Updated – articles 30 June 2014.
21:23:52 local time CHINA
* Worker Rights Consortium Assessment Yue Yuen (holdings) Limited (China):
Last month, longstanding violations of workers’ rights under local laws, international labor standards, and university codes of conduct at Yue Yuen (Holdings) Limited, a top supplier of collegiate licensed athletic footwear led an estimated 30,000 employees at its factories in southern China to launch a strike that drew international media attention.
Yue Yuen’s failure to pay legally mandated social security payments affected an estimated 45,000 workers at the company’s factory complex in Guangdong Province, in the Gaobu district of the city of Dongguan.
Nike and adidas disclose Yue Yuen’s Gaobu factory complex as a producer of university licensed footwear.
This factory complex also supplies non-collegiate footwear to other buyers including Puma SE and Asics Corporation.
Yue Yuen has stated that the recent strike, which began on April 5, cost the firm more than US$27 million by the time the majority of workers resumed work on April 25.
Yue Yuen is the manufacturing arm of the Pou Chen Group, which is the largest producer of branded athletic shoes in the world.
The company supplies many major footwear brands, including Nike, adidas, Reebok, Asics, New Balance, Puma, Converse, Merrell, Salomon, and Timberland (VF Corporation) and is a participating supplier in the Fair Labor Association.
Headquartered in Taiwan, Yue Yuen owns factories in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the United States, and Mexico.
The company employs more than 400,000 workers,8 and produces more than 300 million pairs of shoes per year.
read more. (pdf).
20:23:52 local time VIET NAM
* Vinatex shows interest to set up garment factory in Moscow:
* Leather-shoe sector needs restructuring :
The leather-shoe industry posted high growth last year but experts at a seminar in HCMC on Monday urged a restructuring of the sector to help address its shortcomings and improve its export performance in the longer term.
Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chairman of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), told a seminar on prospects for leather-shoe-bag and apparel sectors that now was the right time to restructure these sectors to enable them to achieve sustainable development.
Kiet suggested the Ministry of Trade and Industry map out master plans for these industries to improve productivity in the sectors and enhance product quality alongside lessening reliance on material imports.
Last year leather-shoe-bag exports brought in US$10.4 billion, accounting for 10% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and surpassing the target of US$9.11 billion set for 2015 in the master development plan until 2020.
The leather-shoe sector is estimated to grow 14% in the first six months while bag manufacturing also has grown around 18% during the period, higher than the target of 13-14% set by the association.
However, the leather-shoe-bags and apparel industries still have many difficulties that need to be resolved, if such industries are to maintain stable growth.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/6. (25th item).
20:23:52 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment Workers Continue Protest After Factory Owner Flees:
About 400 garment workers who lost their jobs when their factory abruptly closed earlier this month blocked access to Canadia Industrial Park on Saturday to demand full severance pay.
Workers from the Hongkong Yufeng factory, which unexpectedly closed on June 9, are demanding that management of the Canadia Park take responsibility for money they are owed because the owner of the factory has disappeared.
Canadia Park has already coughed up about $100,000 to pay the workers their monthly salary for April, and the first week of June, according to the workers’ union and a representative of Canadia Park.
“The reason that we protest and block the road in Canadia Industrial Park is because we did not get the bonus money,” said Chor Rong, 36, a former machine supervisor at Hongkong Yufeng.
* Fifty faint in one day at factory:
Almost 50 workers at the Ging Ko 2 garment factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town fainted on Saturday, a union representative said.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), said the fainting at the factory in the Tay Seng Special Economic Zone began in the morning when several workers collapsed. Another 40 fainted after lunch.
“The workers are feeling better now and have left the medical clinic,” he said yesterday. “But we still don’t know what caused the fainting. I think it might have been the hot weather, not enough air in the factory and weak health due to a lack of good food.”
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* ILO says all strikes at monitored factories illegal in latest year:
The International Labor Organization said Monday that all strikes at the Cambodian factories it monitors failed to comply with legal requirements in the year to April.
A statement said there were 108 strikes at 362 garment and nine footwear factories during the period, three times the number in 2011.
At the same time, the ILO saw a “slight improvement” in the proper payment of wages and benefits and “high levels” of compliance on fundamental rights in the latest year.
But non-compliance in areas related to fainting and worker health and safety remain “significant,” it said.
“The report captures a year of ups and downs for the Cambodian garment industry: huge growth, punctuated by mass strikes over the minimum wage, and few notable improvements in working conditions” said Jill Tucker, chief technical advisor of ILO-Better Factories Cambodia.
“More recently, we have seen some encouraging changes at the factory level following BFC’s return to transparent reporting,” she said.
* BFC’s 31st Synthesis Report finds increases and declines in garment sector conditions:
Compliance with the Cambodian labour law showed both advances and declines in key areas including wages, fire safety, child labor, and worker health and safety according to the latest Synthesis Report released by the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia program (BFC).
The 31st Synthesis Report reflects compliance data from monitoring reports completed between May 1, 2013 and April 30, 2014. During this twelve-month period, Better Factories Cambodia produced reports for 362 garment factories and nine footwear factories.
While the latest report documents a slight improvement involving the proper payment of wages and benefits and high levels of compliance on fundamental rights, non-compliance in areas related to the industry’s fainting problem and in worker health and safety remain significant.
