08:43:16 local time CHINA
* ‘Made-in-China’ shines at World Cup:
Though the Chinese soccer team is again absent from the World Cup, Chinese products, from mascot Fuleco to official instrument the caxirola and hybrid buses, stand out.
“Since March, our factory has continuously received overseas orders. By the opening of the event, we had exported more than one million footballs,” said Wu Xiaoming, general manager of a sports products manufacturer in Yiwu city, in east China’s Zhejiang province. Many orders came from South American countries.
The World Cup has been great for Yiwu, the world’s largest wholesale center for small commodities and accessories. “Our clients are mainly from Europe. Since April last year, we have sold nearly two million caxirolas,” said Wu Xiaogang, manager of a company which produces the cheerful instrument.
Compared to the vuvuzela at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the profit on each caxirola is more than double. It is estimated that around 90 percent of caxirolas worldwide are produced in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.
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* Textile Export Continues to Increase; Domestic Cotton Price has Stable Performance:
On 9th June, the General Administration of Customs published export and import trade review of the first five months this year, which showed encouraging increase spurred by the general global economy and domestic moderate stimulation.
Among export goods, textile and apparel export continued the increase pace and for the month of May, the export value of which was 24.97 billion USD, 8.7% up Y/Y, including 10.46 billion USD of textile product up by 7.7%, and apparel export of 14.51 billion USD, up by 9.4%.
The cumulative export value of textile and apparel during the first five months is 106.84 billion USD, up by 3.6% over the corresponding time last year, including 44.04 billion USD of textile export, up by 5.1% and 62.8 billion USD of apparel export, up by 2.7%.
During the early June, cotton plants in Yellow River region and most of Yangtze region come with the third to the fifth true leaf stage, and in Xinjiang it comes to the fifth true leaf to squaring stage.
The fine weather in most cotton regions is conducive for cotton growth, except the temperature that 2-4 ?? lower than normal in middle and northern Xinjiang is discouraging for cotton growth.
* Probe finds money can get quality certificates:
Companies are gaining quality certificates they don’t qualify for by simply paying money, according to a Xinhua news agency investigation.
It said a Beijing-based machinery company achieved an international ISO9001 standard for its quality management system by paying an agency, Beijing Oriental Show Letter Certification Consulting Co Ltd, 6,500 yuan (US$1,045).
The consulting company helped the firm get the certificate in a month when the process should have taken nine months, according to Xinhua.
It sent a trainer surnamed Xiong to teach two machinery company workers. But in two classes, Xiong talked about quality control in garment processing. The trainees questioned the relevance, but Xiong said the knowledge was inter-linked, Xinhua said.
Xiong wasn’t concerned about whether they understood the points and just told them to memorize the material in order to pass the exams. As an extra tip, the manager of the consulting company, surnamed Wang, said: “Your company doesn’t have enough workers. If the checkers ask, you just need to say that many of your workers have gone back home as Spring Festival is near.”
Officials from the Beijing Hengbiao Quality Certification Co Ltd visited the firm in January.
Following Wang’s suggestion, the machinery company manager offered cash in red envelopes, Xinhua reported.
A month later, the company received its certificate.
07:43:16 local time VIET NAM
* Garment industry stands firm in global market:
Vietnam’s garment and textile industry has so far posted a year-on-year rise of 16.4% in export value to reach US$10.21 billion.
- Garment exports hit US$7.44 billion
- Garment exports reach nearly US$6 billion
- Danang’s garments sector gets ready for TPP
The highest growth was seen in the Republic of Korea market with 30.1 percent, followed by the US and Europe, 14.5% and 11.3%, respectively, said Tran Viet, head of the market department of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), at a press conference in Hanoi on June 16.
Since the beginning of this year, the State-run group raked in US$1.62 billion from exports, posting a year-on-year increase of 15%.
* Vietnam’s Vinatex sets July 22 IPO on domestic market :
07:43:16 local time THAILAND
* Human trafficking: Moment of truth arrives for Thailand:
Reports of forced labour in Thailand have drawn little attention from most Thais, though they have become a focus for the international community, led by the US.
This week, the US State Department will unveil its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, and the widespread expectation is that Thailand – which has been on the Tier 2 Watch List for the past four years for poor law enforcement – will be dropped to the lowest rung, Tier 3, joining the likes of Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe.
The downgrade would likely trigger sanctions against Thailand, which could include the withholding or withdrawal of US non-humanitarian and non-trade-related assistance. Thailand could also face US opposition to assistance from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking,” said the report in 2013. “A significant portion of labor trafficking victims within Thailand are exploited in commercial fishing, fishing-related industries, low-end garment production, factories, and domestic work, and some are forced to beg on the streets.”
07:43:16 local time CAMBODIA
* After Meeting, Garment Sector a Step Closer to Yearly Raises:
The tri-partite Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) made some progress in coming up with a new way to set the minimum wage for the country’s volatile garment industry Monday, agreeing to announce raises at the end of each year and to start paying the raises at the beginning of the next.
Some unions, however, pressed for an exception for this year.
The LAC, composed of representatives from the government, factories and unions, met to follow up on an April workshop at which the government and unions agreed the basic wage should be adjusted annually by taking into account both economic and social impacts.
The process for coming up with a new wage-setting system was set in motion after a wave of garment worker strikes, triggered late last year when the LAC decided to raise the sector’s monthly minimum wage from $80 to $95 instead of the $160 that some unions were demanding.
* Wage group agrees on January 1 raises:
The group in charge of determining the national minimum wage for the garment sector yesterday agreed to increase salaries annually on January 1, determined by discussions that are to take place in the final quarter of each preceding year, officials said.
