17:28:58 local time VIET NAM
* Workers apathetic about wage hike:
Workers are showing apathy toward the Vietnam National Wage Council’s effort to seek public opinion on how much the minimum wage should be increased by in 2015 due to it likely having little impact on their socio-economic status.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) asserted that the base wage should not be increased by more than 12 per cent. This figure was calculated based on GDP and inflation.
Disagreeing with the VCCI, Mai Duc Chinh, deputy general director of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, insisted that the wage must increase by more than 12 per cent because “only in that way will workers’ lives be improved.”
Workers seem to care little about the upcoming pay rise.
Bui Thi Thuong, a 27-year-old worker at ASTI Electronics Ltd., said the increase would not affect her higher than base monthly wage of VND3 million (around $95) but said she “will have to pay more social insurance while not receiving a higher salary.”
Nguyen Thi Thuan, an employee of Canon Vietnam said, “Rather than the retirement pension being raised, the minimum salary is being increased, our wages would be better if it stayed the same. Workers suffer from a higher living cost regardless of the minimum wage going up.”
* “China+1” policy helps major players ease reliance on China:
Vietnamese textile and garment companies have been pursuing the “China+1” policy in an effort to escape reliance on China as its biggest material supplier.
“China+1” is the strategy followed by Japanese investors over the last many years as well.
Vietnamese enterprises which want to take initiative in the textile and garment material supply may want to follow Japan’s lead.
At least five major players in the textile and garment sector, Thanh Cong, Garmex Saigon, Gia Dinh, Saigon Garment 2 and Saigon Garment 3, have vowed to “take actions” to escape the reliance on China.
Thanh Cong Textile & Garment Company is one of a few companies that will be able to enjoy preferential export tariffs of zero percent when Vietnam becomes a member of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
read more. & read more.
* Diluting dependence on Chinese garment sector imports:
Garments play a major role in the Vietnamese economy and were one of the top exports in the first half of the year.
- Garment material imports rise 20% in H1
- Garment industry stands firm in global market
- Garment exports hit US$7.44 billion
The country is one of the worldwide garment manufacturing leaders, a role that sees no sign of abating, thanks to free trade pacts in the offing.
However, the sector is highly dependent on imported input materials to sustain production, leading many market analysts to propose alternative solutions for reducing dependence and increasing domestic production. Dang Phuong Dung, Secretary General of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), granted VOV an exclusive interview on the issue.
Following are key excerpts of the interview
17:28:58 local time THAILAND
* Exporters press EU buyers to raise prices to compensate:
Thai exporters say they are negotiating with European buyers on increasing retail prices by 3-5 per cent next year, after Thailand loses its tariff privileges under the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences.
Vallop Vitanakorn, vice chairman of the Thai National Shippers Council, said exporters had started to plan for the reality of trading in the EU without the GSP. Some have negotiated with buyers in advance on increasing retail prices because Thailand will need to pay higher tariffs next year.
The EU is scheduled to cut GSP tariff privileges for 723 Thai products on January 1, 2015, after 50 products have already lost the benefits.
However, some European buyers have refused to agree to price increases next year, as their customers are reluctant to pay more amid the continent’s slow economic recovery. That means Thai traders will have to shoulder higher costs from rising tariffs, or risk losing business as European importers seek cheaper goods in other countries.
For some Thai exporters, Vallop said, this would mean shunning the European market, as their profits would be too low.
To ensure business survival, some European importers have suggested that Thai manufacturers move their plants to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Bangladesh, as these are still categorised as least developed countries and will still get GSP privileges in the EU.
17:28:58 local time CAMBODIA
* Cambodia garment workers struggle to survive:
After a 10-hour shift stitching clothes for western brands, Cambodian factory worker Ry Srey Bopha walks to her tiny shared room, eats leftovers, then sleeps on the floor.
Like many of Cambodia’s 6,50,000 garment workers, who are overwhelmingly women, Bopha’s days are monotonous and exhausting, and her diet is poor.
She rarely sees her five-year-old daughter, who is being raised by an elderly grandparent in the countryside.
‘Life in the garment factories is very difficult,’ she told the AFP. ‘But I need the money so I just try to be patient.’
Once hailed as a model for sweatshop-free manufacturing, Cambodia’s booming garment sector has seen working conditions deteriorate as the number of factories has swelled.
As money and orders have flooded into the industry in recent years, new factories have emerged ‘that either don’t know what legal requirements are… or don’t care,’ said Jason Judd, a technical specialist with the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia programme.
‘They’re not paying attention to legal compliance. They’re focused on making money,’ he said.