“The report captures a year of ups and downs for the Cambodian garment industry: huge growth, punctuated by mass strikes over the minimum wage, and few notable improvements in working conditions” said Jill Tucker, Chief Technical Advisor of ILO-Better Factories Cambodia.
read more & download the report. & read more. & read more (Khmer).
21:23:52 local time INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Updates:
1 .Indonesia Needs Near 9% Growth to Avoid Middle-Income Trap: World Bank.
Read the full article here .
2. APINDO to adjust production time during Ramadhan.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
3. Indonesian wage trial: human rights violations ‘systemic’.Read the full article here .
4. Sukabumi limit workers working hours during Ramadhan month.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
5. BP Jamsostek wait for RPP Pension Insurance.
Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here
6.Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration ready to take over neglected Work Training Centre (BLK).Read the full article here (Article is in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the Google Translate English Version here.
7. Inflationary pressure may increase in 2nd semester: BI. Read the full article here .
BetterWork Media Updates Overview here.
20:23:52 local time THAILAND
* Tournament spurs Thai shirt exports:
Influx of order hikes sales by 20%
Thai clothing manufacturers have cashed in on the Fifa World Cup and boosted their exports after an influx of orders for the colours of competing nations.
“Before the tournament began, we produced around 750,000 football shirts, and that helped boost our sales by 20 per cent,” said Wallop Wittanakorn, chief executive of Hi-Tech Apparel.
“However, labour management, high minimum wages and being in a comfort zone are still threats that mean Thailand finds it more difficult to cope with problems,” he said.
The Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) has revealed its four strategic action plans to develop Thailand’s fashion and industrial sectors with the aim to turn the country in the fashion hub of Asean.
19:53:52 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* US reviewing GSP for Myanmar:
The United States Trade Representative is conducting a review whether to grant Myanmar trading privileges under the generalised system of preferences, according to the press release from the US Embassy in Myanmar.
“In the past, the US included Myanmar in its GSP. Later it revoked. This tax advantage is being offered only to developing countries. It is good that the US is reconsidering. Since the US-Myanmar trade has been increasing every year, this is also good for Myanmar,” said economist U Myint.
According to US Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, the US exports to Myanmar reached US$9.8 million in 2010, $48.9 million in 2011, $65.8 million in 2012 and $145.7 million in 2013. Since the US eased import ban on Myanmar at the end of 2012, the US imports from Myanmar were recorded at $30.1 million in 2013.
19:23:52 local time BANGLADESH
* 50 RMG workers fall sick after taking lunch:
About 50 garment factory workers fell sick yesterday after eating lunch at their workplace in Ashulia, Savar.
Greenlane Shahria’s sick workers were admitted to Ganosastha Samajbhittik Medical College Hospital.
According to sources, the authority provided rice, beef, chicken and lentil for lunch.
As soon as the lunch was finished, the garment workers started vomiting and many of them fainted.
Upon being informed, their supervisors rushed them to the hospital.
Doctors at the hospitals said the workers fell sick because of food poisoning.
* Jute mill workers stage demo in Khulna:
Workers of private jute mills staged demonstrations here on Sunday to press home their various demands.
The demands include reopening all mills, including Mohsen and Sonali, which remained fully or partially closed and paying their arrears.
Witnesses said the jute mill workers under the banner ‘Besarkari Pat, Suta, Bastrakal Sangram Parishad’ gathered on Khulna-Jessore road in the city in the morning. Later, they went to the deputy commissioner’s office in a procession.
The unruly workers laid siege to the DC for sometimes. Later, they submitted memorandums, containing their demands, to the Prime Minister, the divisional commissioner and deputy inspector general of police of Khulna, jute mill inspector and the joint labour director through the DC.
* 39% female apparel workers denied minimum wage: study:
Thirty-nine per cent of female garment workers are still receiving lower than the government-set minimum wage of Tk 5,300 that was raised in December last year, a study revealed on Friday.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has conducted the study titled ‘Women in Readymade Garment Industry: Understanding Capabilities and Vulnerabilities of Female Garment Workers in Bangladesh’.
The study shows that the living condition of the female garment workers has improved but venerability remains as 65 per cent
of sever workers are not covered by any pension scheme after finishing the job.
The study reveals that the lower wage is one of the prime vulnerability for the workers as average monthly wage is Tk 6,661 which is much less than their monthly minimum expenditure.garment
According to the study, most of the female workers lose jobs when they reached aged 35 and fall in serious economic hardship after leaving the job.
The age of 87 per cent of woman garment workers are between 18-35 years and only 5 per cent workers are above 35 years and rest of the workers are below 18 years, the study finds.
Dhaka University professors Zahid Chowdhury and Samina Luthfa presented the study report at a programme at CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
According to the study, most of the woman garment workers are living with health risk as 90 per cent of the 1,034 respondents say they have to share their toilets with about 22 other people and kitchen with five other families.
The study finds that a large number of respondents are missing important protein elements such milk and egg. Only five per cent of workers are able to drink milk while one third of the female workers manage to consume egg.
The study shows 30 per cent of workers are not sure about the structural state of the factory and 56 per cent of respondents think that in absence of trade unions their rights are not secured.
Despite low wages, verbal and physical abuse, an increasing number of women are moving to the garment sector to earn more
* Experts doubt high job satisfaction rate in survey:
A survey revealing that 84 percent of female garment workers are satisfied with their job drew flak from experts discussing the study findings at the report’s launching ceremony yesterday.
Some panellists and a female worker doubted the results, saying there might have been some flaws.