The agreement was signed during a meeting of the Labour Ministry’s Labour Advisory Committee (LAC), attended by representatives of the ministry, trade unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia.
“We stand in unity together to protect the best interests of all within our system,” Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng said after signing the agreement.
Until now, minimum wage decisions were an ad hoc affair, with the LAC visiting the issue at irregular intervals and using no particular formula in determining wage scales.
Such an approach became apparent late last year when the LAC raised the minimum monthly wage from $80, which included a $5 health bonus, to $95, before Sam Heng unilaterally raised it to $100.
“We had a good result today, because we now have clear dates for minimum wage implementation,” said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union. “Before, we did not have an exact time frame for discussing the minimum wage.”
* Unionist’s case hazy:
After a third day of questioning, during which the plaintiff’s story allegedly changed, the head of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union is in the dark as to where his case stands.
Investigating judge Chea Sok Heang yesterday did not set a date for further questioning and has not recommended that the complaint filed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court against Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union president Ath Thorn go to trial.
“How can the judge continue the case?” Thorn asked after the one-hour session. “It should be dropped.”
The court charged Thorn and union activist Pav Phanna with incitement in April after Sath Sophai, a security guard at SL Garment Processing, filed a complaint alleging he was injured during an incident at a strike led by Thorn’s union on November 1.
* Court Questions Union Leader a Second Time:
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court questioned independent union leader Ath Thorn for the second time Monday over his alleged incitement of garment workers at a strike in November, during which police responded to rock-throwing youths with live fire and a bystander was shot dead.
Mr. Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, has long insisted he was not even at the protest. He said he stood by this story during Monday’s questioning.
“The [investigating] judge asked me where I was at 4 p.m. on November 1, 2013, and I told him I was working at my office until 7 p.m. Now the judge asked me to bring witnesses who saw me working at the office,” he said.
Mr. Thorn’s lawyer, Kim Socheat, said the judge, Chea Sok Heang, would summon the witnesses within the next two weeks.
“We will prepare witnesses for the court and call them to prove that Mr. Ath Thorn was at his office during the incident,” Mr. Socheat said.
* Bank pays out after factory boss ‘flees’:
Workers at a garment factory that closed without warning last week received payment yesterday for nearly a month and a half of work, but some are still waiting for bonuses owed to them.
More than 400 workers lined up at the Canadia Industrial Park gates, behind which their now-defunct employer Hong Kong Yu Feng factory used to operate, to collect salaries.
“The owner of the Canadia Bank paid about $100,000 in workers’ wages,” said Seang Sambath, the president of the Workers Friendship Union Federation (WFUF). “We will discuss benefits and bonuses owed to the workers on June 19, then decide when they can receive these benefits.”
It was unclear yesterday whether Hong Kong Yu Feng has declared bankruptcy.
A secretary for Canadia Bank board chairman Pung Kheav Se confirmed that the bank, which has no ties to the industrial park, paid the salaries.
“We don’t want [workers] to make chaos in the industrial park,” said the secretary, who asked the Post not to use her name. She said Kheav Se is “overseas” and could not answer questions. “The boss of the factory . . . just ran away, and we cannot contact him.”
* Better protection entertained:
Workers in an industry where obnoxious, drunk customers and 12-hour shifts are common could gain legal safeguards if a subdecree brought before a Ministry of Labour committee yesterday passes into law.
The set of prakases for entertainment workers – which appeared before the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) but was not signed – would legally protect them from exploitative practices such as sexual harassment and forced overtime work without additional pay.
06:43:16 local time BANGLADESH
20140618 * Cloth factory, 50-100 shops burn down in N’ganj fire:
A cloth factory and at least 50 shops were gutted by a fire that broke out at a market in the city early Wednesday.
Fire Service officials said the fire erupted from a cloth factory at the tin-shed market at Deobhog adjacent to rail gate 2 at about 4:00am and it soon engulfed 50 adjoining shops.
On information, six fire fighting units from Hajiganj and Mandalpara rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control after three hours of frantic efforts with the help of local people.
Five people sustained injuries while they were trying to extinguish the flame.
Huge readymade garments were stored in the shops of the market as Eid sale.
The cause of the fire could not be known immediately.
The extent of losses from the fire could not be assessed officially.
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20140617 * Workers clash with other staff, 20 hurt:
Two Savar Sweater Factories
At least 20 persons were injured in a clash between the workers and the other staff of two sweater factories, over re-fixing of piece rate, at their workplaces in the same building at Genda in Savar outside the capital yesterday.
The authorities of Dynamic Sweater Industries Ltd and Sweater Manufactures Company Ltd have re-fixed the rate at the beginning of this month.
The workers, who are paid monthly on the basis of the number of clothes they made, also ransacked the factories run by the sametextile owner.
Alomgir Hosen, a knitting operator, said, “In some cases, the management fixed Tk 77 which was Tk 120 and Tk 130 that was Tk 150.”
He added that now he would get Tk 6,500 monthly where he could earn Tk 8,000 in the past.
However, Azom Khan, director of Dynamic Sweater Industries, said the rate varied on the design, size and cotton of the sweaters.
So the workers’ demonstration was “unrealistic”, he said. “We fixed the piece rate considering the demand of the buyers.”
After the clash, the agitating workers tried to block Dhaka-Aricha highway but police dispersed them, witnesses said.
Ashulia Industrial Police Inspector Mirza Saijuddin said before the clash the two groups had an altercation.
Among the injured, Shumon, a supervisor; and Sagor, Moinul and Obaidul, workers, were admitted to Enam Medical College and Hospital.
