09:38:51 local time CHINA
* Chinese companies boost US textile industry:
As many as 17 Chinese companies have invested in South Carolina, the U.S., as of 2013 to help boost the local textile industry.
Lancaster County of South Carolina used to be a textile powerhouse in the United States. Twenty companies were once operating in the county and two in neighboring counties during its peak time, but they had virtually shut down by 2007.
Since the end of last year, China’s Keer Group has invested US$218 million in South Carolina, the local textile industry became active again. The Zhejiang Province-based Keer Group is the first Chinese textile company to set up a manufacture factory in the U.S.
Sixteen other Chinese textile companies followed suit later and arrived in South Carolina in 2013, with an investment totaling US$656 million, making China the second largest investor in the state.
08:38:51 local time VIET NAM
* Vinatex to rely on dividends after equitisation:
Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has said it will rely on dividends from its affiliates and associate companies as a main source of income after it undergoes equitisation even though it will heavily invest in material production, the Saigon Times Daily reported.
BIDV Securities Company (BSC), the consultant for Vinatex’s initial public offering (IPO), announced a report at a road show of Vinatex in Ho Chi Minh City on July 4, saying Vinatex will invest 3.4 trillion VND in eight fiber projects in 2013-2017 and 6 trillion VND in nine fabric projects in 2014-2017.
The country’s leading textile and garment firm is looking to obtain revenue of nearly 1.9 trillion VND this year and boost it to nearly 8.7 trillion VND in 2016.
08:38:51 local time CAMBODIA
* Garment worker crackdown – six months on:
For “the 23”, life after prison is filled with painful memories and worries about their future.
Six months ago, on January 2 and 3, they were arrested during a violent crackdown on protesting garment workers that killed four and left one missing.
Five weeks after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted but released the 23, they are coming to terms with what this will mean for their lives and for the future of their campaign to raise the minimum average wage to $160 per month.
see video report.
* FTU Trio Held at Factory by Rivals in Union Clash:
Workers aligned with the Collective Union of Movement of Workers locked three officials from the Free Trade Union inside the Ocean Garment factory in Phnom Penh for eight hours Tuesday after the two unions argued over who would represent workers in a wage dispute.
Ocean’s approximately 1,000 workers have been protesting since late May after the factory suspended operations for a month due to low orders, offering to pay workers just $15 for the furlough period. The Collective Union has been representing workers in the dispute, which was referred to the Arbitration Council last month after the two sides failed to come to an agreement.
On Tuesday morning, however, six Free Trade Union officials visited workers in their homes near the factory grounds to offer them cash if they would sign documents ending their contract with the factory, according to Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union.
“They encouraged workers and told them that if they did not take the money before [the FTU officials] left, then all of them would get nothing,” he said.
* Growth Masks Garment Sector Woes, Groups Say:
Claims over the past six months that the garment sector is ailing following nationwide protests that were violently suppressed in January seem to be at odds with new figures from the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts showing robust growth this year in the $5 billion industry.
The figures show an 8 percent year-on-year increase in the number of garment factories registered in the first six months of this year compared with 2013, bringing the number of garment manufacturing businesses in Cambodia to 1,200, according to Huot Pheng, director of the ministry’s registration department. Mr. Pheng said the number of workers in the industry is now at 733,300, up from 677,600 last year.
“The government is proving very successful in its work,” said Mr. Pheng, adding that the number of new factories in the provinces is also growing steadily as a result of a government policy encouraging investment outside of urban centers and in higher-tech production.
“Before, workers were running to factories in the cities for work, but now we see new factories are opening every day in rural areas in the provinces,” he said.
But Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), warned against interpreting the increase of factory registrations during the period as a sign the garment industry had avoided serious fallout from the strikes in January.
08:08:51 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* Singapore tops FDI list :
Foreign investment exceeded US$2 billion in the first five months of the year, with funds from Singapore accounting for $1.9 billion of the total, the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration said.
Investment from Thailand ranked second, at $114 million. Investment from mainland China was $51 million, while Hong Kong investment totaled $42 million. Japan, Malaysia and South Korea followed, with $26 million, $24 million and $22 million respectively. Investment from the United Kingdom was $14 million, while investment from Sweden was $14 million. Investment from Brunei and Samoa was $3 million each, while investment from India was $0.9 million.
The commodity-production sector received the most investment while the tourism and communications sectors came second and third.
This has prompted a flood of investment into several sectors, including the garment sector, which some analysts expect to become a regional leader over the next five years.