The workers, mostly from low education, poor and rural backgrounds, might not have understood the proper meaning of job satisfaction, said eminent economist Prof MM Akash.
At the initiative of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, some Dhaka University teachers conducted the survey titled “Women in Readymade Garment Industries”. DU Assistant Professors Zahid Chowdhury and Samina Luthfa jointly presented the findings in the capital’s Cirdap auditorium.
The findings are based on the interview of 1,013 female workers from the garment factories, which are owned by BGMEA members and located in and around the capital, between last December and March this year.
According to different estimates, Bangladesh’s 5,000 garment factories employ 40 lakh workers, 80 percent of whom are women. Criticising the report, a worker, Nilufar Yasmin, said there were long working hours, and they faced losing job if they were sick for some days or applied for two or three days leave.
“If production falls, the workers get sacked and are not paid the salary of that month,” she said.
The workers’ job satisfaction was determined on the basis of some criteria, including safety at workplace, relationship with supervisors, and team spirit, according to the report.
The study also said 39 percent of female workers received less than the minimum wage of Tk 5,300, which was fixed by the government in December last year.
Due to low salaries, around 70 percent of workers cannot afford enough protein in their food intakes and consequently half of them suffer from health problems and take treatment from non-physicians.
* TU leaders ask BGMEA to retract ‘false’ statement:
Row over complaint to US Congressmen
Amid a row over reported complaint to the US Congressmen about the affairs of Bangladesh’s apparel industry, the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) termed Saturday the BGMEA president’s recent statement ‘false, fabricated and intentional’ and demanded that he retract such speech.
The labour rights group, in a statement, also demanded justice in “oppression” on workers.
Earlier last week, BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam alleged that NGWF directly made complaint to the US Congressmen that Bangladeshi workers were harassed and oppressed. This, he alleged, was done bypassing the local authorities concerned. He demanded government action against such activities that “tarnished image” of the country’s apparel sector.
The chief of the apex trade body in the export industry came up with the comment after Commerce Minister’s June 10-14 visit to the United States where several US Congressmen showed him a letter with the logo of IndustriAll sent from Bangladesh that alleged torture on workers.
Condemning the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leader’s observations, the NGWF in the statement said, “The remark made by the BGMEA president is false, fabricated and intentional.”
The statement also adds: NGWF has received copies of the written complaints lodged to the BGMEA president on May 22, one of its vice-presidents on May 25, state ministers for home affairs and labour respectively and secretaries of both the ministries on May 25 last.
“We also formally wrote to the Inspector-General of Police, the DG of Industrial Police and Mymensingh Police Super on May 27,” said Amirul Huq Amin, president of the NGWF.
20140629 * 5 RMG workers injured in boiler explosion in Savar:
At least five readymade garment (RMG) workers were injured in a boiler explosion in a factory at Khagan area of the upazila on Saturday.
Witnesses said an explosion took place in a boiler of Simtrex RMG factory in the area around 2pm, leaving five workers of the factory injured.
Three among the injured – Monirul Islam, 25, Anwar Hossain, 23, and Al-Amin, 20 – were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in critical condition.
Imran Hossain, General Manager of the factory confirmed the incident.
to read. &read more. & read more.
* EU for implementing RMG labour reforms:
Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, has stressed the need for implementing regulation on labour reforms in the garments sector of Bangladesh.
At an informal OECD Ministerial Meeting on Rana Plaza Aftermath in Paris, he also said Bangladesh’s labour law still needs to address restrictions on trade union formation and membership, no later than in the next iteration of the labour law reform.
The speech was available on the website of European Commission.
Gucht said improvements in labour rights must be extended to the Export Processing Zones while the recruitment of labour inspectors needs to be accelerated, inspections need to proceed and their results published.
“All the enabling conditions must be in place, not only in law but in practice, for workers to organise into trade unions and make their voice heard at the factory level,” he said, adding, “Inspections must be followed by structural improvements to improve safety. Bangladeshi industry has a key role to play here.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Arbitration a must before going to labour court:
Draft law on ADR ‘in a month’
The government is going to make it mandatory for both employees and employers to try to settle their individual-level disputes through arbitration before going to court.
The move is meant for quick resolution of disputes outside the legal system under the auspices of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies in the country’s industrial units to avoid the logjam of cases.
A draft law on the proposed ADR body has been prepared by Syed Sultan Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), in consultation with labour-law experts and labour leaders. The draft on the ADR would be finalised in a month, Mr Ahmed said.
According to the draft, only individual-level disputes like those on wages, payment for working overtime, compensation and other payment-related disagreements will be resolved through the ADR bodies. No industrial disputes will be entertained by the same.
The Bangladesh Labour Law has to be amended to incorporate the ADR system. Once it is done, the government will form an adequate number of districtwise or areawise ADR committees to resolve the disputes.
* Rana Plaza Aftermath:
Informal OECD Ministerial meeting
Paris, 26 June 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
On the eighth of July last year, the Government of Bangladesh, the European Union, and the International Labour Organisation made an agreement. The United States joined us later.
We agreed to do our part to improve labour rights and factory conditions in the garment industry in Bangladesh.
The European Union had an obligation to act because it grants duty-free and quota-free tariff preferences to Bangladesh which have been a boon to the country’s export performance. The European Union was – and still is – the largest client of Bangladesh’s garment business. We imported over 9 billion euros worth in 2013.