From a violent strike in January, in which four workers died after police fired live ammunition at protesters, to repeated mass faintings on the factory floor, the once praised sector has had its reputation dented, alarming some top western brands.
But workers say that despite the publicity surrounding the protests and some nominal wage increases since, little has changed.
“We’re a pitiful part of this garment industry,’ Bopha said, adding that she had recently passed out on the job after inhaling fumes from chemicals used on the clothes.
‘Even if we’re sick and cannot work they cut out salaries. We work when we’re ill.’
Bopha works six days a week, starting her shift at 7am and often finishing late at night as she does extra overtime to make ends meet.
‘Sometimes, we have to work overtime all night,’ she said, adding that she usually took home around $130 a month of which she sent $50 home to her family.
‘I often eat leftover rice as I need to save money,’ she said, adding her only hope was that her daughter would have a better life than her.
Many female workers say conditions in the factories are such that they are forced to choose between their family and their job.
‘I can’t keep my daughter here as there is no childcare at the factory,’ said worker Ton Sam Ol, who has a month-old baby.
Ol planned to ask her mother to care for the baby or ‘I’ll have to quit,’ she told AFP while breastfeeding the tiny infant.
Ol was given a small amount of paid maternity leave but many factories have taken to employing female workers on short-term contracts to avoid paying such benefits, union leaders say.
read more. & read more. & read more. & to read. & to read. & to read. & to read.
& to read. & to read. & to read.
* Global Brands Linked to Latest Shamed Garment Factory:
Italian sportswear brand Kappa and U.S.-based retail giant Walmart apparently source clothing from the latest addition to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) list of low-compliance factories, according to a union leader at the factory who provided the branded tags from the clothing her members cut and stitch.
Hung Tak Garment factory was last week added to the “lowest compliance” category of the ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) transparency index. BFC inspectors identified 19 areas in which the factory did not meet basic standards, including illegal wage deductions and the failure to grant annual leave or pay for sick leave.
Yim Chan, 40, a representative of the Free Trade Union at Hung Tak, gave reporters labels from the garments being made in the factory.
The two brands on the tags are Kappa, which is owned by BasicNet SpA, an Italian clothing conglomerate listed on the Milan stock exchange, and George, a low-cost clothing line stocked by U.K. retailer Asda and its parent company, Walmart.
Mammy Maguire, a public relations representative for Asda, said via email that the company had not sourced clothes from the Hung Tak factory since 2007. After seeing a photograph of the labels, Ms. Maguire said the George tag was fake and that an investigation would be carried out to find out if the clothes were counterfeit.
Ms. Maguire referred further questions to Walmart, which also carries the George brand.
Betsy Harden, a media relations officer for Walmart, said on Friday evening that she would pass along a request for comment to colleagues who were able to respond, but said a reply in time for publication was unlikely.
Puneet Girdhar, CEO of CTX North America, which controls the Kappa brand in the U.S. and Canada, responded to an emailed request for comment, but referred questions to the Kappa trademark owner, BasicNet. Mr. Girdhar did not respond to requests for contact information for BasicNet, and a request for comment sent through BasicNet’s website did not receive a response in time for publication.
16:28:58 local time BANGLADESH
* Zero tolerance, if internal issues passed abroad: BGMEA:
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said they are not against the garments workers’ trade unions, but would not tolerate if the internal matters of the RMG factories are secretly passed outside the country.
“The leaders of RMG workers cannot pass any secret information abroad without the knowledge of the authorities concerned or law-enforcement agencies in this sovereign state. We will never tolerate such anti-state activities,” he warned.
Mr Islam was speaking as the chief guest at the annual iftar and doa mahfil of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Chittagong region in the port-city Thursday.
“We cannot understand how the information of any incident goes to the foreigners while we are not informed of the same. BGMEA has also undertaken the principle of showing zero tolerance to repression of the workers in the garment factories,” he said.
He alleged that a section of garment workers are engaged in leaking out internal information of the factories to the foreigners. To check the incidents BGMEA will work together with all quarters concerned, including the non-government organisations (NGOs) and embassies in the country, he stated.
20140711 * Factory catches fire in Ashulia, 10 injured:
Four fire fighting units from DEPZ Fire Service have doused the flame
A fire has broken out at a readymade garments factory in Jirabo area of Ashulia on Friday afternoon.
Ten workers were injured while trying to come out of the factory.
DEPZ Fire Service station officer Abdul Hamid said fire originated at Arnima Exports Wear Limited around 2:30pm.
Four fire fighting units from DEPZ Fire Service rushed to the spot and doused the flame.
Factory sources said workers were doing wielding works on the eighth floor of the building when sparks fell on some cartons and caused the fire.
