Updated articles 24 June 2014.
Updated articles 25 June 2014.
00:18:30 local time PHILIPPINES
* EU garment buyers look for PH suppliers:
Two large German distributors and three major Spanish retailers in Europe are exploring opportunities to source high-end garments and footwear supplies from the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry reported.
A DTI report identified the two large German distributors in Europe as Ariston Nord West Ring Schuh for shoes and Katag AG for garments. “Garments and footwear – all types.
This is one sector that may defy the slow prospects for the eurozone,” stated the DTI paper, which was apparently prepared for the recent investment roadshows in Europe led by DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo.
In Spain, three major retailers from El Corte Ingles, Becara and Mango have been identified for their interest in the Philippine garments and fashion accessories.
El Corte Ingles was interested in sourcing garments and home textiles while Becara expressed interest in hand bags.
Mango, which has already established some outlets in the country, was keen on garments and fashion accessories. The paper also identified six products for priority promotion to the EU in general.
23:18:30 local time VIET NAM
* Leather exports to top US$12 billion:
Leather footwear and handbag exports are expected to top US$12 billion this year, achieving the target, the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) said.
- Leather, footwear firms set sights on exports
- US$8 billion for leather shoe exports in 2013
- Leather and shoe products on show in HCM City
They were worth US$10.4 billion last year to rank third in the country’s list of key exports, Diep Thanh Kiet, Lefaso’s deputy chairman, said, adding, “The exports were very good in the first half of the year, with footwear exports going up by more than 14% and handbags by over 18%.”
But Kiet and others at a June 23 seminar in HCM City agreed that small-scale production, poor development of supporting industries, and lack of skilled workers are making the leather industry’s growth unsustainable.
read more. & read more.
23:18:30 local time THAILAND
* Migrant labour reform a top priority:
Pictures of trucks loaded with frightened migrant workers heading for the border dominated the news last week.
The scenes we witnessed of crowds overwhelming border checkpoints were followed by the inevitable meetings between officials of the countries involved, and by vows to correct misunderstandings and fix the problem as soon as possible.
By the end of the week about 200,000 migrant workers, the majority of them Cambodians, had left Thailand for their respective countries. There is still no assurance that this exodus will end despite the insistence by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that it plans no crackdown against migrant workers in Thailand.
All the country’s military leaders want to do, they say, is bring everyone into the system through registration (something the previous government also attempted) to ensure that all workers are properly protected.
Thailand is a magnet for an estimated 2 million migrant workers, almost all of them from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. At least, that’s the official number. Some estimates put the real total, legal and illegal, closer to 5 million.
These workers are doing the menial jobs that most Thais have given up on, from making shoes to sewing shirts, catching and cleaning fish, to working as maids, drivers, and even waitresses. We Thais are too hooked on these workers to give up the leisurely lives we now pursue.
23:18:30 local time CAMBODIA
* Union boss to appeal $25k bail:
Union leader Ath Thorn has been granted an Appeal Court appearance on July 1, in which he will argue against conditions that required him to pay $25,000 bail over an ongoing court case.
The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president is due to appear on July 1 regarding bail terms he received for an incitement charge stemming from a strike at the SL Garment factory last year, attorney Kim Socheat said yesterday.
Thorn has argued that the court had no right to demand the $25,000, cash that he said was largely borrowed from C.CAWDU members. Bail conditions also ban him from leading any public events.
* Six unions call for pay, acquittals:
Union leaders made another appeal for the Cambodian government to raise the minimum wage to $160 and rescind convictions of 25 workers arrested during deadly demonstrations in November and January.
In a press statement released yesterday, leaders of six local labour unions called on international unions to help the Cambodian government in giving in to the demands. The statement also calls for equal representation in the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Council and the withdrawal of all lawsuits against unionists.
It reads: “Despite strong support from involved partners to resolve the situation, the government has delayed from January until June 2014 and still has not resolved the problems.”
00:18:30 local time MALAYSIA
* Worker, trade union rights must be prioritised for well being of workers, their families:
Almost four dozen civil society organisations have called on the government to prioritise the rights of workers and trade union to ensure the well being of workers and their families.