I therefore am proud of the fact that after some very hard work with the Government of Bangladesh, the ILO and the US, we launched the Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh.
And I am also proud to report that much of that programme has been put into practice.
Let me give you some examples:
Bangladesh has amended its labour law improving labour rights. It has also upgraded its system for inspecting factory safety and begun the recruitment process of hundreds of new inspectors. Inspections have started and their results are being made public. Many new unions have registered and workers are starting to organise.
* BD urges global stakeholders to fulfill pledges for RMG sector:
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam Friday urged the global apparel industry stakeholders to remain engaged and fulfill all the remaining commitments made since last year in sustaining the Bangladesh Readymade Garment (RMG) sector.
The state minister, who is in Paris to attend the second Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct, made the call while presenting his keynote speech in the dedicated session titled “Rana Plaza Aftermath: Responsible Supply Chains in the Textiles and Garment Sector” here.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organised the session under the umbrella of the forum held on June 26-27, 2014.
He apprised of a host of actions and measures taken by the government and RMG industry stakeholders in Bangladesh over the past one and a half years.
Mr Shahriar underlined that the brands and the retailers within the Global Supply Chain need to address issues relating to fair pricing and other support measures in sustaining the industry in Bangladesh.
read more. & read more.
* Improvement in labour rights must be extended to EPZ: EU:
European commissioner for trade Karel De Gucht has said improvements in labour rights must be extended to the Export Processing Zones in Bangladesh.
‘Of course, the reality is that there’s still much more to do. Most urgently, implementing regulations on labour reform must be enacted soon.
Improvements in labour rights must be extended to the Export Processing Zones,’ he said.
Gutch said all the enabling conditions must be in place, not only in law but in practice, for workers to organise into trade unions and make their voice heard at the factory level.
The EU trade commissioner said this while addressing an informal ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development — Rana Plaza Aftermath — in Paris on Thursday.
The Bangladesh government, the European Union and the International Labour Organisation launched the Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh to improve labour rights and factory conditions in the garment industry and much of that programme has been put into practice.
‘Over the coming weeks, the European Commission will be working on a full assessment of where we stand today. Once that is done we hope to call a meeting this autumn of all parties to the Compact as well as other stakeholders to get their perspective and set the agenda going forward,’ Gutch said.
read more. & read more.
* Many retrenched garment workers deprived of pay:
21 factories go bust following compliance inspections
Many workers of the garment factories closed during the compliance inspections following the recent mishaps are still in the dark about their rightful wage benefits and compensation following non-settlement of their dues in accordance with the existing law, labour leaders said.
According to them, manufacturers concerned are not following the existing labour law regarding the payment of wages and other service benefits to their respective workers in absence of proper monitoring from government side in this matter.
Besides, none of the authorities concerned has any detailed information as to how many workers had to lose their jobs following the suspension of production under the ongoing factory-assessment programmer and how many of them got wages and benefits accordingly, sources said.
Since the start of health checkup of garment factories by Accord, Alliance and BUET amid a row in the West over factory conditions and worker safety, a total of 21 factories have been closed down or their production suspended while seven of them might not reopen due to their structural conditions, according to industry-insiders and officials.
Abdur Razzak, a worker of one of the closed factories, namely Softex Cotton, told the FE that he only got basic pays of three months but no other service benefits.
“We were forced to take the said money,” he alleged, adding that they protested but failed to realize their demand due to non-cooperation from the local government authorities concerned.
“None of the factories that closed following the inspections did pay or compensate their workers according to the law,” President of Bangladesh National Garment Workers-Employees League Sirajul Islam Rony said.
Replying to a question, Mr Rony said many rights groups are working positively and trying to make the workers aware of the facts. And that is why they are not coming out to the streets.
However, labour leaders called on the garment owners to pay the workers according to the law and requested the government to strictly monitor it so that workers are not deprived.
They said if workers continue to be deprived, they might take to the streets and go against the inspection programmes as they are losing their jobs following the assessment exercises, they feared.
* 125 labour inspectors undergo training:
A new graduating class of labor inspectors of the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishments (DIFE) is set to strengthen the capacity of Bangladesh’s labor inspection system.
Efforts to improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry have seen 125 new labour inspectors undergo training as part of an International Labour Organization (ILO) initiative.
The move is an important part of the government’s commitment to improve labour standards and implement national legislation, and is being overseen with help from the ILO.
* EU lauds progress in Bangladesh:
The European Union in a statement yesterday lauded Bangladesh’s progress in improving workplace safety and establishing labour rights following the Rana Plaza tragedy last year.
“In particular, they are making good progress on inspections of factories according to common standards and an operating manual for assessing building, fire and electrical safety,” Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, said in a speech at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) ministerial meeting in Paris on Thursday.
The EU, however, believes more needs to be done to meet international safety standards. “Of course, the reality is that there is still much more to do,” Gucht said.
“Improvements in labour rights must be extended to the Export Processing Zones … Bangladesh’s labour law still needs to address restrictions on trade union formation and membership, no later than in the next iteration of the labour law reform,” he continued.
* OECD lauds BD’s engagement in addressing RMG sector challenges:
Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurría and European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht have termed Bangladesh’s comprehensive engagement in addressing the challenges in the RMG sector as commendable
The OECD is also considering taking up the experience in Bangladesh as a model for replicating elsewhere in the world within global supply chain in manufacturing, said a Foreign Ministry media release on Friday night.