The others were given first aid from different local clinics.
20140617 * RMG staff beaten to death by workers:
A Sample man of a garment factory was beaten to death on Tuesday by a group of agitated workers, who were staging protest to pay dues and increasing the rate of pieces in Genda area of the upazila.
Industrial police Director Mustafizur Rahman confirmed the matter to banglanews.
Earlier, the authorities declared indefinite closure of Dynamic Factory (Dhaka) amid continuous protest demanding their dues.
When the workers saw the notice in the morning, they staged demonstration and locked in a clash with police and owner supported group.
At one stage of clash the agitated workers beat Swapan indiscriminately and left him severely injured.
read more. & read more.
20140617 * RMG worker killed by fellow workers:
The victims has died at Enam Medical College and Hospital
A worker of a ready-made garments factory has been killed by his fellow workers in Ulail area of Savar on Tuesday morning.
Deceased Shahjahan Shopon, 38, was a supervisor of Dynamic Dhaka Sweater Factory.
Police detained 10 workers of the factory after the incident. The detainees are: Baten Das, Rabiul Islam, Abul Basher, Mintu, Hasan, Enamul Islam, Sohel, Momin and Robiul.
Witnesses said around 30 to 40 workers of the factory were seen in front of Shopon’s residence since morning. They chased Shopon as soon as he went out of the house around 10:30am.
Confirming the matter, Savar Model police station Officer-in-Charge Mostafa Kamal said: “The factory authority had made an attack on the workers by hired terrorists. Workers claimed that the attack was made on Shopon’s conspiracy.”
The incident might have occurred following the attack on workers, said the OC.
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20140617 * Savar RMG unit shut over unrest for arrears:
The authorities of a readymade garment (RMG) factory in Ulail area of the upazila were forced to close the unit on Tuesday following a labour unrest over payment of their arrears.
Police said the workers of Dynamic Dhaka Sweaters Factory took to the street demanding their outstanding salaries after the factory was declared closed for the day by the authorities.
The workers gathered in front of the house of Dr Enamur Rahman, local MP, and continued their protest as police dispersed them from Nama Genda ground in the area.
* 2 workers electrocuted in Gazipur:
Two workers of a spinning factory died from electrocution at Mouchak Nischintapur in Kaliakoir upazila on Tuesday.
The deceased were identified as Abu Sayeed, 60, son of late Danej Uddin of Harina in Sadar upazila of Sirajganj district, and Mohammad Ibrahim Hossain, son of Habib Chowdhury of Muradpur in Baniachang of Habiganj district. They were workers of ‘Sunny Spinning Factory’.
Factory sources said Abu Sayeed suffered electric shock and died when he was wading through rainwater at the veranda of the factory which was electrified earlier.
Ibrahim was also electrocuted when he along with Aminul came in the rescue of Sayeed. Aminul got injured in the incident.
* Accord Disclosure on “Critical Findings” Factory Inspections:
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is conducting independent, engineering inspections for fire, electrical, and building structural safety at all factories in Bangladesh producing for Accord signatory brands and retailers.
* Review panel asks one Chittagong garment unit to reduce building load:
The official review panel Tuesday asked owners of a Chittagong-based apparel unit housed in a five-storied building to reduce the load of the structure and carry out detailed engineering analysis, officials said.
Including Sadaf Fashions, two other units have also structural flaws are Angela Fashion and Daelim Textiles that employ about 850 workers, they added.
Following the Accord’s recommendation that Sadaf–one out of these three garment units– have structural flaws, the review committee visited the factory.
“We’ve asked the authority to reduce the load, break some interior walls, evacuate the top floor of the building and conduct detailed engineering analysis within six weeks,” said Syed Ahmed, Inspector General of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE).
* Another RMG unit shut in Ctg:
The government-set review panel on Tuesday ordered suspension of production at a garment factory in the Chittagong port city following detection of structural flaws in the unit by European retailers’ inspection teams.
The experts of the review panel comprising representatives from the government, EU Accord, North American Alliance, BUET and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Tuesday inspected two factory buildings in Chittagong following the recommendation of the Accord.
After visiting the buildings, the review panel asked the owner of New Tech Apparels not to run the factory as the structural condition of the six-storey building was vulnerable.
In another building, which housed three factories — Sadaf Fashions, Daelim Textile and Angela Fashion — the committee suggested for load management immediately and conducting detailed assessment within six weeks.
With the latest suspension of production at New Tech Apparels, the number of total factories that have been closed since the start of the factory inspection by the retailers in February this year rose to 22.
Syed Ahmed, chief inspector of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment, told New Age that following the visual inspection based on the report of Accord the review panel thought that the structure of the New Tech Apparels factory building was risky.
Ahmed said the owner of the factory also agreed with the decision of the review panel and he had already started the process of relocation.
The factory owner assured that he would pay all 500 workers of his factory as per the labour law provision regarding layoff.
* Apparel safety panel resumes work as Accord, BUET iron out differences :
The panel resumed Sunday reviewing the findings on Accord-assessed apparel factories after a consensus on safety measures emerged between local and foreign experts, industry insiders said.
The review panel has put its assessment on hold for more than a month when engineers of western retailers’ platform Accord and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) were locked in a row over required standards of concrete strength of apparel-factory buildings.
But experts of both sides have finally reached a ‘conditional’ consensus over the issue, people close to the factory assessment initiative said.
“On condition, the Accord engineers have agreed with the BUET to set parameters of 2,050 pound per square inch (PSI) for brick made buildings and 2,370 PSI for stone made ones,” a source close to the process told the FE Monday.