07:38:51 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG factory owners for release of cash incentives:
Payment of wages before Eid to be difficult
A large number of readymade garment (RMG) factory owners may face difficulties in paying wages and allowances to their workers if the government does not release committed cash incentive on time before Eid-ul Fitr, industry insiders said.
It usually takes 15 to 20 days for the exporters concerned to get cash incentive after its release from the Ministry of Finance (MoF). So, it will be very difficult to provide wages and allowances to their workers before Eid if funds are not cleared from the very beginning of Ramadan, they pointed out.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) has sought cash incentive to be cleared by July 10 next, officials said.
They said acting President of the association Mohammad Hatem recently sent a letter to Finance Minister AMA Muhith seeking release of cash subsidy.
The government released Tk 6.48 billion in April last. But the allocation for the apparel exporters was Tk. 5.55 billion. At that time, they had applied for Tk 8.50 billion. There was a deficit of some Tk 3.50 billion then.
* 20 RMG workers hurt in clash with cops:
They demand arrears from shutdown garment company in N’ganj
At least 20 workers of a garment factory were injured in a clash that ensued when police tried to stop them from blocking Dhaka-Narayanganj link road yesterday.
The workers of Radical Design Ltd, a company closed for six months, took to the streets and tried to block the road in Shibu Market area demanding payment of arrears.
The authorities kept promising them to pay their arrears but did not keep their words.
Inspector Rezaul Karim of Industrial Police said several hundred workers vandalised vehicles around 3:30pm.
When police tried to disperse the demonstrators they started throwing brick chips at the law enforcers triggering the clash.
Later, police brought the situation under control by firing 12 bullets, said police.
On June 15, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), fearing labour unrest in the zone due to the closed factory, sent a letter to State Minister for Labour and Employment Mojibul Haque Chunnu.
A garment inspector in the zone recently filed a case with the labour court asking to pay the arrears of the worker’s salary selling the assets of the Canadian owner of the garment.
* RMG workers stage demo for wages at Badda:
Workers of a readymade garments (RMG) factory staged a demonstration at North Badda in the city to press for payment of their due wages on Wednesday, disrupting traffic on the Rampura-Badda Road.
Police said the workers of Toba Garments factory took to the street at around 9:50am demanding their outstanding wages of three months and overtime.
They blocked the busy road halting traffic movement.
On information, additional force of police was deployed in the area to avert further trouble.
* EPZ labour bill stops short of allowing TU rights:
Labour leaders say
Labour rights groups have termed ‘disappointing’ the draft Bangladesh EPZ Labour Bill-2014 as it stopped short of allowing workers’ trade union rights.
Different labour rights groups on Tuesday alleged that the government did not bring any fundamental changes to the law as the provisions of ‘Export Processing Zones Workers Association and Industrial Relations Act, 2004’ almost remained in the newly approved bill.
Labour leaders said that the government move to introduce workers’ welfare associations instead of trade union had frustrated them as it was done without consultation with the trade union leaders.
‘No fundamental change have been brought to the bill and it has not ensured freedom of association and the right to form trade union,’ Sultan Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, told New Age.
According to the bill, workers willing to form an association with the capacity to bargain for rights would have to apply to the chairman of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority but BEPZA could not be the authority for giving registration to any trade union, he pointed out.
Labour directorate was the only authority to give registration to trade union, he said.
Chowdhury Ashiqul Alam, general secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Sangha, said it was ‘sheer hypocrisy’ in the name of allowing trade union rights. ‘A welfare association cannot be a trade union and such kind of association can never protect the rights of workers,’ he said.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garment Workers Federation, said that the new EPZ Labour Bill just recognised welfare association, not trade union.
Garment Workers Trade Union Centre president Montu Ghosh said that the government had approved the EPZ Labour Bill without talking to labour leaders and the new law could not ensure trade union rights of workers.
The government allowed workers to form welfare association but we want full implementation of trade union rights in the EPZ,’ Garment Workers Unity Forum president Mushrefa Mishu said.
* Export Processing Zones (EPZ) to have “Freedom of Association” – First step towards a milestone:
After a week since the negative US review came over the GSP issue in Bangladesh, the cabinet yesterday approved a draft law which would pave the way for Bangladesh Export Processing Zone workers to unionize.
The demand for freedom of association have been a burning issue for labor rights groups and sympathizers, and played a major role in the GSP (General system of preference) denied to Bangladesh from the United States.
On June 27, 2013, the United States suspend Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), citing serious shortcomings in workplace safety and labor rights.
The US presented 16 conditions for reform in the garment sector, which unless met would prevent Bangladesh from enjoying its GSP facility.