* Sajid Cotton Mills starts commercial production at SAAD Musa Industrial Park:
Mahmud Sajid Cotton Mills, an enterprise of the SAAD Musa Industrial Park, has started its commercial production in the industrial park today at Anwara upazila on the south bank of the Karnaphuli River.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Export Import Bank of Bangladesh Dr Md Haider Ali Meah formally inaugurated the cotton mills.
Presided over by managing director of SAAD MUSA Industrial Park Alhaj Md Mohsin, DGM of the Export Import Bank Md Sirajul Islam, DGM Khandakar Rumi Ehsanul Hoque, executive vice president and zonal manager Md Shahidullah, executive vice president Md Mosharraf Hossain Majumder and senior officials of the SAAD Musa Group were present on the occasion.
SAAD Musa Industrial Park, the only Bangladeshi-owned export-oriented industrial exclusive zone in the private sector in Chittagong was developed on a vast tract of land by the SAAD Musa Group of Industries at Anwara upazila sadar and went into operation two years back.
As many as 10,000 workers are engaged in several industrial units of the textile giant and another two thousand workers have found employment in the latest unit Ms Mahmud Sajid Cotton Mills, said Md Musa, adding over 50,000 workers will be employed in the industrial zone when it goes into full operation within a short time.
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* CID asked to submit Rana Plaza probe Aug 13:
A Dhaka court has ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit the probe report on Rana Plaza collapse on August 13.
Dhaka Senior Judicial Magistrate Washim Sheikh passed the order as the CID failed to submit the report on Monday morning.
Earlier, the court had fixed June 30 for submitting the report. But, Investigation Officer Bijoy Krishna Kar, an assistant superintendent of police of CID, failed to meet the deadline.
Two cases were filed with Savar police station following the collapse of Rana Plaza.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) filed a case against the building owner for the structural fault found at the building and constructing the structure using substandard materials and violating building code.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
18:53:52 local time INDIA
* States to pay entire compensation for wage delay by July 31:
Centre has come down heavily on states asking them to pay the entire compensation to workers arising out of delay in wages by July 31 under the employment guarantee scheme, in the absence of which states will not be allowed to apply for further funds under the scheme from the Centre.
At present, 25% of the payments amounting to Rs 2,700 crore are delayed beyond the stipulated 15 days. A fraction of payments, about Rs125 crore, have been delayed for over 90 days.
* No tweaking in labour laws without consultations, Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says:
Labour minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday reiterated that the Centre would go through the tripartite consultative mechanism before amending labour laws.
This comes at a time when the Centre has sought inputs and suggestions on amendments to a slew of labour laws, including Factories Act, Minimum Wages Act and Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.
At a meeting with labour ministers of states, Tomar said, “Our labour legislations have been shaped by tripartite consultative mechanisms. They lay down the foundation of growth, peace and stability in our society. State governments play a very significant role in shaping the amendments in our labour legislation.”
read more. & read more.
* Reform contract labour law first, say experts:
Legal reforms proposed in Rajasthan would hamper worker interest
As the Rajasthan government begins to reform its labour laws, industry experts said immediate changes were needed in rules for contract workers.
Rituparna Chakraborty, president, Indian Staffing Federation, said the contract labour rules should recognise the tripartite relationship among the worker, the contractor and the company.
“Since only a bipartite relationship is recognised, there are fears of misuse because the role of each party is not well defined,” she said.
Chakraborty said India had about 144 labour laws and laws differed in 29 states and seven union territories.
These include laws on minimum wages, contract labour, industrial disputes, and provident fund, with different levels of central and state jurisdiction.
Labour is in the Constitution’s concurrent list, allowing the Centre and state governments to legislate on it. Chakraborty suggested labour laws should be clubbed with sections social security, health insurance, compensation and wages.
* Trade unions’ plea to Arun Jaitley:
‘Don’t make amendments to Section 64 of Factories Act’
Five leading trade unions in Tirupur knitwear cluster made a joint representation to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting the Government not to heed the recommendations of certain section of knitwear manufacturers for amendments to the Section 64 of Factories Act, 1948.
Members of CITU, AITUC, INTUC, LPF and MLF pointed out that the sub-clause in the Section 64 of the Factories Act, 1948, stating that the “total number of hours of overtime should not exceed 50 hours for any one quarter of a particular financial year” must stand.
“A section of knitwear exporters are seeking changes in the said Section of the Factories Act with the objective of making the workers toil for uncertain amount of additional hours without even paying them double wages. Already, most of the units in Tirupur cluster are not paying double wages for the overtime work period.
“Our contention is that a worker should not be forced to undergo more than 50 hours of overtime in a quarter (i.e. three month period) for the good of his/her health and he/she should be compulsorily paid double wages for each hour of the overtime duty up to the stipulated 50 hours,” C. Moorthy, district joint secretary of CITU, said.
* Textiles ministry seeks funds for tech upgrade:
The union textiles ministry has sought more funds for the technology upgradation fund scheme (TUFS), textile commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta said.
The ministry is also working on a project to make TUFS fully online to ensure hassle-free disbursal of subsidy. The draft textile policy is almost ready and the industry can offer suggestions and changes before it is made final, she said.
“We need more funds for TUFS. We are seeking higher allocation,” Gupta said. The average disbursals under the scheme has been around Rs 2500 crore per year now, she said. With committed liabilities of around Rs 9500 crore, the funds that are now available would last for only 1-2 years, she stated.
