, expressed satisfaction that despite the negative propaganda after the Rana Plaza collapse, the RMG export witnessed a significant growth for which he deeply appreciated the retailers, including the US buyers.

He gave a list of the significant steps taken by the present government, particularly after the Rana Plaza incident, while referring to the various reforms and amendments in the regulatory regime, which sets out the issue of the workers safety and labour rights as foremost priorities.
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* July-May exports post 14% growth despite adversities:

Country’s export earnings from apparel products during the July-May period of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14 grew by more than 14 per cent over the corresponding time of last fiscal, notwithstanding some daunting challenges, including the adverse impact of Rana Plaza tragedy and a political impasse stemming from the issues of polls.

Export receipts from apparels, including knit and woven items, stood at $22.17 billion during the first eleven months of the outgoing fiscal, up from $19.31 billion in the corresponding period of last financial year, according to official data.

In the meantime, trade officials expressed the hope that export earnings from the apparel products would reach $24.75 billion at the end of the current fiscal. In tune with the uptrend, the government is going to set a $27.47 billion apparel-export target with an average 10.74 percent growth for the upcoming fiscal year (2014-15).
“Despite all the negative incidents, especially Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the sector’s performance is good,” Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) former President Fazlul Hoque told the FE.
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* Textile, apparel makers exempted from duties:

Import of fire safety equipment

A gazette notification was issued last week, limiting the facility only for the RMG industry

Import of three types of fire safety equipments has been declared duty-free to facilitate ensuring safer working condition in the apparel factories.

The equipments are fire resistant door, sprinkler system and equipment, and emergency light with exit sign and double heads with a public interest view.
A gazette notification was issued last week, limiting the facility only for the RMG industry.
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* Chinese co to invest $1.2b for garment park development:

State-owned Chinese firm Orient International (Holding) Co Ltd will make an investment of around $1.2 billion for the construction of Baushia Garment Park on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the Munshigonj district for relocation of garment factories from within and around the capital.

The project cost will cover land development including payment of land value to owners and build the garment park with all its infrastructure and utility services ready for factories to move in, the BGMEA Secretary General Ehsan Ul Fattah told The Financial Express Thursday last.

He was on the Prime Minister’s entourage during her visit to China from June 6 to 11 along with BGMEA president Atiqul Alam. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the BGMEA and Chinese state firm on the project.

The BGMEA functionary said the Chinese firm will bear the entire cost of the project. The garment park will be located over 490 acres of land. The government will acquire the land while the Chinese firm will pay the cost of acquisition, estimated at around Tk 8.0 billion as per initial estimate.
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FE bd


* ACC needs to dig deeper into Rana Plaza case:

The approval by the Anti-Corruption Commission of the case to be filed this week with the Savar police against 17 people over their alleged involvement in irregularities in the construction of Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24, 2013 leaving at least 1,138 dead and two thousand more injured, mostly permanently, has raised questions.

It has done so because, according to a New Age report on Friday, the 17 people accused do not include Sohel Rana, one of the key suspects in the incident although his parents, the architect of the building, the local municipal mayor and some other officials, and the owners of the apparel factories housed in the building were included.

It is widely known that Sohel Rana was a local leader of the youth front of the ruling Awami League. Moreover, he was well connected to the then local lawmaker, also belonging to the ruling party.
And it was his political influence that largely gave indulgence to local municipality authorities in giving permission for the illegal extension of the building to 01 stories. More importantly, everything — having the architect design the building, the approval of the building’s plan and the construction of the building — was reportedly done under his direct supervision.
The management of the building also reportedly lay with him.
Without the political clout Rana enjoyed, it was hardly possible for one to use the building designed as a shopping mall for industrial purposes, something that, according to experts, significantly contributed to the collapse of the building.
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* ACC sues 17 for Rana Plaza construction irregularity:

ACC deputy director SM Mofidul Islam files the case

The Anti-Corruption Commission has filed a case against 17 people including parents of Sohel Rana for their alleged involvement with construction irregularities in building the nine-storey Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24 last year.

ACC deputy director SM Mofidul Islam filed the case with Savar police station on Sunday afternoon.