The Bangladeshi government has since then started reforming the garment sector based on those conditions (as well as pressure from European retailers and right groups).
The Current review said, in the words of United States Trade Representative Michael Froman: “We are seeing some improvements that move us closer to our shared goal of protecting workers from another workplace tragedy such as the April 2013, “However, we remain concerned about the large number of factories that have yet to be inspected, the lack of progress on needed labor law reforms, and continuing reports of harassment of and violence against labor activists who are attempting to exercise their rights.”
* EU spurs Bangladesh to do more for factory safety:
Bangladesh has significantly improved the workplace safety standards and labour rights in the last one year, but still a lot to do, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.
The comment came at a time when the Sustainability Compact, which Bangladesh signed with the European Union involving the International Labour Organisation (ILO), completed its first anniversary yesterday.
Under the agreement, Bang-ladesh is committed to improve safety standards and labour rights, and the EU will observe the progress of the commitments for one year before taking any trade action against Bangladesh.
The US also joined the Sustainability Compact later.
Bangladesh should enact the regulations on labour reforms and take steps to extend the improved labour rights to the export processing zones, De Gucht said in Paris on June 26.
“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,” De Gucht said.
read more. & read more.
* Bangladesh Gets a Failing Grade on Sustainability Compact:
On 8 July 2013, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster, the ILO, EU and Bangladesh agreed to a Sustainability Compact, a detailed plan under which Bangladesh committed to make a number of sweeping reforms on protection of rights, fire and building safety, and corporate responsibility.
Since then, other governments have lent their support to the Compact. Despite the global horror at the tragedy, and the resources invested now in Bangladesh to address these problems, the government of Bangladesh has made very little progress in meeting the terms of the Compact.
“We are appalled that the Government of Bangladesh has done so little, given that nearly 4 million workers depend on the government to effectively implement this plan. Given the lack of progress, the next industrial disaster is only a matter of time,” explained Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). “Worse, the Commerce Minister has personally threatened to retaliate against unions in Bangladesh that have pointed out the government’s failure
to protect workers’ rights.”
The International Trade Union Confederation, IndustriALL and UNI Global Union have just released an evaluation of the implementation of the Sustainability Compact. The unions find that Bangladesh has clearly failed to address the majority of the issues in the Compact.
* Mozena for Accord-Alliance coordination for compliance:
US Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan Mozena has called for coordination between the Accord and the Alliance-two initiatives by the western retailers- to make their ongoing safety compliance efforts in Bangladesh’s apparel sector more effective and successful.
“The two brand initiatives to improve factory safety – the Accord and the Alliance – must also continue to improve collaboration to ensure joint progress and clear expectations for the industry,” Mr Mozena said.
However, the US call for coordination came against the backdrop of some disputes that have arisen between the two initiatives over inspection standards, duplication of factory assessment and payment of workers during suspension of any factory, informed circles said.
* Mozena for dealing with violence against labour activists in real time :
US Ambassador Dan Mozena on Tuesday said Bangladesh needs to develop a mechanism to ensure that all the allegations of harassment and violence against labour activists are dealt with fairly, transparently and in real time.
The US diplomat also said Bangladesh needs to continue factory inspections to ensure that all factories are inspected and held to standard, and mentioned that the public database of safety and labour inspection results, though now online lacks vital information.
read more. & read more. & to read.
* RMG export order falls marginally in last six months :
Issuance of UDs (utilisation declarations), dropped marginally during the January-June period of the current calendar year (2014) against the same period of the previous year indicating a downtrend in the apparel exports.
UD is an important index for assessing the country’s garment export performances.
The apparel manufacturers seek permission from the BGMEA’s UD section after confirmation of letters of credit (LCs).
BGMEA issued 14,153 UDs during the last six months (January-June) of the current calendar year against 15,850 of the same period of the last year. The government gave an official power to the BGMEA to issue UDs in favour of export orders.
“Now the small and medium RMG units have no fresh work orders as the buyers are preferring large and compliant factories, slowing down issuance of UDs,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) vice president Shahidullah Azim told the FE.
* Tk 1.33 crore of RMG factory looted:
A group of criminals looted Tk 1.33 crore from a microbus of Knit Fashion Wear Limited, a RMG factory at Boardmill area in Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur district on Monday afternoon.
Sources said that three officials of the factory were going to their Chandra unit from company’s head office carrying the money for paying the salaries of workers on Tuesday. The miscreants opened six round fire to create panic during the incident.