The government had approved the continuation of TUFS for the 12th plan period (2012-17) with a budgetary allocation of Rs 11900 crore. The scheme would require at least Rs 15000 crore for the entire plan period, Gupta said.
* Power loom units should modernise, says official:
Power loom units should make use of the government schemes and modernise the machinery, according to Textile Commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta.
She inaugurated here on Friday a three-day buyer-seller meeting organised by the Office of the Textile Commissioner and the Power loom Development and Export Promotion Council.
There are 24 stalls displaying home textiles, dress materials, and bed linen made by the power loom units.
Ms. Gupta said the subsidy was available to the units under several schemes. Of the 23 lakh power looms in the country, just 1.75 lakh were modernised.
The industry associations should be proactive and help the units go in for modernisation. Cost competitiveness and quality were important for the units.
Speaking at the function, vice-chairman of southern India Mills’ Association M. Senthil Kumar said about one-third of the country’s textile business was in Tamil Nadu.
The power loom units and spinning mills have been appealing to the State Government for reduction of Value Added Tax on yarn to 2 per cent from 5 per cent as the Central Sales Tax is 2 per cent. Yarn purchased by the weaving and garment units here from other States costs less.
* Indian govt to make TUFS procedure online:
The Ministry of Textile Industry, Government of India, is planning to make online the entire procedure from application to sanction of fund and all matters related to the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), said a top official, Business Standard reports quoting PTI.
At an interaction with textile entrepreneurs, organized by the Southern India Mills’ Association in Coimbatore, Kiran Soni Gupta, Textile Commissioner, Mumbai, said once the TUFS procedure is made online it would help overcome any possible procedural hassles and also delay and confusion over the communication to beneficiaries of TUFS.
* Continue excise duty exemption on branded garments: CMAI:
The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) today urged the government to continue excise duty exemption on branded garments for the healthy growth of the organised sector.
“We have urged the government to continue excise duty exemption on branded garments for healthy growth of the organised sector. If government brings back compulsory excise duty on branded garments, it will have disastrous impact on the industry and will help the grey market,” CMAI President Rahul Mehta said in a statement here.
The CMAI said the government should consider the definition of a “Brand” under excise laws, which includes any garment, which has a name, or logo, or symbol or any other identification mark on the product or package.
* Labour’s shadow over Bengal industry:
Worker unrest is back to haunt West Bengal. The recent lynching of a mill executive has companies asking the government to act
It wasn’t a regular meeting on June 16. The 20-odd industrialists were meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and members of her industry core committee in the air-conditioned ‘Glass House’ on an island in Rajarhat’s Eco Tourism park, 18 km from Kolkata.
The discussions had been scheduled much before the events of the previous day, when labour clashes had claimed the life of the chief executive of the Northbrook Jute Company. Despite the horrific incident, much of the talk that day focused on the “glorious” development efforts of the new government, unforeseen in 34 years of Left rule. Until a lawyer struck a discordant note.
N G Khaitan, advocate and partner of the century-old solicitor firm, Khaitan & Co, brought the assembly back to reality when he pointed out to the chief minister that if the government failed to act on incidents like the lynching of the chief executive officer, then the history of the flight of capital from Bengal would be repeated.
This was the cue for others. Some of the industrialists are reported to have said that incidents like Northbrook indicated that the state wasn’t fully sure of the peace and stability required for the growth of industry and business in West Bengal. Banerjee was also told that labour trouble of the sort affected the morale of industry.
The chief minister is believed to have assured her guests that the government did not approve of any form of militant trade unionism.
* Brand new threads of opportunity:
Usha Umesh’s Poojaa Garments in Kinfra Apparel Park exports ready-to-wear garments to Brazil
Even as Samba magic weaves its way into every nook and corner in Kerala, a group of people in the capital city have been weaving their own brand of magic by making cool and trendy apparel for folks in the land of the Samba!
Apparently, there is more than football and cassava that is common to Kerala and Brazil. Adding yet another thread to bind the two is Poojaa Garments, a manufacturing company in Kinfra Apparel Park, which has been exporting ready-to-wear garments to Brazil.
“It is a challenge for us and a milestone in my four-year journey in this industry,” says Usha Umesh, managing director of Poojaa Garments. Yesterday a consignment of 8,000 cargo shorts made its way from Thiruvananthapuram to Brazil. The factory is gearing up for the next consignment on July 31.
Stylishly done, the cargo shorts in olive and tan are packed into cartons bearing the name Sam’s Club.
This consignment for Walmart, the United States-based giant retailing chain, is part of an order for 44,000 Bermudas. In another section, nimble fingers give the finishing touches to shirts in eye-catching check prints.
The shirts are for a leading retailer in India, the last before Poojaa Garments concentrates on garments for Walmart alone. Another group of workers are working on a consignment for Rovietex, a Brazilian retailer.
Every worker in Poojaa Garments, one of the four apparel companies in Kinfra, knows this is an order that can change their fortune in a significant way and so there is a sense of purpose in each person.
It’s says a lot for Usha’s entrepreneurial skills and her team of employees, all feverishly working to meet the deadline.
* Cotton textile industry has potential to invest upto Rs 4K crore: Texprocil:
Says Rs 1,000 crore of TUFS money surrendered should be given back to the textile industry
The cotton textile industry has a potential to invest up to Rs 4,000 crore leading to generation of 50,000 new jobs if the government accepts the sector’s demands in the forthcoming Budget, a top industry official has said.
“We have urged the government that Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) should be extended during the blackout period from June 29, 2010 to April 27, 2011, when the scheme was suspended to all cases which have been left out for no fault of the industry,” Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council of India (Texprocil) Deputy Chairman R K Dalmia told PTI here.
Dalmia urged Textile Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar to restore the benefit as investments made during the 18 month gap are eligible investments before and after extension of the TUFS.
18:53:52 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association launched:
The Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) was formally launched last Friday (20 June) under the distinguished patronage of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and a large gathering of key apparel industry players at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo.
Formerly known as the Domestic Garment Manufacturers Association, one of SLABA’s primary objectives is to gain both local and international recognition as the hub of Sri Lanka’s apparel brands.
To further this end it has also gained membership of JAAF (Joint Apparel Association Forum). Celebrating the occasion, the Association’s new website – www.srilankabrands.com – was also formally launched by the Minister
“Sri Lanka’s retail apparel market today is estimated to be in the region of US$ 2 billion. 40% of this market share is contributed by Sri Lankan brands.
* SLABA to boost apparel exports:
The Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) was launched at the Cinnamon Lakeside recently.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and a large gathering of key apparel industry players were present.
Formerly known as the Domestic Garment Manufacturers Association, one of SLABA’s primary objectives is to gain local and international recognition as the hub of Sri Lanka’s apparel brands.
“Sri Lanka’s retail apparel market today is estimated to be in the region of US$ 2 billion. 40% of this market share is contributed by Sri Lankan brands. We thus felt that the time was opportune to re-brand ourselves.
We have re-branded to gain greater recognition as we assert ourselves in the industry and market-place as an Association which encourages branded quality products for the consumer,” said SLABA Chairman Indradatta Dharmawardane.
20140624 * Chinese owned garment warehouse goes up in smoke:
A fire that broke out in a T-shirt warehouse in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ), yesterday morning, was brought under control by the fire brigades of the Air Force, Negombo Urban Council and FTZ by noon.
Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the fire had broken out around 10.50 a.m. in a storage facility belonging to a garment factory in the FTZ, Katunayake.
Police sources said that the factory belonged to a Chinese and the loss incurred had been about Rs. 100 million as tailored t-shirts had been destroyed.
Prior to the fire breaking out some workers had been engaged in welding on the upper floor of the warehouse. The Katunayake Police are conducting investigations to find out the cause of fire.
18:23:52 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Law against harassment of women being amended’:
Provincial Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din has said amendments in Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 are aimed at further improving laws to ensure protection of women.
She said this while presiding over a meeting held in connection with amendments in Protection of Working Women Harassment Act 2010 on Thursday.
Secretary Women Development Iram Bukhari, Provincial Ombudswoman Mira Phailbus, Chairperson Provincial Commission for Women Fauzia Waqar and others were also present. The meeting reviewed in detail amendments in protection against harassment of women at the workplace act and gave approval for preparation of a summary at the earliest for extending the scope of the act.
Provincial Minister Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din said the purpose of amendments in the act is to improve women protection laws and remove legal complications. She said women are playing an important role in the national development and government appreciates their services at every level.
* Women in the workplace: We make laws and never look at their flaws says IA Rehman:
While there has been progress in terms of increased reporting of sexual harassment cases, legal experts and human rights defenders gathered at a local hotel here Saturday evening to discuss and suggest amendments that would further improve its implementation.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Secretary General IA Rehman explained that while the law was crafted in 2010 after years of consultation, it was the only law which had a component of implementation. “We make laws in Pakistan and never look at the flaws in them,” he said.
Rehman said harassment acts as an obstacle for growth and progression in any society and Pakistan continues to face the issue. Due to this very reason, the country was bearing the economic cost of women not working, which needed to be evaluated, he said.
* Textile industry fetches $10.385b in nine months:
The textile industry has contributed precious foreign exchange of $ 10.385 billion to national exchequer during first nine months of this fiscal year.
The cotton, having a share of 1.4 per cent in GDP and 6.7 per cent in agriculture value addition is an important source of raw material to the textile industry, which was cultivated on an area of 28,06,000 hectares, 2.5 per cent less than last year’s area of 28,79,000 hectares.
According to the Ministry of Textile figures, the production stood at 12.8 million bales during the period against the target of 14.1 million bales.
* Textiles yet to reap benefit of GSP Plus :
Two companies, among the 175 textile firms listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange, have continued to capture investors’ interest: Nishat Mills Ltd and Nishat Chunian Ltd.
As Nishat Mills (NML) was discussed in a previous article, we now look at Nishat Chunian Ltd (NCL). The Nishat Chunian group has under its fold three companies: Nishat Chunian Ltd, Nishat Chunian USA Inc. and Nishat Chunian Power Ltd. Yet, the first of the three stands out as perhaps the second most favourite company on the textile sector, after Nishat Group’s flagship Nishat Mills Ltd.
NCL made a modest start in 1990 with a spinning mill of only 14,400 spindles. Over the years, it has transformed into a vertically integrated textile company that prides itself on being the fourth largest textile company in Pakistan in terms of turnover. The company earned Rs21.2bn in revenues in 2013.
* ‘Textile industry confronting problems’:
All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has drawn the attention of the Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afraidi towards problems confronting the industry.
Aptma Chairman Mohammad Yasin Siddik, in a letter to the minister, lamented that Pakistan has no plants for producing specialised manmade fibre, such as viscose, acrylic, bamboo, lycra and slub, but a duty of five per cent is still imposed on its imports.
He revealed that the usage of man-made fibre in Pakistan is less than 20 per cent in contrast with 60pc in other textile producing countries.
The Aptma chief mentioned that in the budget 2014-15 one per cent customs duty and 5pc sales tax has been imposed on import of raw cotton.
He said that it would enhance cost of end product as spinning industry has to import around 25pc (two to three million bales) of its total cotton demand, including long staple and contamination-free to produce high value yarn and high end value added products.
* $26 billion export eyed: MoTI finalises new Textile Policy draft:
The Ministry of Textile Industry has finalised the draft of the proposed Textile Policy (2014-19), with an export target of $26 billion for the next five years, it is learnt.
Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that the draft of the textile policy has been finalised; and it would be forwarded to Commerce, Industries and Production along with other relevant ministries for comments as required under the law.
After the input of different ministries, the policy would be laid before the Cabinet to be chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for final approval. The new textile policy may be announced by mid-July 2014, sources added.
The ministry has proposed Rs 80 billion to finance different initiatives of the policy during this period where more focus would be on value addition and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Under the proposed five-year policy, funds will be released on a quarterly basis and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will directly execute it. The government is seeking to increase textile exports by $2 billion per annum under the proposed textile policy, sources added.
* Garments, textile sectors: six working groups formed to increase exports: Shahbaz:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that government has formed six working groups for the development of garments and textile sector and to increase exports.
He said that a project has been evolved to set up Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park near Motorway.
He said that more facilities are being offered to garments and textile sector for getting maximum benefit from GSP Plus status as well as creating new job opportunities in the country and increasing exports.
He stated this while presiding over a meeting held here on Friday to review the steps taken for development of garments and textile sectors after awarding of GSP Plus status to Pakistan.
* PTEA: Technology needed to move ahead, say officials:
Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and Vice Chairman Adil Tahir have urged the government to focus on introducing latest technologies in all sectors to revive the economy and ensure its sustainable growth.
They said that technology restraints have been the main hurdles holding back Pakistan from achieving socio-economic development.
“Pakistan has not yet been able to make requisite advancement in modern technology in the fields of industry, production, energy and infrastructure,” said the officials. “Adoption of new technologies has become more essential for a developing country like Pakistan, particularly at a time when the level of competition, production processes and methods are rapidly changing and advancing on the globe,” they added.
* APTMA to launch internship programme:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) will provide an internship opportunity to youth for their skills development.
This was stated by APTMA Chairman Muhammad Yasin Siddik during a meeting with Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, here at APTMA House on Friday. The meeting was also attended by the federal textile secretary.
* Punjab-based textile industry facing closure: APTMA:
Punjab-based textile industry was facing shift-closures in industry due to electricity load shedding, extreme low voltage supply and power outages.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab acting Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan said the captive power based textile mills were facing 16 hours day long gas supply cuts and even the 8 hours a day gas supply was marred by low pressure which was hitting the productivity of textile industry hard in Punjab.
The energy starved Punjab based textile industry was unable to sustain 60 percent of the industrial capacity and has become partially impaired.
This has resulted in massive lay-offs with negative effect on the auxiliary businesses servicing the textile units.
He said Punjab-based textile workers were perturbed over the situation and the level of unrest was on the rise due to the closure of production shifts in the mills.
* No further concession: Gas infrastructure cess to stay, says textile minister:
Federal Textile Minister Abbas Khan Afridi has asked the textile industry to switch to coal instead of banking on gas as their main source of energy as the latter is not only in short supply but is also going to be expensive in coming years.
“The gas that you are getting will only become costly in coming years. Though the government is issuing gas exploration licences swiftly, to enjoy a reliable source of energy you should shift to imported coal,” he said.
He was talking to members of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) at its head office here on Friday.
The minister said in categorical terms that the gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) would not be taken back from the textile sector.
* APTMA irked by spectre of power loadshedding:
Acting Chairman APTMA Punjab Syed Ali Ahsan has said that the Punjab-based textile industry has closure of shifts due to daily electricity load shedding coupled with extremely low voltages as well as interruptions.
Similarly, he said, the captive power based textile mills are facing 16 hours a day gas supply cuts and even the 8 hours a day gas supply is marred by low pressure which is hitting the productivity of textile industry hard in Punjab.
* PCGA rejects five percent GST on oil cake:
Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Chairman, Mukhtar Ahmed Baloch while presiding over a meeting of central executive committee on Friday rejected the government’s decision of five percent GST on oil cake and said that this will affect the milk production, quality of milk and other dairy products besides increasing their prices.
He said that there are more than 4,000 oil mills in the country, out of which 60 percent are unregistered and less than 40 percent are registered but their annual turn over is less than Rs 50 million. He said that PCGA would be forced to take direct action if their demands will not consider.
* Textile skill development plan for youth:
Textile Minister Abbas Khan Afridi said on Friday that his ministry is launching a skill development programme for youth in the textile policy to be announced next month.
He said the main objective of training programme is to provide skilled workforce to textile industry and make it more competitive in the world market.
Speaking to All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) members at the Aptma House, the minister said his ministry would bear all cost of skill development programme which would include stipend to the trainee, raw material, social mobilisation evaluation cost.
The minister further said that around 120,000 men and women will impart training during next five years and an amount of Rs4.4 billion has been allocated for this programme.