We, the undersigned 47 civil society organisations, trade unions and concerned groups, make the following demands to better protect worker and trade union rights in Malaysia.
It is sad when a government places the interest of businesses, investors and employers over the rights and welfare of workers and their families.
1. Stable regular employment until retirement age – abolish precarious short-term employment contracts
The right to permanent regular employment until retirement age is essential for the economic wellbeing and financial stability of the worker and their families.
A short-term or fixed term employment contract is a form of precarious employment that must be abolished. It allows for the denial of the right of retirement at 60, maternity rights and benefits, increments of rights which comes with tenure and makes it near impossible for such workers to form, join or even serve as leaders in existing unions.
13. Minimum wages must be sufficient to sustain a decent livelihood
All workers in Malaysia are supposed to be receiving minimum wages as of 1 January 2014. But alas the quantum of minimum wages fixed in 2012 at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak is no longer sufficient to ensure a decent livelihood for workers and their families given the large increases in the cost of living.
While public sector workers also get a Cost of Living Allowances (Cola), the majority of workers are in the private sector and they do not get Cola. Using also the fact that the Malaysian government has declared that households earning less than RM3,000 are in need of financial assistance, it is only logical that minimum wages be increased for all workers to at least RM1,500.
* 98% employers implementing minimum wage scheme:
About 98 per cent of employers in the country were found to have implemented the minimum salary scheme, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.
He said this was based on 986 statutory inspections by his ministry.
“As human resources minister, I am happy because the implementation of the minimum salary scheme is on the right track.
“Of the 986 inspections, 98 per cent have implemented the scheme while two per cent have yet to do so,” he noted.
He was speaking to reporters after opening the 2014 Social Security Organisation (Socso) regional conference, ‘Return to Work’ (RTW) at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.
00:18:30 local time INDONESIA
* PERMANENT PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL
* Indonesian wage trial: human rights violations ‘systemic’:
After a two-day public hearing, the jury of the People’s Tribunal to assess human rights abuses faced by workers in the Indonesian garment industry, announced its verdict today.
Judges found overwhelming evidence of ‘systematic violation of the fundamental right to a life lived with human dignity’ in an industry employing mostly women and said ‘urgent action must be taken’ by a variety of stakeholders.
The jury stressed the fact that a living wage and freedom of association are imperative to sustain a global garment industry which respects human rights of garment workers.
They acknowledged that ‘in recent years some progress has been made in tackling the challenges faced by workers in an industry dominated by a small number of buyers’, however they expressed grave concerns for ‘the lack of urgency and transparency’ among the brands.
Mirjam van Heugten from Clean Clothes Campaign says: “A living wage is the cornerstone of decent working conditions. If garment workers are still living in poverty, which we know they are, no brand can claim that they are truly a sustainable company. The fact that brands have become ‘manufacturers without factories’, does not mean they can shirk responsibility for the human right violations of the women who stitch their clothes.”
The judges described in detail the immediate actions to be taken by global brands and pointed to the fact that a living wage is an enabling human right that must be an inherent part of any sustainable corporate accountability framework.
They also expressed great concern for the existing legislation making suspension of the minimum wage a relatively easy process in Indonesia, and ‘one that is not uncommon’.
Workers protes to adidas representatif on Indonesia Peoples Tribunal
Judges found overwhelming evidence of ‘systematic violation of the fundamental right to a life lived with human dignity’ in an industry employing mostly women and said ‘urgent action must be taken’ by a variety of stakeholders.
* Healthy Productive Women Workers Movement:
The role of women is very important in the future of the next generation. Women go through different stages in life such as menstruation, pregnancy, child birth and breastfeeding and their health must be taken care of.
As per reports of the Household Health Survey 2001, anaemia is present in 26.4% of the population of child bearing age. Other studies indicate that anaemia in female workers is between 24-42%.
Women who suffer from anaemia have on an average 5% lower output and 6.5 hours less working capacity per week. Lack of education amongst female workers is also very high with only around 50.37% females having attended elementary school, which also adversely affects their knowledge about health and nutrition.