* Death rumour sparks RMG factory unrest in Gazipur:
Five RMG workers were injured in a clash between two groups over a remour of death of an employee from torture allegedly by factory staff in Gazipur on Friday afternoon.
The incident took place at Mollick Fabrics Limited in Kashimpur Noyapara area under Gazipur City Corporation.
The angry workers set fire to a section of the factory and resorted to vandalism. Mehedi Hasan, administration manager of the factory, said valuables were damaged during the clash.
Locals, workers and Gazipur industrial police sources said Rashed, a worker of the factory, demanded his arrears to a line chief of the factory on Thursday after remaining absent for some days. Afterwards, they engaged in an altercation over the issue.
* 30 injured as apparel workers demonstrate for dues in Savar, Ibrahimpur:
Apparel workers in Savar and Ibrahimpur in Dhaka went out on demonstrations demanding payment of their due wages and festival allowance on Saturday.
Workers of Surma Garments of Savar Textile Group in Aicha Noadda area began skipping works demanding payment of their two-months’ due wage and festival allowance after the owners did not pay the wages on the day.
The workers complained that giving 15-day salary of July month the factory owners declared the factory closed. Later, agitated workers took position on Savar Birulia road.
Meanwhile, police fired tear shells disperse agitating workers. The workers said at least 20 of their fellows sustained injuries in the police action.
Workers of two garment factories in near Dhaka Export Processing Zone also staged sit in program.
Besides, workers of another garment factory staged protest procession in Ashulia Ziarani Bazaar area.
The director of Ashulia Industrial Police-1, Mostafizur Rahman, said workers of Surma Garments went out on demonstration inside the factory after they did not get due wages on the scheduled day on Saturday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers clash with staff, cops for arrears again:
30 demonstrators hurt in Savar; 150 block road in Mirpur-14 on similar demand
At least 30 people were injured in a clash among the workers and management staff of a garment factory and Industrial Police at Aichanorda in Savar outside the capital yesterday when the workers were demonstrating at their workplace demanding their salaries of June.
Police and factory sources said the workers of Surma Garments Ltd started demonstration in the morning.
During the demonstration, some miscreants hired by the factory authorities beat three workers Mahfuz Rahman, Md Alauddin and Lokman who were leading the movement, an allegation of the demonstrators denied the factory Deputy General Manager Md Moshiur Iqram.
Afterwards, the workers ransacked the factory, triggering the clash that injured around 30 people from the workers and staff, said witnesses.
Sahadat Hosen, Sadek Ali and Ahsan Habid were among the injured staff, said Moshiur.
read more. & read more.
* RMG unrest at Savar as workers demand bonus before Eid:
Workers of five ready-made garment (RMG) factories in Savar demonstrated Saturday demanding their outstanding salaries and bonus ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
They abstained from work forcing two factories to declare a holiday for the day.
Industrial police’s Inspector Mirza Saijuddin said troubles erupted at Savar Textile, Surma Garments at Icha Noadda area, Baxter Brenton Limited at DEPZ’s old zone, Yagi Bangladesh Limited at Baron area and Shaccon Company Limted at Jirani’s Panishail area, according to a news agency.
He said Surma Garments workers had abstained from works demonstrating since morning demanding salaries for June and Eid bonus.
The situation turned worst when three workers were allegedly beaten up by the factory owners’ henchmen.
* RMG workers demand Eid bonus equivalent to a months wage:
The Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra apprehended Friday that the readymade garment (RMG) factory owners might be hatching a conspiracy for not paying Eid bonus or paying nominal bonus to the RMG workers, reports UNB.
It demanded that the Eid bonus to the workers should be equivalent to the monthly wages.
The concern and demand were voiced from a human chain programme arranged by Khilgaon-Malibagh regional committee of the trade union in front of Khilgaon Taltala market in the capital.
Addressing the programme, the leaders of Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra also demanded that the RMG workers be paid their July wages and Eid bonus before Ramadan 20.
Leaders of the trade union Jolly Talukder, Mohammad Suman, Nila Akter, Marjina Begum, Mohammad Shahin and Jahangir, among others, spoke at the programme.
* Pay salary, bonus of workers by Ramadan 20:
Menon urges factory owners
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon said Saturday not only enactment of law but also mass awareness and people resistance are needed to make the country’s food free from adulteration, reports BSS.
The minister was addressing a rally organised by the Dhaka city unit of Workers’ Party in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the city.
* 220 garment factories go bust, 80,000 left jobless:
Compliance conundrum begets new crisis
Fear and despair over losing jobs stare hundreds of readymade garment (RMG) workers in their face these days as many factories are facing closure amid a storm triggered by compliance issue in the aftermath of Rana Plaza collapse, industry-insiders said.
In the last one year, more than 80,000 workers have become jobless following the closure of about 220 non-compliant garment factories in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Chittagong.
However, on a visit to different garment factories situated within the city, this correspondent found almost all of jobless workers still on the lookout for fresh jobs in any factory available.
There has been worry about the rise in the number of jobless workers, which does not augur well for the country’s once-humming apparel industry that has been acclaimed the world over.
If the present trend continued, many in the industry apprehend, more industries would go bust and the crowd of jobless would swell by end of the current year.
“A large number of RMG workers are in fear and despair over losing their jobs as many of factories are going out of production in recent times,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the apex platform of country’s apparel-makers, told the FE correspondent.
* Alliance now to give 4 months’ wages:
1,000 displaced RMG workers get benefits so far
The Alliance Thursday announced that workers of factories that would face suspension of their operations due to its assessment work would get compensation benefit for four months. Earlier the benefit was for two months.
In May, the Alliance — in a 50-50 partnership with factory owners — began giving funds directly to workers displaced as a result of factory closures and paid wages to more than 1,000 displaced workers to date.
The Alliance in a statement Thursday last said it will give compensation benefits, in the form of wages, to workers displaced as a result of factory remediation. The extended facility was made effective immediately.
* Garment factory closures displace 3,500 workers:
North American retailers compensate 1,000 workers
About 3,500 workers were displaced after the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the platform of North American retailers, announced closure of five factories following inspections, the BGMEA said.
Engineers hired by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety found the factories — Bay, MAKS, RSI, MAM and HKDG — with unsafe electrical wiring, overloading of goods on floors and insufficient exit capacity and no sprinklers.
Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said some displaced workers have already been accommodated in different factories.
By December, new factories will come by and the remaining displaced workers will get more employment opportunities, he added.
Mesbah Rabin, managing director of Alliance, however, said the number of displaced workers was 1,000 and that they have been compensated from the $5 million worker support fund established by the Alliance member brands.
The Alliance will pay 50 percent of the worker salaries for up to four months and the factory owners the remaining 50 percent.
* Alliance completes factory inspection:
Retailers’ group to double compensation for displaced factory workers
Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, a platform of 26 North American retailers and brands, on Thursday announced to double compensation benefits for workers from two months to up to four months wages for those displaced as a result of factory remediation.
The Alliance on Thursday has already completed safety assessment of its listed 601 garment factories in Bangladesh and 3 factories have been shut as per their recommendations where they found serious structural faults.
Sources involved with the inspection process said that during the inspection, the Alliance found serious structural faults in 1.45 per cent factories.
* Alliance to double compensation for RMG workers:
‘We are committed to ensuring, as factory safety improvements are made, the workers are not expected to pay the price’
The Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, a platform of North American brands, has decided to double the compensation benefits for workers who are displaced due to factory remediation.
“The Alliance will extend compensation benefits to workers from two months to up to four months’ wages for workers displaced as a result of factory remediation, effective immediately,” said a statement of Alliance released on Thursday.
“Ensuring that no garment worker has to put herself at risk to earn a living is our top priority, but we believe protecting and supporting workers must go hand in hand,” said Ellen Tauscher, Alliance Independent Chair and former US Congresswoman.
“We are committed to ensuring, as factory safety improvements are made, the workers are not expected to pay the price,” she added.
For structural repairs when necessary, worker’s wages should be protected as per law of the Land, said Wajedul Islam Khan, General Secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra.
* Big brands close factories in Bangladesh due to safety concerns:
North American-led alliance of big brands sourcing clothes from Bangladesh closes seven factories, compensates workers.
A North American-led group of fast fashion brands operating in Bangladesh said Friday that it had closed or partially shut seven factories for remediation after inspectors found structural problems and safety concerns.
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety — which includes 26 big brands such as Walmart, Hudson’s Bay Company, The Gap, Canadian Tire and The Children’s Place — said it will extend compensation to workers for up to four months if they are unable to work due to the closures.
read more. & read more.
* RMG: Roadblocks versus roadmap:
Sellers have little choice in buyers’ market. Exporters of readymade garments (RMG) or any other products have to accept terms offered by importers who bargain against the ready availability of the same from other sources – in varying quality and prices.
If the buyers do not get the items of their choice at lower prices, they desert them to go elsewhere to purchase the same. It is the case with exporters and importers in the global market.