Terming the conditions ‘not realistic’, the source explained that one of their conditions included that they would consider their previous parameter of 1,760 PSI for brick made buildings in case of mismatch in building the drawing.
* Dhaka, Berlin discuss labour standards:
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu met German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Gerd Müller in Boon, Germany and discussed various issues related to labour standards.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar and other senior officials from the Commerce and Labour Ministries also met the German Minister as part of a five-day study tour to Germany, said a media release on Tuesday.
The officials from both the countries discussed social and environmental standards in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh and joint projects in the context of German development cooperation.
* Tofail urges USA to grant DFQF entry of RMG from Bangladesh:
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the U.S. government to waive the current import duty imposed on Bangladesh’s clothing items going to the American market.
He made the demand at an international seminar on ‘Globalization and Sustainability of Bangladesh Garment Industry’ held at the Harvard University, USA, on Saturday, the foreign ministry said.
Speaking as keynote speaker at the seminar (Trade and Investment Session), Tofail described the epic struggles of the people of Bangladesh and their indomitable spirit which helped them face numerous challenges in its development journey.
Expressing his dismay over suspension of the U.S. GSP scheme for Bangladesh, the commerce minister maintained that duty-free and quota-free access of the RMG to the U.S. market and reinstatement of the GSP will not only contribute to the buoyancy of the country’s economy, but will also help the country’s on-going efforts to ensure work-place safety.
Tofail highlighted numerous corrective measures in the apparel industry that the Bangladesh government had taken so far since the Rana Plaza tragedy.
* Tofail urges US for duty free RMG access:
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed urged USA for duty and quota free access in its market for the RMG at a seminar at Harvard University on Saturday.
He also urged the US government to waive the hefty tariff imposed on Bangladesh’s RMG products.
Tofail made the urge at an International Seminar on the “Globalization and Sustainability of Bangladesh Garment Industry” held at the Harvard University, USA.
* Call to revitalise silk sector to bolster country’s economy:
Speakers at a discussion here today unequivocally called for revitalizing the silk sector through the best use of existing natural resources for strengthening the national economy.
They say the sericulture together with its industrial side involves a huge number of people who depend on agriculture as an agro-based and labour-intensive industry.
Both men and women, irrespective of age, could be used in the silk cultivation side by side with the manufacturing part. Besides, silk cocoon and raw silk have been adjudged as cash crop like other agricultural crops and cereals, they added.
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* RMG export exceeds July-May target:
In July-May of 2013-14 FY, Bangladesh earned $22.17bn against the government export target of $21.7bn for the period
The country’s readymade garment industry has exceeded its export target by 2.11% or US$1.45bn in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year despite having several disturbances throughout the year, partial thanks to the ongoing World Cup Football 2014 in Brazil.
In July-May of 2013-14 FY, Bangladesh earned $22.17bn against the government export target of $21.7bn for the period. Knitwear export earnings outperformed the set target by 4.87%, while woven shortly failed to reach the target by 0.43%.
Meanwhile, the RMG sector has achieved nearly 92% export target for the current fiscal year of the government-set target of $24.14bn in the first 11 months.
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana not prosecuted as he’s not owner of Rana Plaza on paper:
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has not prosecuted Sohel Rana, the owner of ‘Rana Plaza’, in the case filed by the graft watchdog over irregularities in construction of the infamous multi-storey building that collapsed at Savar killing more than 1100 people last year.
Sources at the ACC said, SM Mafidul Islam, Deputy Director of the commission, filed a case with Savar Model Police Station on Sunday afternoon. When contacted, the Officer-in-Charge of Savar Model Police Station said Rana had been exonerated as his name did not figure in any of the property documents.
In the case, 17 persons, including Rana’s late mother, have been made accused. Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Savar Shafiqul Islam said the ACC will investigate the case. ACC decided to probe Rana’s assets four days after the building had collapsed on April 24, 2013.
The investigation revealed that Rana had been doing his financial transactions through 23 accounts that he had in different banks. RAB arrested Rana from Benapole 4 days into the 9-storey Rana Plaza disaster, according to a news agency.
06:13:16 local time INDIA
* Rajasthan government amending labour laws without consulting us: Trade unions:
Alleging that the workers and labourers’ interests were not being safeguarded in Rajasthan, several trade unions on Monday said the BJP government in the state was trying to amend labour and industrial laws without consulting them.
“The labour laws are not being implemented properly causing a loss of wages, working hardships, and security issues. On other hand, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje decided in her cabinet meeting to amend labour and industrial laws without even consulting us,” Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS) General Secretary Rajbihari Sharma said.
Among the trade unions protesting the government’s move are India National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Rajasthan CITU, BMS.
* Labour ministry devising transparent labour law inspection system:
Frequent visits from inspectors enforcing multiple labour laws could be a thing of the past for Indian firms, with the labour ministry devising a new system under which such inspections will only be triggered on the basis of objective data parameters and redflagged by a central intelligence agency.
Blamed for cumbersome compliance procedures and harassment by inspectors that make it difficult to do business in India, the ministry is simultaneously creating a web portal where businesses can file their compliance returns for 16 of the 44 central labour laws in the country.
“This will make it easier to do business and create jobs, as inspectors will have to act in a transparent manner and can be held accountable,” said a senior government official. Industry has been demanding urgent action on reforming outdated labour laws and their implementation.
* Panel report on revision of minimum wages in knitting industry soon:
The government-constituted Committee on Revision of Minimum Wages in Knitting Industry will soon be submitting its report with the views obtained from varied segments besides incorporating suggestions for any revision on the minimum wages presently drawn by workers in the knitting industry across the State.