22:18:30 local time BANGLADESH
* Garment makers must be fully compliant, after tax benefits:
Analysts speak at a seminar on workplace safety, labour rights
Garment manufacturers must make their factories fully compliant after the government extended a host of privileges to them, analysts said yesterday.
“Apparel makers will get tax benefits worth around Tk 4,000 crore due to deduction of source tax on garment exports in the next two years. So, they must ensure full compliance instead of minimum compliance,” said MM Akash, professor of economics at Dhaka University.
The government decided to reduce tax at source on garments exports from 0.80 percent to 0.30 percent and waive full duty on imports of prefabricated building materials and fire safety equipment.
Akash’s comments came at a discussion on ‘Macro Review of the RMG Sector: Gains, Challenges and Policy Responses’, held at The Daily Star Centre.
The programme was arranged to showcase the features of a CARE project for garment workers—Solidarity and Empowerment through Education, Motivation and Awareness (SEEMA)—funded by the European Union.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said full compliance is needed for protecting labour rights and ensuring workplace safety.
* ILO stresses collective bargaining for labour rights:
Constructive dialogue and collective bargaining among government representatives, owners and trade union can ensure labour rights in the Asia and the Pacific Region, including Bangladesh, said ILO ACTRAV director Maria Helena Andre.
The specific trade agenda by the labour union is important to establish their rights, said the director while addressing the inaugural session of Asia Pacific Regional seminar on “Trade Union Rights”, at a city hotel on Tuesday.
The three day long seminar was organised by the Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) that coordinates all the activities of the ILO related to workers and their organizations. A total of 37 participants from 14 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam took part in the regional seminar.
* Restrictive labour laws deny trade unions’ freedom:
Trade union leaders of the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday said that restrictive labour laws denied basic freedom to trade unions, workers and unions in playing a positive and contributory role in the development agenda of the countries in the region.
At the inauguration ceremony of a three-day regional seminar on union rights organised by the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of International Labour Organisation at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital, labour leaders form 20 countries called for strong efforts to ensure workers’ rights by removing obstacles to union rights.
Speaking at the opening session, ACTRAV director Maria Helena Andre said that trade unions play a major role in reducing inequality, eradicating poverty and uplifting the economic conditions of workers and their families by promoting fair distribution of income through social dialogue with employers and governments.
* Focus on beefed up efforts for TUs’ proper working:
Labour leaders and experts from 20 countries at a regional seminar Tuesday called for beefed up efforts to ensure workers’ rights by removing obstacles to proper functioning of trade unions (TUs).
They also urged the governments for ensuring basic freedom of trade unions and workers by easing provisions in labour laws.
The Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) organised the 3-day seminar at a city hotel.
ACTRAV Director Maria Helena Andre said in her inauguration speech that poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere.
She also outlined the role and importance of the social partners and ILO.
* B’desh wants to present apparels with pride, not blood: BGMEA president:
‘Bring to trial labour leaders sending letters to US Senators’
President of Bangladesh Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam on Monday said the Bangladeshi apparel factory owners want to project their products through ‘Made in Bangladesh with Pride’.
“Some foreign campaigners are engaged in negative publicity against Bangladesh garment products labeling with blood, but we want to project our products as made in Bangladesh with pride, not blood,” he said while exchanging views with senior journalists at BGMEA Bhaban in the city.
Atiq, who recently visited USA with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and also held series of meetings with US Senators, Congressmen, buyers, and retailers, came out with sharp reaction over a letter sent to the American Senators from the Bangladeshi labour leaders.
“We think, this is an anti-state activity. We demand the people who sent the letter to the US Senators should be brought under trial as per law. This is a part of conspiracy,” he said.
There is a news report that some labour leaders sent a letter to American Senators brining allegation of labour exploitation in Bangladeshi apparel factories. The letter was sent by local representative of ‘IndustriAll’, a global labour right and trade union body.
read more. & read more.
* Punishment for anti-RMG propaganda demanded:
Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today demanded exemplary punishment to those involved in spreading propaganda against the readymade garment (RMG) sector.
Leaders of the apex trade body of the country’s apparel makers came with the demand against the backdrop of detection of the conspiracy by an organisation known as “IndustriALL”, a global labour right and trade union body.
“Some foreign campaigners are engaged in negative publicity against Bangladesh garment products labelling with blood, but we want to project our products as made in Bangladesh with pride, not blood,” he narrated.
read more. & read more.
* Action against rights groups sought for tarnishing image of RMG industry:
Apparel sector leaders sought government’s necessary actions Monday against the rights groups that are engaged in tarnishing the image of the country’s garment industry abroad.
“We want government’s necessary action against labour rights groups that have lodged complaints to different international organisations bypassing the government and other local stakeholders,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md Atiqul Islam said.
He was speaking at the BGMEA-BUFT Journalism Fellowship-2014 Award ceremony at the BGMEA’s headquarters in the city while Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Dhaka University Vice Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique were present as chief and special guests respectively.
The BGMEA president handed over a copy of such complaint made by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) using logos of NGWF and IndustriAll.
He said IndustriAll Bangladesh Council has to take the responsibility of such activity as one of its affiliate has made the complaint using its logo.
“If there is such incident of workers’ oppression in garment factories, first they should lodge complaints with the local authorities concerned,” he said adding but some labour leaders are involved in conspiracy against the industry.
* BGMEA demands action against trade union for US letter with ‘false’ info:
NGWF says no letter sent, but info on torture ‘correct’
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday demanded action against some trade union leaders accusing them of acting against country’s readymade garment industry by sending letters to the US congressmen with false information about labour standard.
BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam alleged that a trade union federation, the National Garment Workers Federation, recently wrote a letter to the US congressmen mentioning that workers have been repressed in the work place in Bangladesh’s RMG factories.
Atiqul made the allegation against the federation affiliated with the IndustriALL Bangladesh at a programme in presence of commerce minister Tofail Ahmed.
Tofail on Sunday labelled same accusation against IndustriALL but the leaders of the Bangladesh chapter of the global trade union federation denied the charges.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation, however, told New Age that they had not sent such letter to the US administration directly but they had submitted a report on torture on a worker leader to the labour and home ministries of Bangladesh, BGMEA, Inspector General of Police, director general of industrial police and superintendent of police of the Mymensingh district.
He said that tortured worker leader Moniruzzaman, whose name was mentioned in the letter, was still staying in the capital with serious injuries.
Atiqul at the programme on BGMEA-BUFT Journalism Fellowship 2014 said, ‘I urge the commerce minister to take necessary actions against them who have taken stand against the largest foreign currency earning sector of the country and against four million people who are employed in the sector.’
* BGMEA boss seeks punishment for spreading falsehood:
He came up with the demand yesterday while addressing an award giving ceremony titled BGMEA-BUFT Journalism Fellowship 2014 Award
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam has demanded punishment of some leaders of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) affiliated with IndustriAll Bangladesh Council is tarnishing the image of the country’s apparel industry through providing baseless information to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
He came up with the demand yesterday while addressing an award giving ceremony titled “BGMEA-BUFT Journalism Fellowship 2014 Award” held at BGMEA Complex in the capital.
“We are demanding exemplary punishment for them as they, being the leader of the federation, are harming the country’s image abroad, raising false allegations on the harassment of trade union leaders in RMG sector,” said Islam.
“As this type of act is subversive to the state, we are demanding punishment for those who sent the letter to the US Senators and they should be brought under trial as per the law of the land.”
* Tofail trying to cover up his incompetence in reinstating GSP: Nazrul:
IndustriALL Bangladesh president Nazrul Islam Khan has rejected the commerce minister Tofail Ahmed’s allegation that they had sent a letter to US government agencies complaining about malpractices in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
Nazrul, who is senior leader of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, also accused Tofail of trying to cover up his incompetence in reinstating US GSP by raising allegations of conspiracy.
Reacting to Tofail’s comment made on Sunday morning, Nazrul on Sunday night said the allegation was baseless and the minister had resorted to falsehood.