No browbeating by sellers can cow down the buyers. If Bangladesh cannot offer quality and cheaper clothes, global retailers will simply go to India or Sri Lanka or Pakistan or any other producer for their merchandise. Money that the sellers need badly lies with the buyers.
It’s indeed cutthroat competition. ‘Have-it-or-leave-it’ – is the order of the world market.
When the United States suspended the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh for its failure to comply with global standards in workers’ safety and rights, it was very clear to analysts that nothing short of full compliance with the US roadmap will help. The roadmap was endorsed by President Barack Obama.
What was the US action plan, really?
A statement of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said on June 27, 2013:
“Today, the (Obama) Administration is making this action (suspension of the GSP facility on all products except RMG) public as a means to reinforce and support the efforts of all international stakeholders to promote improved worker rights and worker safety in Bangladesh.
* Govt looks to near quadruple cotton output by FY ’18:
Tk 1.20b project awaits ECNEC approval
The government plans to produce about 0.5 million bales of cotton by the next 4 years with a view to reducing import of cotton, the basic raw material for the textile sector, officials said.
The Cotton Development Board (CDB) recently undertook a programme to gradually increase the domestic production of cotton to 0.5 million bales by the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 by introducing high yielding varieties and bringing more lands under cotton cultivation.
* RMG exports to non-traditional markets rose 21% in FY14:
Apparel export to non-traditional markets increased by over 21% during the financial year 2013-14.
The new markets include Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
Bangladesh’s traditional markets for garment exports are Europe and the United States. Export Promotion Bureau data showed the country earned a total of $3.6bn in last fiscal year exporting garment products to these newly discovered markets.
In the FY2012-13, the earnings from these destinations totalled $2.97bn.
Among the non-traditional markets, Turkey was the highest importer of Bangladeshi garments with $622m in the FY14, followed by Japan with $572m.
Australia imported $430m, China $241m and Brazil $170m, EPB data said.
The government and private sector took some special initiatives in last fiscal to diversify market of the ready-made garment (RMG) products and reduce dependency on the traditional big destinations.
“Significant growth in apparel exports is the reflection of efforts undertaken by the government and private sectors including BGMEA and BKMEA to explore new destinations for RMG products,” said Finance Secretary Mahbub Ahmed.
RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza victim fighting cancer:
But their dream of living a decent life was shattered on April 24, 2013 when the Rana Plaza collapsed
Once the eleven-year-old garment worker Anna managed to escape death from the debris of Rana Plaza but it has always stalked her like a shadow.
When a girl of her age usually goes to school she with her two-year older sister, she came to Dhaka to help their six-member family. They joined a garment factory located on the sixth floor of the ill-fated Rana Plaza.
But their dream of living a decent life was shattered on April 24, 2013 when the Rana Plaza collapsed.
Like any other day the two sisters went to the factory in the morning. Her elder sister Banya managed to escape unscathed but a large beam came crashing down on Anna’s right hand. She was pinned to the ground unable to budge even an inch.
She had remained like that for two days before rescuers pulled her out of the rubble by severing her right hand. After that she returned to her village home Komarpara of Narkili under Jamalpur with her sister Banya.
Banya got admitted into Class V in a school in the village. Anna too was spending her time playing with her toys and girls of her age. She even forgot that she lost one of her arms. But little did she know what was befalling her next.
One day she fell to the ground while playing and she received injury on her right knee. She had been on medicine for two months under a doctor in Jamalpur town but in vain. She was then taken to Dhaka on June 11 by the advice of her doctor.
* BGMEA list set to put missing at 160:
The apparel makers’ body BGMEA may finalise the list of 160 readymade garment (RMG) workers, who still remained missing after the Rana Plaza tragedy at Savar in Dhaka in April last year.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) took the move a year after the collapse of the Rana Plaza on Apr 24 last year, killing at least 1,131 garment workers and maiming many others.
The BGMEA move came in the face of pressure from both local and international organisations, as in the absence of a list of the victims their families were not getting any help from the authorities despite their frantic efforts.
The apparel factory owners pledged adequate compensation for family members of those killed in the Rana Plaza collapse.
At the seventh annual general meeting held in April last the apparel makers’ body formed a 12-member committee to prepare the list of missing workers, sources said.
The committee, headed by BGMEA vice president SM Mannan Kochi, also comprises government officials.
There were 347 workers claimed to be remaining missing initially. Of them, 177 were identified through DNA tests.
15:58:58 local time INDIA
* Mysore textile park expected to generate 10,000 jobs:
The government will provide either 40% or Rs 20 cr, whichever is minimum
The Rs 200 crore textile park in Mysore, announced in the budget on Thursday, will create 10,000 jobs and help in the economic development, besides attracting huge investments and infrastructure development in the Mysore region, Member of Parliament (MP) from Mysore-Kodagu Pratap Simha said here.
Hailing the announcement of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said, the textile park which is to be developed under the special purpose vehicle (SPV) scheme should have 15 entrepreneurs as members. It requires over 15 acres and the entrepreneurs should purchase land at their own cost.
The government will provide either 40 per cent or Rs 20 crore, whichever is the minimum amount of subsidy to them, 50 per cent after the commencement of production and the rest within five years with interest.
read more. & read more.
* Textile industry hails tax measures:
That Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the requests of trade and industry associations here in the Budget came in for wide applause.
Southern India Mills’ Association Chairman T Rajkumar lauded the Government for extending the optional route CENVAT. “We had sought continuation of optional route till GST is implemented to have a level playing field. The optional route has been in vogue from July 2004 and it has helped the industry achieve significant growth despite the recession in 2008-09 and 2010-11,” he said.
He however appealed for reduction in the CST from 2 per cent to one per cent, as the Government had committed to phase out CST before implementing GST.
Import and export
The exemption of cotton transport loading and unloading from service tax, he said, would give relief to the industry and farmers as the mills in the South sourced more than 70 per cent of their raw material from upcountry markets.
* Union Budget receives thumbs-up from textile trade bodies:
* Modi kept promise to us, say weavers:
Weaver’s community of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency welcomed the Union Budget 2014-15 as Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced setting up of a facilitation centre and a craft museum to promote handloom products of Varanasi and also a textile mega cluster.
The minister proposed Rs 50 crore for setting up a Trade Facilitation Centre and a Crafts Museum to develop and promote handloom products and carry forward the rich tradition of handlooms of Varanasi.
Besides, he also announced to set-up eight Textile Mega Clusters at Varanasi, Bareilly, Lucknow, Surat, Kutch, Bhagalpur, Mysore and one in Tamil Nadu with a sum of Rs 200 crore.
The FM also proposed to set-up a Hastkala Academy for the preservation, revival and documentation of the handloom/handicraft sector in public-private partnership (PPP) mode in Delhi with Rs 30 crore.
“Modi didn’t forget us. Our expectations have come true. We are happy, the Modi government is taking care of handloom weavers of Varanasi. Iske liye hum unka shukriya ada karte hain (We thank him for it),” said Farid Ansari, a local weaver.
* Cotton sector hails budget proposal:
Indian Cotton Federation has welcomed the Union Budget proposal to provide Service Tax exemption for loading, unloading, packing, storage or ware housing, transport by vessel, rail or road of cotton (ginned or baled).
J. Thulasidharan, president of the federation, said that textile industry consumed majority of the cotton produced in the country. The textile mills in Tamil Nadu purchased their cotton requirements from other States. Hence, transport cost was one of the major expenses for the mills.
Exemption of the 12.36 per cent Service Tax will benefit the cotton trade and industry as it will bring down the transport cost. The association had been asking for such measures to support the cotton industry, he said.
* 2 mega handloom clusters to be set up:
Exhibitions to be conducted across the State to promote weavers’ products
As part of Andhra Pradesh Government’s plans to improve the livelihood of weavers, two mega handloom clusters would be set up with an investment of Rs.100 crore in each of them at Mangalagiri and Chirala in the State, according to Minister for Backward Classes Welfare, Handlooms and Excise, Kollu Ravindra.
He told The Hindu that the mega clusters would have all facilities to support weavers, including machinery.
Government of India would provide Rs.70 crore for each mega cluster while the remaining would be borne by the State Government.
He said the buildings for the mega cluster at Mangalagiri would be completed soon. As many as 31 mini-clusters were functioning across the State and Rs.60 lakh would be provided to each of them this year.
In fact, half of the amount was already released, he added.
15:58:58 local time SRI LANKA
* apparel label giant to set up Joint venture :
Royal Pac Printcare Lanka (Private) Limited has signed an agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) to establish an operation for the manufacture of apparel labels and packaging material for Sri Lanka’s apparel industry.
r-pac International Holding Co., the foreign investor in the new venture, is a company based in New York, USA, and is one of the largest label and packaging material suppliers to the global apparel industry.
It currently has operations in over 25 worldwide locations including the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia, and currently enjoys an exceptionally large retailer contact base with particular access to the US market. With worldwide accreditation, r-pac International has also been experiencing continuous and steady growth in South Asian markets such as Bangladesh and India.
The company has a highly advanced manufacturing technology process including significant technological advances in RFID technology which is increasingly deployed in apparel packaging and its supply chain.