Assistant Manager of HR department of the factory Rabiul Islam Bakaul said when three officials of the factory including a Chinese citizen were returning to the factory from the head office at Ashulia Jamgor area of Savar with Tk 1.33 crore in a microbus, six criminals on a motorbike suddenly appeared before the microbus creating barrier and snatched the money targetting a pistol on the head of microbus driver.
They opened six rounds of bullet to create panic during the incident and fled the place immediately.
The company would have paid the workers salary by the money. Sub-inspector of Kaliakoir police station Atikur Rahman said senior police official of Gazipur district visited the spot.
A case will be filed if the company authority files a complaint with the police station.
* Highway blocked protesting move to make BJMC a holding co :
Workers of seven state-owned jute mills blocked the Khulna-Jessore Highway on Tuesday morning protesting the government move to transform Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) into a holding company.
The jute mills include Platinum Jute Mills, Crescent Jute Mills, Star Jute Mills, Jessore Jute Mills and Industry, People’s Jute Mills and Appeal Jute Mills.
Witnesses said workers of the seven jute mills took to the street at about 10:00am and staged demonstration blocking the busy Khulna-Jessore Highway till 12.00pm.
All activities at the mills remained stopped during the demonstration.
read more.& read more. & read more.
* Textile minister for silk sector revitalization:
Textile and Jute Minister Imaj Uddin Pramanik, MP, here today expressed his wholehearted willingness to revitalize the silk sector to uphold its glorious heritage.
He said the Rajshahi region and the country as well is proud for the Rajshahi silk. So, we have obligation to protect the sector from further degradation.
The minister made this observation while sharing views with the officers and employees of Bangladesh Silk Development Board (BSDB) at its headquarter in Rajshahi city.
07:08:51 local time INDIA
* Raise wages: textile workers:
Loadmen, and others employed in the textile sector took out a rally here on Tuesday demanding that wages be raised.
Under the aegis of Erode District All Loadmen Central Unions Coordination Committee, the workers took out a rally from Chokkanathan Street to Brough Road via Brinda Nagar, Easwarankoil Street, Tiruvenkataveethi, NMS Compound, and Brough Road.
They subsequently submitted a petition containing their demand.
* Weavers stop purchasing yarn due to rising prices:
The powerloom weavers in the country’s biggest man-made fabric (MMF) sector in Surat have stopped the purchase of yarn material following the steep increase in the prices by the frontline spinners in the last few days due to Iraq crisis and the effect of extended monsoon season.
Market sources said that yarn spinners have increased the price by almost 20-25 per cent following the rise in the crude oil price due to the Iraq crisis in the last few days.
Surat has the highest consumption of yarn material as the entire MMF industry is depended on it for weaving polyester fabrics. The daily production of MMF fabric is pegged at 3 crore meters.
* Integrated textile park proposed in the Odisha:
Spread over 50 acres, it will house about 50 textile units
To give a boost to the textile sector an integrated textiles park (ITP) is proposed in Mayurbhanj district under the Scheme for Integrated Textiles Park (SITP) of Union ministry of Textiles.
“We have proposed the Centre for setting up of a textile park spreading over 50 acres of land at Baripada spinning mill compound with a total project cost of Rs 120 crore”, Amit Behera, convenor of the industry body North Odisha Chamber of Commerce and Industry(NOCCi) told Business Standard.
The project cost include Rs 18 crore for land (available in spinning mill campus), Rs 65.5 crore for common infrastructure, Rs 25 crore for common business centre, Rs five crore each for common maintenance facility and common service equipment, among others.
06:38:51 local time PAKISTAN
* New textile policy yet to be announced: government inaction hinders industry from availing GSP plus facility:
The country’s textile sector is midway stuck to carry on their global trade especially with the EU under the GSP Plus regime since the textile policy lapsed last month, industry sources said on Tuesday.
“The government’s stagnant approach towards the economy poses a big challenge to textile sector to deal with the global buyers for coming seasons,” they said, adding that the federal textile ministry failed to reintroduce the textile policy to help the entire sector.
The textile policy, which was first introduce in 2009, lapsed on June 30, 2014, they said, adding that the government’s ministry concerned had pledged to announce a fresh policy on July 2, yet the sector is without any official guidelines.
Talking to Business Recorder, Chief Co-ordinator, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufactures and Exporters Association (Prgmea), Ijaz A. Khokhar regretted that the entire textile sector is under stress for want of a policy that should help the industry’s growth.
* Textile sector calls for reviving sick units:
Textile entrepreneurs have urged the government to do its utmost for the revival of sick units as yarn consumption at international level is declining and local value-added textile sector can exploit the situation.