‘We did not send any letter to the US or anyone. He [Tofail] is trying to cover up his incompetence by raising allegations of conspiracy against Bangladesh’s RMG industry,’ Nazrul
said while talking to reporters at his residence before leaving for Geneva Sunday night.
* Inspection tensions add to Bangladesh garment industry’s woes:
It took Western safety inspectors only about an hour to tour a factory the size of three football fields before ordering a partial shutdown of Sonia & Sweaters Ltd, a Bangladesh clothing supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Debenhams (DEB.L).
Two weeks later, the group that the inspectors represented changed its mind and allowed the factory to stay open, even though none of the repairs they suggested had been carried out.
Such erratic decision-making poses a new set of problems for Bangladesh’s $22bn garments industry, whose safety record has been under the microscope since the collapse of a factory near Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 workers last year.
More than a year after the public outcry that spurred Western retailers into demanding better standards from the factories that make their clothes, it also highlights the practical complexities of improving the conditions of millions of poor workers whilst also safeguarding their jobs.
Export growth in the sector has slowed as buyers turn to India, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia because of concerns over workshop safety, higher wages and political instability.
Now factory owners say they are concerned about arbitrary shutdowns and meeting the cost of demands for remedial work, while workers worry about who will pay their wages if their workplace is temporarily closed.
* Better jute production likely despite farming shortfall in N’dists :
The farmers are expecting better jute production as the plants are growing excellent now in northern districts despite a shortfall in the farming target this season when harvest of the fibre crop will begin from the next month, official sources said.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources, the farmers have cultivated jute on over 1.969 lakh hectares land this season in the northern region, about 28,000 hectares or 13 percent less than the fixed target of bringing over 2.25 lakh hectares land under cultivation of crop.
The fixed jute farming target could not be achieved this season due to the prolonged drought-like situation that caused lack of soil moisture hampering sowing of jute seed everywhere, crop diversification and some other reasons.
read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh woos China in snub to West:
India likely to be watching closely as Sheikh Hasina bolsters ties with Beijing to repair dented legitimacy.
Strenuous efforts by Bangladesh to court China are being seen as a snub to the West after vocal criticism of elections that brought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina into office earlier this year.
Analysts say a high-profile visit to Beijing by Hasina, in which she pledged to be an “active partner” in a “China-led” century, was aimed to reinforce an already-cosy relationship.
The latest diplomatic manoeuvres will not go unnoticed in neighbouring India under its new Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi, who has blasted what he calls China’s “expansionist” motives.
“New Delhi is naturally going to be sceptical about the outcomes of the visit,” said Professor Shahiduzzaman of the international relations department at the University of Dhaka.
“But they will also understand that the prevailing government in Bangladesh can survive if China aids them through economic development.”
Bangladeshi businessmen have lauded a raft of deals and commitments agreed during Hasina’s six-day visit to China, which ended in mid-June.
These include a joint venture to establish a 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant, an economic and technical cooperation agreement, and commitments on disaster rescue equipment and on a flood prevention and management study.
Abdus Salam Murshedy, the former president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Al Jazeera that although bilateral trade was about $10.3bn last year, it tilts heavily towards China.
“Bangladesh’s exports to China are slowly increasing,” he said. “Last year, we exported $100m-worth of goods to the country.
“China is going to be the largest export destination in a decade’s time. It is going to be good for Bangladesh if we can have China tag with us in more infrastructure and investment projects.”
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Compensating the victims of Rana Plaza – what role for the OECD?:
OECD Watch and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) have just released a new publication that outlines what the OECD and national contact points need to do in order to ensure the much needed USD40 million is raised for the victims and survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Ineke Zeldenrust from Clean Clothes Campaign will be joined on the panel by Dan Rees from the International Labour Organisation and Ben Vanpeperstraete from UNI Global Union.
The new publication calls on states through the national contact points (NCPs) to provide access to effective remedy.
TUAC and OECD Watch want the NCPs to make a collective commitment in their Statement ‘One Year After Rana Plaza”, in line with their responsibilities under the proactive agenda, to work with brands linked to Rana Plaza, as well as brands with significant ties to Bangladesh, to resolve the funding crisis. In addition they want NCPs to:
21:48:30 local time INDIA
* Powerloom weavers seek subsidy to go in for solar energy:
Powerloom weavers in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts have sought 50 per cent subsidy to go in for solar power.
The association has appealed to the Union Government to increase the subsidy from the existing 30 per cent as the weavers do not have the financial resources to go in for renewable energy.
They are hit by the power problems in the State for the last five years and are unable to run the units with diesel generators.
A small-scale powerloom unit with 10 looms needs five kw energy every day. Each unit will need about Rs. 7 lakh to go in for solar power.
* Tripartite discussions key in implementing labour reforms: Tomar:
The minister assured that amendments in labour legislation will be done keeping in mind the welfare of the working class
The labour and employment minister Narendra Singh Tomar met the central trade unions on Tuesday and said that tripartite consultations would be a key in moving ahead with labour reforms for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
In their first meeting with the union minister, the trade unions raised their concerns over the amendments in certain labour Acts in Rajasthan, proposed amendments in certain labour laws at the Centre, delay in policy implementation and reiterated the 10-point chart of demands.
* Unions take up objections to Rajasthan proposals with labour minister:
According to the proposals, the state wouldn’t require the Centre’s permission to retrench up to 300 employees against the current 100
Trade unions on Tuesday strongly objected to labour reforms proposed by the Rajasthan government as well as lack of specifics in proposed fixing of Minimum Wages Act by the Centre at a meeting with Union Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The unions condemned the Rajasthan government’s proposal to amend certain sections of the Factories Act, Contract Labour Act and Industrial Disputes Act, said B N Rai, general secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. According to the proposals, the state wouldn’t require the Centre’s permission to retrench up to 300 employees against the current 100.
* BMS asks PM to advise Rajasthan govt not to act in haste on labour reforms:
Warns of strain in industrial relations if trade unions not consulted
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a trade union affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to advise Rajasthan’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government not to act in haste on its proposed amendments to some labour laws.
In a letter to the PM dated June 18, BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay asked Modi’s to advise Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to not to move ahead with the proposed amendments without taking labour unions into confidence. He said failure to take labour unions along might lead to “otherwise avoidable strain in industrial relations” that might “not serve the interests of either side”.
* Trade unions meet Labour Minister; tripartite talks with jute industry in July:
Decision on ₹15,000 PF ceiling, ₹1,000 pension in 2 weeks, says Tomar
The Labour Ministry plans to hold a tripartite meeting with managements of jute industry and trade unions in July. This will be followed by such meetings in other industry segments.
This was part of the discussions that the Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on Tuesday with representatives of central trade unions such as BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Congress-backed INTUC and the Left-backed CITU and AITUC, among others.
The move to begin with the jute industry follows the recent lynching to death of a top jute mill official in West Bengal, allegedly by some workers. The Minister said he would take steps to revive the practice of holding regular tripartite meetings, a practice that had almost been abandoned by the UPA-II Government.
* Ready to give incentives to boost textile exports: Gangwar:
India now ranks second to China in textiles exports and the government is prepared to give more incentives to boost this sector, Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said here Monday.
“Textiles have tremendous potential and we have everything going for us to improve our exports,” Gangwar said at the inauguration of the 59th National Garment Fair, India’s biggest apparel trade show.
Stressing upon overall improvements of value chain in the textile industry to derive maximum benefits, he highlighted the need for technology upgradation, better infrastructure and appropriate skill development for boosting textile exports.
Despite recessionary trends globally, India’s textile exports went up from $33 billion to $40.2 billion in 2013-14.
* Textile exports set to touch $ 50 billion mark this fiscal, says Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar:
Textile exports are set to touch $ 50-billion mark in the current fiscal, Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said today.
“With 40 billion dollars in textile exports, the country has moved up to the second position from the fourth position last year, and we are hopeful of achieving $ 50 billion this year,” Gangwar told reporters after inaugurating the 59th National Garment Fair organised by the Clothing Manufacturers Association Of India (CMAI) here.
Textiles have tremendous potential, and the government will provide full support to improve our exports, he said, adding that the industry is also expected to generate a large number of employment opportunities.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Export rebound, a stitch in time for stocks:
Textile stocks have performed impressively since the last Budget, riding a wave of positive factors, such as rupee depreciation, strong topline, and market recovery in key importing destinations.
Arvind Ltd’s stock price almost tripled from the 2013 Budget to date on the back of a good financial performance.
Welspun India’s stock price more than doubled and so has Trident’s. Key textile players have posted healthy revenue growth year-on-year, with Arvind Ltd achieving a 29 per cent jump.
Rupee depreciation has helped the company, as most of its revenues are from exports. Retail presence and a diverse brand portfolio also helped the firm.
* Textile Ministry may allocate Rs. 2,500 cr for tech upgradation fund this fiscal:
Govt to give special attention to textile industry: Gangwar
The Textile Ministry is considering allotting Rs. 2,500 crore for technology upgradation fund this fiscal, and make the process to access the fund more simpler.
In his maiden interaction with the industry, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of Textile, said the industry has expressed concern over various issues, including difficulty in accessing funds from the TUF scheme.
“The problems related to the TUF scheme are only procedural issues which would be sorted out on priority,” he saidr.
Gangwar said the Government would give special attention to the textile industry as it supports cotton farmers.
* Industry seeks duty cuts, trade pact with EU:
A free trade deal with Europe could boost trade
The textile sector is on the cusp of a growth period – exports are improving and a robust domestic offtake is keeping garment manufacturers optimistic.
Though there are some issues in yarn shipments and dye manufacturing, the sector is still better off from what it was a year ago.
At the time of the 2013-14 Budget, the industry was hit by currency volatility and slowing global trade on account of the economic slowdown. Exports during 2012-13 fell 4.2 per cent to $31.7 billion, against $33.3 billion in 2011-12.
The previous Government energised the loan scene for handloom weavers through concessional term-loan rates at six per cent and interest subvention schemes.
* Save the Children and Ikea tie up to prevent child labour in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan:
The programme is aimed at protecting 790,000 children living in cotton communities in these states
Focusing on preventing child labour in the cotton area of Northern region, NGO-Save the Children, its partners Breakthrough and Pratham, and the IKEA Foundation unveiled a Rs 50 crore programme to protect 790,000 children living in cotton communities in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The programme to be implemented in four years(2013-2017), aims to keep children out of cotton fields, and in classrooms where they can learn, play, grow and develop and be children.
The program will cover nine cotton districts of Punjab and Haryana namely Bathinda, Muksar Sahib, Mansa and Fazilka in Punjab, Hissar, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Jhajjar and Rohtak in Haryana and Banswara in Rajasthan.
According to estimates there are over 10 lakh child labour, working in cotton fields in these states mainly deployed in cotton picking.
21:48:30 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lankan Apparel Brands Association launched in Colombo:
21:18:30 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile exports show 30% increase after GSP status:
Country’s textile exports have shown 30 per cent increase after getting the status of GSP Plus from the European Union, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Dr Shimail Daud said here on Tuesday.
“During the first two months of this year, the textile exports have shown 30 per cent increase whereby earning an additional amount of foreign exchange to the tune of $ 105 million,” Dr Shimail said while talking to a delegation of traders and businessmen.
* Expansion of BCI cotton to boost textile exports: APTMA:
Acting Chairman APTMA Punjab Syed Ali Ahsan said APTMA is undertaking an initiative to broad-base the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton production.
He said Pakistan is currently the leading producer of BCI cotton as around 163,000 tonnes of cotton is grown and processed with BCI standards as of December 2013. Acting Chairman APTMA said this BCI cotton initiative was introduced by WWF Pakistan and funded by EU, Switch Asia and IKEA.
* APBUMA hails two-year extension in SRO 809:
Value Added Forum South Punjab and All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA) appreciated the extension in SRO 809 for two years so that duty free textile machinery could be imported to modernise the textile, spinning and weaving sectors.