The ACC, however, did not included the name of Sohel Rana with the case as the building was owned by his father and the name of Sohel Rana was not found in any of the documented evidences, an ACC official said.

The accused in the case include Savar municipality mayor Refayet Ullah, Rana’s father Abdul Khalek and mother Morjina Begum, the architect of the building and associate professor of the architecture discipline department of Khulna University ATM Masud Reza, Savar municipality ward 7 councilor Mohammad Ali Khan, and three garment unit owners – Phantom Apparels Ltd Chairman Mohammad Aminul Islam, New Wave Bottom Limited Managing Director Bazlus Samad and Ether Tex Limited Chairman Azizur Rahman.
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* Case lodged over Bangladesh building collapse:

Anti-graft commission accuses 17 people of violations over the 2013 garment factory collapse that killed 1,130 people.

Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case with local police accusing 17 people of breaching regulations over the construction of a building that collapsed last year, killing nearly 1,130 mostly garment workers, officials have said.

The April 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza, built on swampy ground outside Dhaka, ranks among the world’s worst industrial accidents and sparked a global outcry for improved safety standards in the world’s second-largest exporter of ready-made garments.

“Our investigation found, they grossly breached the building code,” commission spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattachajee said on Sunday.

The accused include the parents of Mohammad Sohel Rana – the individual previously cited as the owner of Rana Plaza – as well as a local mayor, engineers and three owners of garment factories that used the building, the ACC officials said.
They do not include Rana himself, who was arrested after a four-day hunt shortly after the building collapsed, apparently trying to flee across the border to India.
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05:34:54 local time map of india INDIA

* Govt may hike incentives for textile sector to boost exports:

The government is expected to increase incentives for the labour-intensive textiles industry in the forthcoming Budget to boost sector’s exports and manufacturing.

As a part of support to the textiles sector, the government may enhance allocation for the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) in the Budget, sources said.

TUFS, launched in 1999, facilitates modernisation and upgradation of textiles industry by providing credit at reduced rates to entrepreneurs both in the organised and the unorganised sector.
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* Who moved my classic cotton?:

20140615 THEHINDU
A worker dries coloured cotton yarn at a small-scale weaving unit near Kochi, Kerala kk mustafah

Why are apparel stores flooded with synthetic fabric even in the peak of summer? Time to take stock

Aquick meander around any high-street store and there’s something amiss — shuddh swadeshi cotton, as also its other avatars such as mul .

Replacing them on the racks are new synthetic polyester blends. Fashion labels such as Zara, Mango, Chemistry, Vero Moda, Promod, Forever 21, W and Forever Young have, for the past few seasons, been saving their cottons for basic merchandise such as T-shirts, blazers, spaghetti-strap tank tops and vests.

Even summer collections, which used to be dominated by gossamer muls and cottons, are populated by chiffon and georgette. The last bastions of muls are indigenous brands such as Anokhi, Global Desi, Cotton World, FabIndia and The Shop. Their aesthetic and prices are not in sync with the frequency of global trends.

But it’s not that ’70s show again. The new polyesters may not absorb sweat, but can draw it away. And this preference is not discouraging cotton either. A quick commerce lesson: India is the second-largest producer of cotton after China, and contributes to 18 per cent of world’s cotton.
Then what explains fashion’s current infatuation with nylon, polyester and acrylic? Wasn’t cotton’s war against synthetics won in the ’70s and ’80s, after terylene and its shiny ilk made us sweat through the decades? The reversal is effected by two factors: the shooting price of cotton and polyester’s evolution into a fabric we don’t want to tear off our body.
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* India’s garment exports may cross $17bn in FY’15: CMAI:

The exports of garments from India are likely to cross the US$ 17 billion mark in fiscal year 2014-15, according to the Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India (CMAI).
Addressing a press conference to announce the 59th National Garment Fair, chairman of CMAI Board of Trustees Premal Udani said India’s overall textile exports stood at $32 billion in FY’14, with apparel exports contributing $15 billion, Economic Times reported quoting PTI.
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Fibre2fashion et

05:34:54 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Lankan Apparel Industry heading for better times:

The Sri Lankan apparel trade today is well renowned around the world to be the most cutting edge and innovative when it comes to apparel manufacturing in the world.