15:28:58 local time PAKISTAN
* Fire guts textile mill:
A major fire broke out in a local textile mill in Sohrab Goth Industrial Area police limits on Saturday, causing loss of millions of rupees.
According to the Central Fire Station, the blaze erupted at about 7:55 pm in Al-Hadi Textile Mills situated in Gulshan-e-Maymar’s Textile Mills Area and within minutes it spread to other parts of the mill due to which valuables worth millions of rupees were reduced to ashes.
At least seven fire tenders of the KMC reached the spot and took part in the extinguishing operation.
The blaze was so intense that a thick layer of black smoke could be seen from distant parts of the city. The cause of the fire was said to be short circuiting.
The law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area and Edhi ambulances were also present on the spot. The firefighters also used snorkel and rescued a number of workers, however, they were trying to control the blaze till the filing of this story.
* PHMA appeals Prime Minister to deploy army in Karachi:
The value-added textile sector has appealed to the federal government to deploy army in the provincial metropolis to stem unrest and restore order in Karachi, saying the ‘rampant’ lawlessness has crippled industrial work and tarnished the national image globally.
In a letter to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) feared the ‘rampant’ lawlessness may benefit the country’s competing nations on the world markets.
The PHMA has blamed the Sindh government, police and rangers for its failure to curb the growing menace of crimes in the city ‘effectively’.
The association called the city’s overall situation as ‘most serious and alarming’, seeking the army deployment to arrest the lawlessness.
* ‘Structural imbalances keep textile sector on its toes’:
Structural imbalances in the textile chain, limited product range and a small exports market have kept the textile sector on its toes that accounts for over 53 percent of the total exports, experts said on Saturday.
The textile sector of Pakistan accounts for only 6.5 percent of the global trade, amounting to $840 billion per annum.
“This alone calls for broadening the export base,” the experts said, adding that Pakistan is almost non-existent in the global trade map on 93 percent of the trading sectors.
Engineering alone accounts for 60 percent of the global trade where Pakistani exports are less than a billion dollar per annum, they said.
A financial analyst Amina Usman said, “Keeping in view Pakistan’s meager exports, there is a large scope to exploit even the textile market and triple or quadruple its exports, as its share even in global textiles is only 1.8 percent.”
She said to achieve higher exports Pakistan will have to address the structural balance in the textile sector. The ratio of cotton use in Pakistani textile products is 75 percent, while the industry consumes only 25 percent of the manmade fibres by blending them with cotton, she said, adding that global average is 75 percent manmade fibre blended with 25 percent cotton.
* Textile industry: PTEA welcomes revival of sick units :
The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has welcomed the constitution of a special banking committee for revival of sick units.
The revival in Faisalabad itself could help in fetching $1 billion in foreign exchange and create job opportunities.
PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and Vice Chairman Adil Tahir appreciated the special efforts of textile minister, Abbas Khan Afridi, for the revival of the industry. This move, initiated by the ministry, was to perk up the sick production units operating in the country.
“Activation of idle capacities in the value-added textile sector is a major challenge which is projected to be collectively worth Rs150 billion,” said the PTEA officials. The special banking committee, comprised of National Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank Limited, will take effective measures and provide necessary financial assistance to get sick units back on track and operate at their installed capacity.
* Import duty on hides to further reduce leather exports:
Pakistan Tanners Association central chairman Sheikh Saqib Masood has said that, despite negative growth rate of Pakistan, the government has imposed duty on import of hides and skins, which would further decline leather exports.
“The major reason for decline in growth of this second largest export sector was mainly unfriendly policies of the government and persistent energy crisis and frequent loadshedding of electricity and gas,” he said.
He explained in detail that leather processing is continuous process industry and electricity shutdowns not only cause serious damage to leather in process but also have adverse effects on its quality.
Due to this serious problem, the leather sector is facing stagnation in its growth for last 6 years, he added. He said chronic stagnation of leather sector started since 2007-08 though there was an increase of 12.67 percent in export of leather and leather products in July-April 2014 but the country was lagging far behind in the region.
China’s export stood at $28.17 billion in 2007-08, exports of India stood at $4.87 billion in same period, Bangladesh’s exports at $0.379 billion in same period and Pakistan’s exports stood at $1.220 billion in 2007-08. But in 2012-13, exports of China stood at $42.40 billion, India at $5.90 billion, Bangladesh at $1.3 billion and exports of Pakistan stood at $1.142 billion with a negative growth of -6.39 percent.
* Seeking power loadshedding relief: APTMA leadership to meet Abid Sher Ali tomorrow:
The APTMA leadership will call on the Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali on July 14 to seek relief for 58 Punjab-based textile mills, solely dependent on the NTDC network for energy supply, said APTMA Punjab spokesman.
about brands and about…
* Tailored Wages – new report investigates clothing brands’ work on living wages:
Survey of 39 leading clothing brands on Irish high-street show they must do much more to ensure garment workers receive a wage they can live on.
Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland has launched ‘Tailored Wages’ an in depth study of what the leading 39 clothing brands on the Irish and European high-street are doing to ensure that the workers who produce the clothes they sell are paid a living wage.
Based on a multi-brand survey “Tailored Wages” found that whilst half of those surveyed included wording in their codes of conduct saying that wages should be enough to meet workers’ basic needs; only four brands – Inditex (Zara), Marks & Spencers, Switcher and Tchibo – were able to show any clear steps towards implementing this – and even they have a long way to go before a living wage becomes a reality for the garment workers that produce for them.
* Tailored Wages:
Highstreet fashion – everyone wants it fast and cheap.
But what does this mean for the workers who make our clothes?
Labour Behind the Label asked the UK’s top 40 high street retailers and influential European brands what they are doing to ensure the workers who make their clothes are paid a LIVING WAGE – enough to meet their basic needs and the needs of their families. The results are here for you to browse.
* FWF launches first new Brand Performance:
Fair Wear Foundation is launching its new Brand Performance Checks system. On Thursday the first new reports go online.
The high level of transparency into the operations of FWF member brands, allows FWF to provide more directed feedback, so brands can set clear targets on how to improve labour conditions.
Through the Brand Performance Check system, FWF publicly reports on how the decisions of clothing brands support human rights compliance in their supply chains. The system includes a scoring and benchmarking element.
Brand performance is evaluated against a range of indicators.
Does production planning support reasonable working hours?
How does it follow up on complaints from workers?
What actions does a brand take to implement living wages?
* Will Adidas garment workers share in its World Cup profit? :
With Adidas set to make €2bn from football related sales, the Cambodian garment workers behind its merchandise are still fighting for a fair wage
The World Cup represents a huge pay cheque for corporate sponsors – the chance to associate products with athleticism and global excitement.
Official sponsor Adidas has kitted out both teams in the World Cup final, as well as officials, referees and volunteers. Screens will be filled with their logo and as such, Adidas predicts that it will make €2bn in football-related sales, in large part thanks to its association with the tournament as sports fans rush to buy merchandise.
But behind each football boot or shirt is an assembly line of garment workers in countries such as Cambodia who have crafted each item. Can they expect to receive any part of this €2bn windfall? Will they receive a bonus cheque for propelling Adidas to the top of the sports market?
While football merchandise sells on a vision of good health, in Cambodia factory workers are struggling to get by on wages so low that malnutrition and fainting fits are rife.
The accepted number of calories needed for an adult to carry out a day’s labour is 3,000, yet research by Labour Behind the Label and the Community Legal Education Centre in Phenom Penh has shown that Cambodian garment workers are only able to afford an average of 1,598 calories a day – half the required amount.
The problem is that the minimum wage in Cambodia is just 25% of the living wage.
A living wage is the amount needed to adequately cover food, rent, education, transport, healthcare and which allows for a small amount of savings to begin to break the cycle of poverty.
It is a standard enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to Tailored Wages (pdf), a report from the Clean Clothes Campaign, a living wage in Cambodia would be €285.83 whereas the minimum wage is just €72.64.
Jyrki Raina is the general secretary of global trade union IndustriALL, and believes brands can have an impact on the setting of wages by agreeing to pay higher prices for products. It is a concession that would only have a ‘fractional’ impact on the cost of each item for consumers.
“We’ve been working intensely with around 30 brands, including Adidas,” Raina says. “We’re in negotiations with the Cambodian government, garment employers and unions to secure a process that moves people from poverty wages towards living wages.”
But not everyone is convinced that Adidas plays fair.
The Clean Clothes Campaign point to a recent article by Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer which stated that the increased cost of wages in China has prompted Adidas to grow production elsewhere.
* Dignity needed:
In factories in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and more, the people who make our clothes live in poverty, usually earning just half of what they need to meet their basic needs and care for their families.
In the UK at least, this is an industry that on paper supports the principle of a living wage. Most high street fashion brands have the commitment to pay a living wage written into their ethical codes. But little is being done to deliver this into the pay packets of workers who desperately need it.
The spirit of football is meant to be unity and fair play. But it takes a garment worker 18 months to earn what Herbert Hainer makes on his lunch break!
This is unacceptable! Join our campaign to ask Adidas to go #ALLIN for a living wage.