P. Marimuthu, the chairman of the Committee and also the Joint Labour Commissioner, told The Hindu that the Committee would seek the opinions of workers employed in knitting units that carry out exports as well as the units that supply knitwear to the domestic market (ie. within the country).
Besides this, the workers employed in job work units that were linked to the main knitting units would also be consulted.
“The views of employers too will be given importance,” the Committee chairman said.
* No need to extend job guarantee scheme to textile sector: CPI(M):
The CITU has termed it ridiculous the recent demand of the Tirupur Exporters Association that the job guarantee scheme be extended to the garment sector.
“It is an insult to the workers in Tirupur knitwear cluster considering that the wages given under the MGNREGS is just close to Rs. 150 a day while the garment sector workers here are already drawing much more than Rs. 200 a day,” said C. Moorthy, district joint secretary of the CITU, and general secretary of the Baniyan General Workers Union.
Mr. Moorthy told reporters here that MGNREGS as the name indicates is a rural employment provider scheme aimed at creating infrastructure in mofusils along with job, whereas the garment clusters here were in urban/semi urban locality.
“Moreover, the garment industry is covered under the Factory Act, and wages are in accordance with rules stipulated in the Act,” Mr. Moorthy said.
* Tirupur garment industry seeks to improve efficiency, cut costs:
Small and medium enterprises to step up competitiveness
Confederation of Indian Industry (Tirupur District Council) is all set to roll out an innovative scheme to improve manufacturing competitiveness of the predominant small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tirupur garment industry through cluster-based approach.
The objective would be achieved by bringing together a certain number of units in clusters, maximum to be 10 to 12 units in a cluster, and they collectively seek expertise to improve the operational efficiency and implement lean manufacturing practices for cutting the overall expenditure.
“Manufacturing competitiveness will automatically improve once the units are able to minimise the wastages both in terms of materials and human resources.
“This can be done only by making an audit of the present production practices followed in the respective units and then make alterations accordingly to implement the lean manufacturing techniques,” M. Veluswamy, vice-chairman of CII (Tirupur District Council), told The Hindu .
* She sweats it out for sweet success:
G. Kumari hopes to pursue graduation through distance mode. Given the poor financial condition of her family, she was forced to put an abrupt stop to her studies.
Few years later, she found a way out to realise her dream.
Parvathi, who is adept at technical skills, has been able to discover a meaningful career that connects her well. A couple of years down the line she is a supervisor in a manufacturing unit.
Like the two of them, there are several others who owe their success to their leader P. Rupa, a young entrepreneur who runs a garment manufacturing unit ‘B & G Apparel’ at Pedagantyada, employing an enthusiastic team of 40 women.
* Dye chemicals prices zoom up:
Domestic rates of chemicals used for dye manufacturing have zoomed up on falling Chinese exports, creating a cost pressure for dyestuff makers, and as a ripple effect, hurting the textile industry.
Essential chemicals such as vinyl sulphone, hydraulic acid and naphthalene have seen a sudden increase in prices, jacking up rates of reactive dyes by around 200 per cent.
Black B dye now sells at Rs. 550/kg, up from Rs. 180 six months ago. H-Acid, an amorphous dye intermediary, now costs Rs. 1,800/kg compared to Rs. 300 a year ago.
Dye intermediates are in short supply in the country, following gradual closure of polluting dyeing units in Maharashtra and Gujarat, the two major producing States. In Tamil Nadu, the State pollution control board shut down a large cluster that polluted the Noyyal river in Tirupur.
“The pollution norms are too stringent for small units,” says CK Singhania, Vice-President of Dyestuffs Manufacturers’ Association of India, adding that the chief exporter China’s crackdown on polluting factories will further narrow supply to India.
A Shakthivel, President of Tirupur Exporters Association, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, said garment exporters cannot pass on the cost increase in a highly competitive global market.
“Our competitors Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan have inherent advantages in bank interest rates, power costs and Government support schemes,” he wrote.
* India’s apparel exports jump near 25% in May:
India’s apparel exports jumped by 24.96 percent to 1.49 billion U.S. dollars in May because of demand from Latin America, West Asia, Southern Africa and East Asia, the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) said Thursday.
The value of apparel exports in the first two months of the current fiscal stood at 2.81 billion U.S. dollars, which is 20 percent higher than the corresponding period of last fiscal.
Some problems related to the garment industry in the major competing countries like China and Bangladesh helped Indian exports, said AEPC officials.
China’s garment industry faces serious labor problem, while Myanmar and Bangladesh are facing the problem of non-compliance for the large number of factories, they said.
* Jute mill CEO ‘beaten’ to death in Bengal:
SK Maheshwari, CEO of the Northbrook Jute Mill at Bhadreshwar in Hooghly – some 50 km from Kolkata, was allegedly beaten to death by workers of the mill on Sunday.
Sources said that angry workers allegedly pelted stones at Maheshwari and beat him up with iron rods. He was referred to a private hospital but died on way. No arrests have yet been made in the case. Sunil Chowdhury, SP, Hooghly, did not take calls made to him.
According to State Labour Minister, Purnendu Bose, the jute mill operated in two shifts.
However, there was some production backlog because of which the management had reportedly asked workers to work an additional shift.
“Negotiations between the management and workers were going on relating to wages and additional shifts.
One meeting had taken place in the morning and a second was due later in the day,” Bose told Business Line .
“Had we known that negotiations were on in the jute mill, we would have taken appropriate precautionary measures,” he said.