With a very long history of manufacturing in the island and throughout the challenges which this industry has faced to this day the garment manufacturing stands much stronger than it has been ever before where the exports from this industry within a year increased by 11% (which was the biggest increase annually in 2013 compared with initial years) and by end November 2013 the exports earnings from this industry in Sri Lanka stood at US $2.876 Billion which is a substantial amount of foreign exchange bought into the country by a single industry.

Comparatively compared with our competing countries in this trade which are China, India, Bangladesh and upcoming countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia our apparel industry is quite small.
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05:04:54 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* No casualties: Fire guts garment factory in Port Qasim:

20140616 TRIBUNE
According Fire Brigade officials, it was a third degree fire which broke out at around 8 pm. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD NOMAN

Fire broke out on Sunday in a garment factory located near Port Qasim Bridge in the limits of Bin Qasim Police station. No casualties were reported.

“The factory was closed due to Sunday and only the watchman was on duty when a short-circuit occurred inside the factory which caused the inferno,” Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Bin Qasim Abdul Fateh Sangri said.

He said police reached the spot within minutes and informed the fire brigade. The garment factory and Agha Steel both are located along the Port Qasim Bridge, “We tried to remove inflammable materials and other goods from the factory and although the fire tenders reached in time, the fire had spread inside the industrial unit,” Sangri said.

According Fire Brigade officials, it took 28 fire tenders  to control the blaze.
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* Labour and social welfare get Rs100m less than last year:

This year, the Sindh government has allocated Rs257.04 million for developmental schemes in the provincial labour and social welfare department – almost Rs100 million less than last year’s budget.

The provincial government has set a budget of Rs103.68 million for eight development projects for the labour department while a budget of Rs153.36 million has been set for eight projects in the social welfare department.

To help the labourers improve their skills, the labour department has planned two projects at an estimated cost of Rs67.49 million and plan to complete it by June 2017. Around Rs10 million have been kept aside for two projects to set up a computer training laboratory at the National Institute of Labour Administration and Data Automation and Information project which haven’t been initiated yet.
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* Faisalabad industrial zone: Chinese group to invest $2b, set up largest spinning unit:

 A major Chinese group has purchased about one-fourth of land in an industrial zone, run by the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC), and is expected to make an investment of $2 billion to set up a big cotton spinning facility.

Shandong Ruyi Technology Group has bought 1,036 acres of land out of the total area of 4,500 acres. It will name its part of the project as “Shandong Ruyi Textile Park”, officials say.

Overall, 72% of land has been sold in the M3 Industrial City, one of the largest schemes in the country. Many leading industrialists of the city, known as Manchester of Pakistan, have also acquired big pieces of land for setting up industrial units.
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* Readymade garments exports fetch $1430.43m:

The first three quarters of this year have witnessed a reasonable boost in export of readymade garments which touched US$ 1430.43 million mark, showing an increase of 9.36 percent as compared to same period last year.

The readymade garments area fetched US $ 1308.002 million in July-March 2012-13 while the exports also increased to 21.806 million dozens in various types of readymade garments this year from 19.971 million dozens last year.

Textile Ministry sources on Sunday said readymade garment industry has emerged as one of the important small scale industries in the country as its products have large demand both at home and abroad.

The local requirements of readymade garments are almost met by this industry, they said and added garment industry is also a good source of providing employment opportunities to a large number of people at a very low capital investment.
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* Pakistan textile industry profitability and challenges:

20140616 theNATION

Pakistan is the 1st largest exporter and 4th largest producer of the cotton yarn around the world.

Pakistan textile is the backbone of Pakistan’s industry. Over the past few years, textile sector face a huge decline in national and international market but now it is coming back to its original form and start helping the Pakistan’s economy.