They said revival of such units would also provide jobs to the jobless if the government provided them with required working capital to take benefit of the GSP Plus status from the EU.
They held a meeting to review the situation of the sick units held with Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President Suhail Bin Rasheed on Tuesday.
* Value-added textile sector: revival of sick units must for benefiting from GSP Plus: FCCI:
The revival of sick units should be the top priority of the government in order to fully harvest the benefit of GSP Plus and it is also imperative to provide jobs to the unemployed youth, said Suhail Bin Rashid, President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI). He was chairing a special meeting for the revival of sick units.
The meeting was attended by Mian Azhar Majid of Arzo Textile, Mushtaq A. Cheema of MSC Textile, Mian Muhammad Latif of Chenab Group, Mian Farhan Latif, former President of FCCI, and Muzammil Sultan.
The meeting discussed and reviewed the situation, particularly for the revival of sick textile units in Faisalabad.
The participants of the meeting urged the government to take immediate steps for the revival of value-added textile sector as the yarn consumption at international level was declining for the last few years and the whole production of spinning units will be in the local value-added textile sector.
* Issues of Punjab-based textile mills: APTMA leadership to meet government officials today:
Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer said on Tuesday that an emergent general body meeting of APTMA Punjab had authorised the leadership to take final decision regarding an indefinite strike after a meeting with the government functionaries in Islamabad today (July 9, 2014).
The general body meeting was largely attended by representatives of mills from Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan. They urged the leadership to hold negotiations with government over gas loadshedding for Punjab-based textile mills.
The general body meeting urged the APTMA management to ensure the viability and sustainability of textile industry and also assure self-respect for the investors/industrialists in the province.
S M Tanveer said APTMA members at the meeting were annoyed over non-availability and non-affordability of energy causing mills’ closures across the Punjab. However, the APTMA management and the leadership were asked not to take any extreme step prior to holding a meeting with the government functionaries.
* Dwindling exports: Textile mills plan indefinite strike if talks fail :
An emergency meeting of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab has authorised the leadership to decide about closing down the mills in protest against unprecedented electricity and gas load-shedding.
Aptma Punjab Chairman SM Tanveer, at a press conference on Tuesday, said the leadership would take a final decision on an indefinite strike after a meeting with government officials in Islamabad.
“The Punjab-based textile industry is on the verge of collapse as textile exports have already decreased $500 million in the last two months. The members at the meeting are annoyed over unavailability and unaffordability of energy, causing the mills to close down across the province,” he said.
He urged the government to ensure uninterrupted energy supply with 16 hours a day electricity supply and eight hours a day gas supply to the Punjab textile mills. The exemption from outages should be extended to 58 textile mills on independent feeders with a total demand of 150 megawatts.
read more. & read more.
* APTPMA voices concern over 14 percent price increase of gas:
All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) has expressed great concern over the prospect of 14% enhancement in the price of Suigas, and apprehended that this action would cast devastating repercussions on industrial production and export trade, and give a serious setback to export-oriented industries.
These grave apprehensions were envisaged by Central Chairman of All Pakistan textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), Sheikh Muhammad Ayub, through a press release issued by the APTPMA Headquarter, Faisalabad.
* Synthetic textile export registers 38% growth :
This is with reference to a news item published in “The Nation” on 2nd July, 2014 under the caption “Exports of synthetic textiles, towels, yarn drop despite GSP Plus”.
The news report does not take into account that European Union’s GSP Plus arrangement for 2014 onwards became operational on 1st January, 2014; hence, it is not logical to draw comparison of figures from preceding fiscal years i.e., July-March 2012-13 and July-March, 2013-14.
The appropriate comparisons would be between exports of Pakistan to EU member states during January – March, 2013 and January- March, 2014.
* IndustriALL renews agreement with world’s largest fashion retailer:
Inditex, the world’s largest fashion retailer, today reaffirmed its commitment to fundamental human and trade union rights across its supply chain in a renewed Global Framework Agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL Global Union.
In a ceremony with Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships at the International Labour Organization (ILO), IndustriALL’s general secretary Jyrki Raina met with Pablo Isla, Chairman and CEO of Inditex, to sign the renewed Agreement at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
A GFA serves to protect the interests of workers across the global operations of multinational companies, even those not directly working for the company, setting the best standards for trade union rights, health and safety, and environmental practices.
The GFA with Spanish-based Inditex covers its entire supply chain, involving a million garment workers in around 6,000 supplier factories making clothes for the company’s eight different brands, including Zara, Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti.