16:31:45 local time VIET NAM
* Major investors eye Vietnamese footwear industry:
The domestic leather and footwear industry is seeing positive signs in the market.
- Vietnam making great strides as a footwear supplier
- Positive signs of textile, footwear exports
- Footwear exports aim for US$12 billion in 2014
Several leading footwear manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and Puma have given their orders to Vietnamese firms, instead of the manufacturers in China and Bangladesh.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that most of the large local businesses in the sector have received orders from foreign countries for the first quarter of next year.
Hai said the well-known brands wanted to expand their operations in Vietnam to meet the increasing demand for their products and to reduce risks.
The sector should promote production and trade, and improve their products’ competitiveness to satisfy the manufacturers’ requirements, he said.
* Females from farming families struggle to survive in factory jobs:
For many rural women, leaving their villages to work in industrial parks seems to be the only and best choice for their lives, but their life often does not become better.
In Bau Village in Dai Dong Commune of Dong Anh District, Hanoi, there are hundreds of workers of the Thang Long industrial park who live in inns of only 10sq.m.
We met Khanh, a young female worker in her 10sq.m room, which is shared with five other girls.
Khanh, 21, said she left the field and several buffaloes to her parents and her two brothers to go to Hanoi to become a worker at Canon Company in North Thang Long industrial park, at the age of 18.
She said it was not too difficult for her to be recruited by Canon because her elder sister is also a worker there. But to adapt herself to the work, it took Khanh a long time.
Khanh works two consecutive days and has a day off to be paid nearly VND4 million ($180) a month. “I spent over VND1 million ($50) for myself and send VND3 million to my parents. My father is paralyzed and my mother do farmwork so they have to rely on me”.
Leaving her village to Hanoi to work at a factory seems to be the only option of Khanh. She said assembling components in the factory is much better than transplanting rice and tending buffaloes outdoors.
She said her family earns only several million dong a year from their field and even had losses if the weather was bad or natural disasters occurred.
“My family is lucky to have a vast field. In other areas agricultural land is shrinking, so they do not have enough land for cultivation. What can we do other than working at factories?” Khanh said.
Khanh said after graduating from high school, she wanted to study further but her family could not afford it.
Moreover, she was also afraid of having no money to seek a job after studies so she decided to become a worker.
“Do you want to be a worker for your whole life?” we asked Khanh. She thought for a while and said: “I do not know. My contract will expire in one year. If I cannot get a new job, I will have to go back home. But then, what will I do at home?”
Khanh’s question startled us as both of us were well aware of the dark future of female workers like Khanh.
16:01:45 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20140611 * Cheap Not Cheerful:
Myanmar has the lowest average wages in Asia. But workers are not happy about that or the fact that many children are used in its sprawling textile industry.
see video report.
15:31:45 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG workers strike in Ashulia – Delay in paying salaries:
Prompting owners to promise payment today; in Gazipur workers vandalise factory demanding that management find missing colleague
About a thousand workers of a garment factory in Beron of Ashulia observed work abstention yesterday demanding the factory authorities pay their salary of July and stop sacking workers, reports our Savar correspondent.
Meanwhile, workers of garment factory Multifab Limited in Gazipur vandalised the factory and also observed work abstention demanding the authorities search for a worker who has been missing since Saturday.
In Ashulia, workers of Yagi Bangladesh Garment Ltd claimed they used to be paid the salary of a month within the first 10 days of the next month, but they have not yet been paid the salary of July.
Witnesses said the workers began observing work abstention when the factory management did not allow 25 workers to enter the factory yesterday morning.
* Workers demonstrate in Ashulia RMG factory:
Security has been beefed up in the area to avoid any untoward situation, says director of Ashuliya industrial police
The workers of a garment factory have staged demonstration over unpaid wages in Ashulia on Monday morning.
The workers of Iyagee Bangladesh located at Beron area under Ashulia observed work-abstention from the morning till the afternoon.
* RMG workers go on rampage over ‘missing’ of fellow:
No report of filing any case over the missing incident has been heard yet
The workers of a garments factory have locked into a clash with the law enforcers over “missing” of a fellow worker in Kashempur Nayapara area under Gazipur City Corporation area on Monday morning.
Witnesses said the workers of Multifab Limited announced work abstention and vandalised the factory, demanding the trace of a fellow worker, who reportedly went missing on Saturday.
The agitated workers claimed that Mehedi Hasan, who works in the cutting section of the factory, has been killed and dumped by the former cutting manager, Nazim Uddin.
They said Nazim might have killed Mehedi as the factory authority had sacked him over an altercation with Mehedi.
* RMG export falls in July:
Last year’s political unrest, industrial disasters key factors
The country’s garment exports fell in July from a year earlier mainly due to wane in retailer confidence following political crisis and industrial disasters last year.
In the first month of current fiscal year, the export of woven items declined by 4.14 percent to $1.21 billion compared with the same month last year, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
On the other hand, the export of knitwear products rose by 4.32 percent only to $1.30 billion in July, the data showed.
In July last year, woven export grew by 27.02 percent and knitwear products by 25.24 percent from the fiscal year 2012-2013.
The overall export earning went down by 1.37 percent in one year till this July. It stood at $2.99 billion — 2.03 percent less than the targeted $3.04 billion, according to data.
Bangladeshi garment industry performed well even in the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 with a higher export of basic garment items worldwide.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Still much work remains to be done in BD RMG sector:
Canadian envoy for more improvement in working condition
Bangladesh has so far made a significant progress in improving overall working conditions in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector, but still much work remains to be done, said Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden on Monday.
Terming the sector vital for the country, the High Commissioner said, the sector is now safer than it was one year ago. She said her country wants to see the sector growing properly and continuing to provide jobs, but not at the expense of workers’ lives.
“After Rana Plaza, Canadian consumers will not accept clothes made in dangerous conditions,” warned the High Commissioner while addressing a talk-show organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association in Bangladesh (DCAB).
“If Bangladesh’s garment sector continues to improve working and safety conditions, then it can survive. Otherwise, it will wither,” she added.
* 4-day workshop on RMG safety begins in city:
A four-day training programme has been started for the employers and management of the ready-made garment (RMG) factories aimed at enhancing knowledge and capacity on Occupational Safety and Health.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu today inaugurated the workshop titled “Train the Trainers Workshop for Senior Master Trainers on the Essentials of Occupational Safety and Health” at Chamber Building in the city’s Matijhil.
Improving Working Conditions in RMG Programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the International Training Centre (ITC) and Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) is conducting the training.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, the state minister said implementation of occupational safety and health in RMG factories is very much important. He hoped this workshop will prove effective in ensuring safety for the workers of the RMG Sector.
* ‘Intl community watching Tuba garment factory situation’:
The international community has been closely watching the latest situation at Tuba garment factory that has arisen over payment of outstanding wages. It has created fresh concern among the buyers.
This was observed by the Canadian High Commissioner in Dhaka Heather Cruden at the launching ceremony of a training workshop.
The Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) in collaboration with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the International Training Centre (ITC) of the ILO organised the four-day training programme at the BEF conference room in the city.
The training programme aims at enhancing knowledge and capacity on ‘Occupational Safety and Health among the Employers and Management of the Readymade Garment Factories of Bangladesh.’
“The situation in Tuba garment unit has created a newer concern. Canada and other international community members are watching it closely,” said Ms Cruden in her speech.
She reiterated her demand to the government to finalise the implementing rules of the amended Bangladesh Labour Act.
“I urge the government to take the primary initiative to finalise the implementing rules of the amended Bangladesh Labour Act as early as possible. The rules are essential for guiding the occupational health and safety committees in the factories,” she said.
The TUBA Garment Workers Strike & Tazreen bail
* Hundreds of Tuba workers looking for new jobs:
Hundreds of laid-off garment workers of five factories of the embattled Tuba Group are on a search for new jobs as an uncertainty looms large over resumption of production in the industrial units.
They are at loose ends, having no work, as operation of the five factories remained totally suspended since July 28, workers and factory officials said.
After clearance of the workers’ due wages, the owner of Tuba Group could not start operation of their factories as all of the machinery and other instruments have been sold out for payment of wages and other benefits to its workers.
“We are yet to take any decision on the reopening of the five factories of Tuba Group,” Zannat Fatima, workers’ welfare officer at Tuba Group, told The Financial Express Monday.
She said for disbursement of three months’ wages, the factories’ all machinery has been sold off. As a result, opening the factories is not possible.
She recognised that unlocking the five factories is uncertain as the owner of the group has already been facing crisis of funds for running the business.
If the owner of Tuba Group wants to run the factories, she said, he will take minimum six months to restart his business.
Anwar Hossain, a sewing operator at Tuba Fashion, told the FE: “I have already got the wages for three months. I am in great frustration as our factory has been out of production since July 28.”
He is not sure if and when their factory will be reopened. As such, he is now busy searching for a new job.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* NBR in a fix over Dhaka DC’s request:
Wealth info of Rana Plaza owner
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is in a dilemma over providing information to the Dhaka district administration about wealth of the owners of the collapsed Rana Plaza and five other garment factories, housed in the same building, due to a legal bar.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhaka earlier sought all necessary information about wealth of those taxpayers from the NBR. The former is required to confiscate their properties as per a High Court (HC) order.
According to section 163 of the income tax ordinance 1984, the taxmen are bound to maintain privacy of all types of taxpayers’ information.
Problems surfaced when the DC, Dhaka sent a letter to NBR seeking details of moveable and immovable properties of the taxpayers in question.
The issue was discussed in a recent board meeting of the NBR, presided over by its Chairman Ghulam Hussain.
In the meeting, the NBR high-ups decided to seek opinion of the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs in this matter.
Talking to the FE Sunday, a senior NBR official said there is no scope to share taxpayers’ information with any other entity.
15:01:45 local time INDIA
* Government considering amendments to Minimum Wages Act:
The government is considering a proposal to amend the Minimum Wages Act 1948, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
“The proposal to amend the Minimum Wages Act 1948 is under consideration,” Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Under the provisions of Minimum Wages Act 1948, both central and state governments are appropriate governments to fix, review and revise mimimum wages of workers employed in the scheduled employment under their respective jurisdiction, Tomar said.
The appropriate governments have been empowered to notify any employment in the schedule where the number of employees is 1,000 or more in a state and fix rates of minimum wages in respect to employees employed therein, he said.
* Varsity develops high yield pest resistant cotton seeds:
Two new high yielding and pest resistant cotton seed varieties, which will also deliver better ginning output, are ready for release in the central zone of India.
Hisar-based Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) developed these two seed varieties, said a press release.
The Central Variety Identification Release Committee identified these varieties – H1316 and H1353, which are American cotton varieties for release in states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
According to the press release, cotton varieties are released for cultivation in the zone in which these have been developed, but for the first time, cotton varieties developed in one zone have been released in another zone of the country.
* Fiat to powerloom owners:
“Don’t make 11 articles reserved exclusively for handlooms”
The Department of Handlooms has warned powerloom owners against making 11 articles that have been reserved exclusively for handlooms under the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act 1985.
In a statement, its Assistant Enforcement Officer has said that the reservation has been made to protect the interests and livelihood of people involved in handlooms so that such articles did not find competition in the market.
The statement listed out the reserved articles as cotton and silk saris, dhoties, towels and ‘angavasthram’ besides lungies, bedsheets, blankets, woollen blankets, shawl and mufflers, woollen tweets, ‘pavadai’ and ‘thavani’.
* Rs 700-crore scheme for small, medium dyeing units:
As per Jayalalithaa’s proposal, a cluster would be created to accommodate these small and medium dyeing units in Namakkal, Erode, Salem and Karur districts.
At a time when effluent discharges from dyeing units are posing a threat to environment, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday announced Rs 700-crore scheme for rehabilitation of small and medium dyeing units and textile industries while keeping pollution at a bay.
As per her proposal, a cluster would be created to accommodate these small and medium dyeing units in Namakkal, Erode, Salem and Karur districts.
These units from various places will be shifted to the cluster.
She said big dyeing units had achieved zero effluent discharge and the State government also had lent interest-free loan to set up 18 effluent treatment plants. But the small and medium units could not set up treatment plants and the effluents from these units have polluted the Cauvery, Bhavani and Amaravathi rivers, besides damaging the ground water.
Ms Jayalalithaa said the objective of her government was to ensure sustained economic development and the cluster would provide employment to 10,000 persons. Another one lakh people in the textile industry will also benefit from the scheme.
15:01:45 local time SRI LANKA
* Trade unions of Sri Lanka to meet in Colombo on August 20 to demand pay hike:
The trade unions of Sri Lanka will meet in Colombo on August 20 to initiate a massive struggle seeking higher salaries.
Trade unions of public sector, private sector, estate and other unions including the ones affiliated with the ruling alliance have been invited for the meeting.
The unions will highlight the need to grant a salary sufficient for living for each employee, said the Chairman of Inter Company Employees’ Union Wasantha Samarasinghe.