* Jute mill workers face uncertain future:
The company’s CEO was killed by workers on Sunday
A day after the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Northbrook Jute Co Ltd was allegedly killed by workers, not many of the 4,000-odd workers dared to come out of their homes.
The murder of 60-year-old H.K. Maheswari, at Champdani in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, on Sunday has sent shock waves across the State and tension was palpable in the area adjoining the mill.
Workers are stalked by twin fears — another period of suspension of work at the mill running into months, and being detained by police for investigation of the brutal incident.
“What happened on Sunday should never have happened. But what happened was in a fit of rage,” Ramlal Tiwari, a retired employee said.
A few metres away from the closed iron gates of the 100-year-old jute mill, that prominently bears a “suspension of work with immediate affect” notice, are the blocks of dingy houses for the workers. While uncertainty clouds their future, anger and discontent against the mill administration are also evident.
“The mill was closed in the first week of March for no reason and opened days before the Lok Sabha polls in April and then on June 15, the management decided to bring down the working days per week to three,” Simanto Paswan, an employee of the jute mill said. He added that the mill had a history of unrest.
* Indian factory workers beat CEO to death:
Six arrested after workers attack jute factory boss with stones and iron rods in dispute over hours.
A mob of Indian workers has beaten the CEO of a jute factory to death in a dispute over increasing their working hours, police told the AP news agency after arresting six workers.
Four suspects were arrested on Sunday, followed by two on Monday, and are expected to be charged with murder, vandalism and other crimes.
A group of 200 workers, wielding iron rods and stones, stormed the office of 60-year-old HK Maheswari in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, according to Sunil Chowdhury, the Hooghly district superintendent.
Maheswari had denied their earlier request to work and be paid for 40 hours a week at the North Brook Jute Mill, instead of the current norm of 25.
He had also proposed shutting down the mill for three days a week to limit mounting financial losses, according to the factory’s general manager, Kiranjit Singh.
* Noose tightens around jute industry:
The murder of the CEO of Northbrook Jute Mill may have sent shockwaves through the industry but it was a tragedy waiting to happen.
Dwindling orders for jute bags from Central and state governments, lack of control over multiple workers’ unions by the state-level leadership and relentless interference by outsiders has led to an explosive situation in most jute mills over the last one year. All that was needed was a spark — and the agitation at Northbrook acted as the detonator.
Industry experts fear dangerous ramifications of this incident on the jute industry and other sectors as well if the multiplicity of unions isn’t checked. The jute industry alone employs over 3 lakh people in 53 mills. More than 12 lakh people are dependent on them and it’s the sole cash crop for 2 lakh farmers. Any unrest in this sector will impact over 2 million people in the state, warn industry experts.
Northbrook chairman Prakash Choraria blames the murder on anti-socials. The mill has 4,200 workers and the management has called suspension of work after the lynching. Choraria said there was a discussion to cut production due to lack of orders. “Our godown was full with jute materials as there were no orders,” he said.
An industry insider pointed out that most mills have multiple INTTUC unions because of huge stake local leaders have in selling of jute scrap and hiring of contract workers. “In some mills, there are three rival INTTUC unions,” the expert said.
INTTUC general secretary Pradip Banerjee denies this and says the Northbrook murder had nothing to do with faction feud in INTTUC. “In some mills, there are two-three unions claiming to be INTTUC but most of them are not affiliated to us. If somebody claims they are part of INTTUC, what we can do?” he said, adding that dwindling orders led to unrest.
06:13:16 local time SRI LANKA
* SL apparel industry in a global context and future fortunes :
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.
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 percent (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.
However due to the fact with the change of times and economies as China is now considered as a much developed country compared to 20 years back, China now has a feel to move into more high-end industries such as IT, pharmaceuticals, auto industry, science etc.
05:43:16 local time PAKISTAN
* Missing trade unions:
For the cynic, or for a gleeful employer, the trade union is a dying breed, perhaps already dead; for a die-hard optimist, the trade union — like a phoenix — is arising from its own ashes.
But dead or alive, trade unions are definitely evolving into newer shapes. Driven to the wall in the current cut-throat, neo-liberal, capitalist era, trade unions are fighting precarious employment and multinational corporations by banding together across the globe.
However, it is not the first time that trade union bodies are coming together. Major international trade union federations had emerged in Europe and the US after the Second World War to claim their rights from the state and national capitalists.
Now their adversaries are the powerful multinational corporations and financialised capitalism.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, international trade union federations are realigning themselves as global unions and reaching out to workers across continents.
The Council of Global Unions, established in 2007 as a platform for ‘solidarity, mobilisation, joint advocacy and campaigns’ is an alliance of the 11 largest trade union federations, each with global outreach.
Just one of the council’s members, the IndustriAll Global Union, founded in 2012, represents 50 million workers in 140 countries. Pakistan is also one of the affiliate countries and 11 trade union federations from Pakistan are affiliated with this global union.
IndustriAll has come up with a new instrument to safeguard workers’ rights.
It brings the MNC to sign an agreement with the affiliate trade union body committing itself to complying with labour standards, including the right to collective bargaining.
Until now, facilitated by IndustriAll, global framework agreements have been signed with 41 multinational companies protecting the interests of the workers in different countries.
The 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, an independent legally binding agreement, signed by over 150 apparel corporations from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, facilitated by two global trade unions, IndustriAll and UNI, is another example of the success of the power of global labour solidarity.
Are the benefits of trade union transformation at the global level filtering down to the local unions in Pakistan? It does not seem to be the case.
Trade union density has always been low and is continually declining.
There are several reasons for the erosion of trade unionism in Pakistan.
Foremost is the disabling legislation and repressive tactics imposed by the state and the employers that make union formation and collective bargaining extremely difficult.
A significant factor contributing to the weakening of trade unions in Pakistan has been globalisation of the economy which has pushed millions of workers into insecure and temporary contractual employment with low wages, poor health and safety conditions and lack of social security benefits.
* PTI’s protest against power shutdown:
The leaders and workers of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf have started protest against unscheduled loadshedding and unwise policies of the government by installing a ‘protest camp’ at Novelty Bridge here on Monday.
Addressing the participants, PTI leader Farrukh Habib and Sheikh Shahid Javed said that the PTI had started the protest against the government policies, especially the long and unscheduled loadshedding.
They added that the unscheduled shutdown had caused colossal losses to the industry and rendered thousands of workers jobless.
They said that several industrial units, especially powerlooms, had been closed due to the shutdown.
They vowed that the PTI would continue its protest against the loadshedding.
* Punjab ginning units: arrival of phutti marks beginning of cotton season:
New cotton season 2014-15 started in Pakistan with some 4,000 maund phutti reaching ginning factories of Punjab.
According to ginners, phutti (equal to 300 bales) arrived at two ginning factories of Haroonabad, Punjab. Ginners are expecting that two factories of Shahdadpur are also likely to start operation during the week to start supply of new cotton crop to textile mills.
“Previously, the new cotton season had started from Badin, Thatta, Sindh and Ghuddo, however, now the season is kicked off from Punjab as sowing in Sindh is delayed due to cyclone,” said Ehsan-ul-Haq, a leading cotton trader.
He said new cotton phutti is being traded at Rs 3,200-3,400 per maund, however prices are likely to decline in coming days, when the arrival of phutti will gradually increase.
* Cotton trading fails to pick up:
Trading activity on the cotton market failed to revive as buyers remained on the sidelines on Monday.
Floor brokers said millers are eagerly waiting for new crop arrival which is expected by the end of this month from Sindh. However, there is some delay in cotton crop arrival in Punjab due to late sowing.
Presently, millers are facing shortage of quality lint because depleted stocks held by ginners from last crop are mostly of lower quality, brokers said.
Consequently, the market is currently waiting for new crop and only then some brisk activity could be witnessed, brokers added.
* PGMEA Chairman seeks ban on export of blue split leather:
The Chairman of Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA) Syed Shahzada Ibn-e-Ahmed Iqbal has demanded imposition of ban immediately on export of “blue split leather” to save the gloves industry from total collapse.
In a press statement the PGMEA Chairman said due to shortage of Split Leather its price has increased dreadfully and under the circumstance it is too difficult to export gloves at reasonable cost.
He said that export of blue split leather was adversely impacting the gloves industry as sufficient material is not available in the market.
“We have huge foreign orders of gloves, but due to non-availability of the material the business community is confronting multiple problems,” he said.
05:43:16 local time UZBEKISTAN
* World Bank approves grants to Uzbekistan:
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two grants to Uzbekistan totaling 410 million USD, activists from Cotton Campaign expressed with regret.
On June 10 the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors authorized two grants for Uzbekistan for the development of produce production and an irrigation system in the southern part of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region, which is part of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
A coalition of human rights activists, investors, and businesses, joined forces under the banner of the Cotton Campaign to demand that the Uzbek government stop using forced labor within the country, and called on the World Bank to postpone its decision until the Uzbek government adopts real measures to eradicate forced labor in cotton production.
* The World Bank Risks Dirtying Its Hands in Uzbekistan:
In Uzbekistan, when summer turns to fall, the government forces more than a million of its citizens to drop what they are doing and pick cotton, according to independent monitors.
The government maximizes profits by forcing farmers to meet production quotas and sell cotton–Uzbekistan’s “white gold”–at artificially-low prices.
Government-supplied forced labor is the grease that keeps the system going because the government buys the cotton at such a low price that farmers cannot possibly make a profit if they have to pay market rates for labor.
Meanwhile, the government’s cotton monopoly yields hundreds of millions of dollars in profits that are directed into an off-budget slush fund that senior officials use to buy whatever they wish.
By approving three new loans to Uzbekistan on June 12 the World Bank has risked having the grease of forced labor dirty its own reputation.
* Fight against child labor? I’ve heard nothing:
Human rights activists conducted a survey among farmers to see if they knew anything about measures being taken to fight child labor in the country – they had apparently heard nothing.
“It is really surprising that people with a direct connection to this shameful practice have heard nothing from the government about its attempted eradication,” say the activists.
The survey was sent to farmers in several Tashkent province districts this spring.
The public information campaign was outlined in the national plan of the cabinet of ministers, but it appears farmers have not heard of this national plan, which supposedly began being implemented in 2008. Only very few farmers had heard of the International Labour Organization and about its fight against child labor.
Public education campaigns are only on paper
Farmer’s councils, which exist across rural Uzbekistan, have a manager and a legal council as paid staff, and would seem that they should be informed of the government’s alleged work to eradicate child labor. However, they too shrug their shoulders when asked if they have heard of this national campaign.
* Korean-Uzbek textile JV invests $300,000 for modernization:
* Uzbekistan prepares concept of light industry development:
Uzbekistan prepared a concept of development of light industry of the country for 2015-2020.
The document was developed by Uzbekyengilsanoat state joint stock company in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade of Uzbekistan in cooperation with interested ministries and departments.
In line with the concept, Uzbekyengilsanoat is planning to increase production of industrial goods to 6.97 trillion soums by 2020. The company plans to produce industrial goods for 2.59 trillion soums in 2014 and consumer goods – 1.036 trillion soums.
In particular, Uzbekistan is planning to increase production of cotton yarn from 218,300 tonnes to 562,800 tonnes and cotton fabrics – from 120 million square meters to 340 million square meters.
* Bahrain workers face deportation over strike action:
As many as 2,000 workers at a Bahrain factory face deportation over an illegal strike action currently being taken.
Workers at a Riffa garment factory were given an ultimatum to return to work by the country’s Labour Ministry, according to a report on Gulf Daily News.
MRS Fashions, which manufactures clothing for worldwide brands such as Macy’s, C&A, GAP, JC Penney and Walmart, staged a mass walk-out last week after allegations of withheld salaries, unfair deportations, poor working conditions and mistreatment.
An estimated 2,000 Indian and Bangladeshi workers trashed the company’s factory in Hajiyat and submitted a set of 12 demands to the company’s management, including calls for a pay rise and better food and medical care, before they will return to work.
The Labour Ministry have issued a written warning that legal action would be taken, including deportation, if the workers did not return to work.
“This strike is illegal and we have issued a warning to the workers,” Labour Ministry inspection and labour unions director Ahmed Al Haiki told the Gulf Daily News.
* Empowering Workers, Creating safe Workplace:
The region also led the global recovery after the 2009 recession, and its GDP is expected to rise by 6.2 percent in 2014, far more than similar projections for
developed countries, per the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
As the region has modernized and transformed into a global manufacturing hub for multinational corporations, the Asian growth model has been promoted as a development paradigm for emerging economies.
Yet this model has created a system of vastly unequal outcomes. The workers who have fueled Asia’s extraordinary economic growth through their labor in factories
and the informal economy, have not shared in economic prosperity—specifically in the form of increased wages, better benefits or secure work.
Millions of workers in Asia often risk their lives in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces.
Exposed to toxic chemicals or deadly asbestos, or toiling in dangerous garment factories or mines, more than 1.1 million people in Asia die each year from
workplace hazards or accidents, according to a 2008 International Labor Organization (ILO) report.
Millions more have been sickened or hurt on the job. Virtually all workers suffering from job-related illness and injury remain undiagnosed, untreated and uncompensated.
The families of workers who have been killed on the job and those workers whose injuries are undiagnosed or untreated face impossible hurdles to secure compensation from their governments, employers or the multinational corporations
contracting with workers’ direct employers.
Many, laboring in countries with a lack of democratic space and little recourse to
civil society organizations, suffer in silence, unable to improve their working conditions.
But through a one-of-a-kind regional network, workers are now building collective power around job safety and health issues, exercising their right to refuse to work in dangerous workplaces, gaining fair compensation when injured or sickened and
improving their workplaces to make them safe and healthy for all workers.
Connecting Workers Around Asia for Workplace Safety:
according to a 2012 report by the Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC), written with input from grassroots worker rights organizations in six developing Asian
countries.Without such data, workers are often unaware of the risks they face on the job, mitigating their ability to prevent deadly diseases or injury. And if they fall ill,
they often are undiagnosed or untreated.The International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1996 adopted the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health, (Convention 187). The standard builds on ILO Convention 155, which requires that every ratifying country “formulate, implement and periodically review” a national policy on occupational safety and health.
* Data monitoring in fashion factories alone will not solve poor conditions:
Collecting live data on garment factory working conditions might shed light on abuses, but should not substitute democratic structures and labour laws
Bangladeshi activists and relatives of the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse take part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the disaster. Photograph: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images
The fashion industry is in a bad state: fatal fires, building collapses, horror stories about environmental destruction and endemic exploitation. So what can be done? Does data monitoring technology offer a solution to these problems?
For the past few decades, determining standards in factories has depended on corporations hiring third parties to carry out audits. Malcolm Guy, founder of continuous data company Supply Link puts it bluntly: corporate audits have failed. Indeed Rana Plaza had been audited twice and served with a clean bill of health by Primark. In Pakistan in 2012 the Ali Enterprises factory fire killed 289 garment workers – despite the factory having been recently inspected and certified by Social Accountability International.
Instead of corporate audits, which can be falsified and quickly become out of date, Guy argues that the fashion industry should be aiming for a constant stream of data providing a clear image of what is happening in factories.
Continuous data – also known as live data – involves collecting information that can be used to monitor energy use, water and waste management, carbon production, and building health and safety. The idea is that constantly collecting data ensures it is timely, accurate, and unhampered. In China continuous data about smog and pollution is recorded and made public.
* Stitched Up –
The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion:
Beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned designs, Stitched Up delves into the alluring world of fashion to reveal what is behind the clothes we wear.
Moving between Karl Lagerfeld and Karl Marx, the book explores consumerism, class and advertising to reveal the interests which benefit from exploitation.
Tansy E. Hoskins dissects fashion’s vampiric relationship with the planet and with our bodies to uncover what makes it so damaging. Why does ‘size zero’ exist and what is the reality of working life for models? In a critique of the portrayal of race in fashion, the book also examines the global balance of power in the industry.
In a compelling conclusion Stitched Up explores the use of clothing to resist. Can you shock an industry that loves to shock? Is ‘green fashion’ an alternative? Stitched Up provides a unique critical examination of contemporary culture and the distorting priorities of capitalism.
About The Author
Tansy E. Hoskins is a writer, journalist and activist. She has worked for Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Islam Channel. She writes for the Guardian and Business of Fashion, and has appeared on the BBC, Al Jazeera and Channel 4’s Ten O’Clock Live.
On twitter : @