As a largest industry of the country, textile is shining star in terms of profitability because of regional demand and profit margin. We took the sample of five famous textile companies operating in Pakistan including Azgard-9, Al-karam textile, Gul Ahmed, Saif Textile Mills, Faisalabad City Garment.
We did the profitability analysis of these sampled companies which tell us the detailed of the profitability ratios of the industry. These kinds of ratio’s information are very important for the investors and shareholders who wanted to invest in the industry in the future. The profit of the industry is increasing very quickly with the passage of time.
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the NATIONnew

* PTEA irked at high cost of business, power crisis:

To gain a competitive edge, the government should reduce the cost of doing business as the textile exports are at disadvantage in respect of production costs as compared to their competitors in the region, demanded the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association.

PTEA Vice Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and Chairman Adil Tahir said that due to inefficient and unfriendly socio-economic environment, the cost of doing business in Pakistan had escalated enormously due to intermittent raise in the prices of raw material and production inputs rendering our exports uncompetitive in international market.

“Textile industry in Punjab is facing the issue of competitiveness not only with rival countries but also within the country. Energy constraints have halted the industrial wheel and high production cost has disrupted the competitive edge of textile exports in international market. Even the summer is at its peak but export-oriented textile sector is still deprived of 67% gas supply,” they said. “Textile industries in rival countries are getting not only constant supply of gas and electricity but also on cheep rate.
read more. & read more.

* Déjà vu: The workers died due to suffocation:

Stories about garment factory burned down

‘The workers died due to suffocation’ – this is not the first time we have heard news like this.

The first time we heard it was back in 2012.

Two years ago, on September 11, 2012, when the garment factory caught fire claiming 259 lives and injuring 140.
They called for help, screamed and shouted in agony but all in vain.
The rescue forces didn’t get there in time.
There were no fire escapes, fire retardants or safety measures.
The doors were locked and the only unlocked door was on fire.
One might think that they could have used the windows to escape instead but how could they?
The windows were too small and barred with iron rods.
They only had two choices – die of suffocation or burn to death.

They weren’t just 259 people who died that day.
Mothers died the moment they heard about their sons’ demise, wives turned widows and children turned fatherless.
For God’s sake, they were the breadwinners of the families.
They weren’t just 259 people, they were 259 families.

But did the government care?
Did the government pass any law for the safety of its citizens?
Did the government do justice to the workers?
read more.



map of Asia


The next bulletin will be published 18 June.

(These pages will be updated as articles are found):
There are updates now under ‘special overviews’:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 6: 20140607 – NOW
* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 5 20140502- now
* Cambodian Garment Workers: $160 We Need! Part 4 20140523- now

* Employers want low minimum wage increase in Vietnam
* Middle East, Africa potential untapped

* Cambodian minimum wage activists “won’t be silenced by weapons and bullets”
* Ocean Factory Dispute Headed to Arbitration Council
* Union leader to face another day in court
* Despite Employer’s Concessions, Workers Vow to Continue Protest
* Plan to ‘end factory strife’
* H&M, ILO Form New Industrial Relations Initiative
* Cambodian garment & textile exports grow 8.98% in Q1 2014
* Two’s company at CSX

* Indonesian Clothing Firms Cash In on Football Mania

* More Workers Fired after Forming a Union
* 15 hurt as RMG workers clash with cops in city
* RMG inspection review panel resumes operation
* Accelerating export growth in RMG sector
* Tofail seeks GSP restoration, apparels’ duty-free access to US market
* Certain quarters downplay BD’s achievements: Tofail
* July-May exports post 14% growth despite adversities
* Textile, apparel makers exempted from duties
* Chinese co to invest $1.2b for garment park development
* ACC needs to dig deeper into Rana Plaza case
* ACC sues 17 for Rana Plaza construction irregularity
* Case lodged over Bangladesh building collapse

* Govt may hike incentives for textile sector to boost exports
* Who moved my classic cotton?
* India’s garment exports may cross $17bn in FY’15: CMAI

* Lankan Apparel Industry heading for better times

* No casualties: Fire guts garment factory in Port Qasim
* Labour and social welfare get Rs100m less than last year
* Faisalabad industrial zone: Chinese group to invest $2b, set up largest spinning unit
* Readymade garments exports fetch $1430.43m
* Pakistan textile industry profitability and challenges
* PTEA irked at high cost of business, power crisis
* Déjà vu: The workers died due to suffocation

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

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2