Former chairman of APBUMA, Syed Muhammad Asim Shah said it is also a good decision to dispose off all pending cases of sales tax refund claims within three months.
* Majority stalls booked in Mumbai expo:
About 70 percent stalls for the 2nd edition of the ‘Made in Pakistan Expo 2014’ being held in Mumbai from August 31 to September 5, 2014 have already been booked.
Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Arshad Aziz said on Tuesday the exhibition is aimed at to promote Pakistan’s garments and clothing in the neighbouring country. Ministries of commerce and textile have endorsed this, he said.
If all goes well, the event is likely to fetch at least $600 million export orders as compared to $400 million received in the 1st edition of the fair held from April 3 to April 7, 2014 in Mumbai. The single country exhibition is aimed to provide a platform to Pakistan-based companies for showcasing their range of products to the Indian public and business community.
* Garments export to EU up by 30.68%:
The exports from Pakistan to European Union (EU) during the first two months of implementation of GSP Plus have showed northward trend, said the Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan in a statement while revealing the statistics of trade.
According to sector-wise trade analysis of exports to EU during January-February 2014 there has been a substantial increase of 30.68pc in textile garments from last year’s exports in January-February.
The total exports of textile garments during the first two months of last year stood at $342 million while they jumped to $446.91 million during the same period this year posting an incredible increase of $104.91 million.
* Exports to EU increase after GSP Plus status: Dastgir:
The exports from Pakistan to European Union (EU) during the first two months of implementation of GSP Plus have showed northward trend, said the Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan in a statement here Monday while revealing the statistics of trade.
According to sector-wise trade analysis of exports to EU during January-February 2014 there has been a substantial increase of 30.68 % in textile garments from last year’s exports in January-February.
The total exports of textile garments during the first two months of last year stood at $342 million while they jumped to $ 446.91 million during the same period this year posting an incredible increase of $104.91 million.
Similarly, the volume of exports of home textiles to EU in January-February 2013 was to the tune of $214.18 which increased to $274.47 million during the first two months of this year making a remarkable addition of 28.15 % in trade volume in this sector.
The leather and carpets sectors were also successful in making a strong mark and enhanced their share in the European market after the grant of GSP Plus since 1st January 2014 as they managed an increase of 15.20 % and 12.79 % respectively during January-February 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Breakthrough at MRS Fashions in Bahrain:
Workers at MRS Fashions in Bahrain have been told that their passports will be returned to them within the next few days!
MRS Fashions in Bahrain produces jeans for Wal-Mart, JCPenney and other U.S. labels.
On Wednesday, June 18, after receiving calls for help from striking MRS Fashions workers, the Institute wrote the companies and put out an emergency action alert. Retention of passports is a key indicator of human trafficking.
The factory still has a long way to go, but the fact that this practice is being ended is very positive news.
Thanks to all those who helped by sending letters to Wal-Mart and JCPenney.
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
* SACTWU Settles Footwear Wage Strike Dispute:
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union
(SACTWU) has now settled the footwear wage strike dispute.
This comes after footwear employers tabled an improved wage offer last week, following a meeting held with them the previous week.
On Friday, 19 June 2014, the offer was accepted by members. All indicators
are that all our members have heeded our call and returned to work by yesterday, 23rd July 2014, showing an effective end to the strike.
The settlement package is 8.%, covering a wage increase and an improved
annual bonus. Approximately 7000 workers employed in 163 footwear factories
nationally will benefit from this settlement.
The increase will be effective from 1st July 2014.
* South African govt approves R200mn for textile cluster:
The CTCP aims to stabilize employment and also to improve the country’s overall competitiveness in the clothing, textile, footwear, leather and leather goods manufacturing industries.
According to Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, the main aim of the Cluster initiative is to build and improve the capacity in the South African textile and apparel industry value chain to effectively supply:
(a) local and international consumers with fully traceable sustainable apparel and household textile products;
(b) local Government with fully traceable sustainable textile and apparel products that adheres to the 100% local content designation as stipulated by the PPPFA Regulation; and
(c) facilitate the development of sector and/or supply chain specific Sub-National Clusters.