The unions will urge the government to grant their demand at the budget proposals that are to be tabled in parliament in November.
14:31:45 local time PAKISTAN
* Workers’ rights: Labourers protest in Gujranwala :
Hundreds of labourers held a protest demonstration on Monday against the government for not providing them social security benefits.
More than 500 labourers, working in various factories of Gujranwala, gathered outside the Labour department.
They shouted slogans against the government and said that factory owners had not complied with the government’s decision to raise the minimum wage to Rs12,000.
Imtiaz Rasool, a labour leader, said the labourers were registered with the Social Security Department, but had not been provided benefits like old age pension and dowry for the marriage of their daughters.
He said that most labourers were not getting the minimum wage fixed by the government. “It has become impossible for the labourers to make both ends meet. If the government does not listen to us, we will be forced to take extreme steps,” he said.
* Pakistan Textile City project reviewed:
The 56th Board of Directors’ meeting of Pakistan Textile City Limited project was held in Karachi, chaired by Chairman Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig.
The meeting was also attended by Rukhsana Shah, Secretary Textile Industry, Wajahat A Baqai, National Bank, Sheikh Aftab Ahmad, Saudi Pak Industrial & Agriculture Investment, Shabir Anwar Kazi, Port Qasim Authority and their CEO Muhammad Hanif Kasbati.
The board reviewed the progress of the project with regard to required infrastructure and availability of the utilities for the project.
The board has approved launching of the project by the end of September 2014. Management has been advised to conduct the road shows and approach the potential investors of the textile sector for the sale of the plots of the project.
read more. & read more.
* Cotton market: modest trading activity amid persisting political chaos:
Modest trading activity was seen on the cotton market on Monday amid persisting political agitation caused by demand of removal of Nawaz Sharif’s government, dealers said.
The official spot rate was higher by Rs 50 to Rs 5300, they added. In ready session, around 10,000 bales of cotton changed hands between Rs 5300-5500, they said. Prices of seed cotton in Sindh were up by Rs 50 to Rs 2500-2550 and in Punjab prices adopted the same pattern, rising by Rs 100 to Rs 2600-2650, they said.
Prices were firm due to tight supply and good demand, dealers said. Cotton analyst, Naseem Usman said that phutti supply disrupted by non-availability of transportation following the agitation by supporters of political parties. The ginners have good opportunity, so they sold their stuff to mills as much as they can, he added.
* Country may miss cotton production target:
The country is likely to miss cotton production target of 15.1 million bales set for the current season 2014-15 after failing to meet the sowing target by 6 per cent and attacks of sucking insects on the crop, official sources reveal.
Sources in the Ministry of Textile Industry told Business Recorder that cotton sowing remained 6 per cent below the target however it was 4 per cent more than the last season.
However, Cotton Commissioner Dr Abdullah said that as compared to the previous season 2013-14 where less than 10 per cent certified cotton seed was used, this time about 40 per cent certified seed has been used.
Further, there is no shortage of water against the previous season which badly damaged the cotton crop, said Abdullah, adding that cotton production target is likely to be achieved.
* Women bangle workers demand facilities:
The Home-Based Women Bangle Workers Union held a demonstration outside the local press club here on Saturday to press the government for acceptance of their demands.
They carried banners and chanted slogans in favour of their demands.
Leading the protest, Home-Based Women Workers Federation general secretary Zehra Khan and union’s Hyderabad chapter general secretary Jamila Abdul Latif appealed to the government to increase wages of workers, register them with the social security department, provide facilities of health and education to their children, remove hurdles in the issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) of women workers, ensure proper supply of power, water and gas to their localities and revamp the sewerage.
They said that around 600,000 women workers of the glass bangles industry were suffering from diseases including cancer, blindness, TB, rheumatism and skin problems because of poisonous chemical used in bangle-making.
They said thumb impressions of a number of workers had disappeared due to the chemical and they were facing problems to get their CNICs.
* Cotton workers to protest in support of living wage demands:
Approximately 600 striking SACTWU textile members will take to the streets
tomorrow to highlight their living wage demand.
We are demanding 10% but employers represented by the South African Cotton & Textile Processing Employers ‘ Association (SACTPEA) are offering 7.5% total package.
The details of the protest is as follows:
Date: Tuesday 12 August 2014
Time: 11 am
City: Cape Town, Durbanville
Route: Workers will gather in Minnie Road and march into Edward street, a
memorandum will then be handed over at 120 Edward street to a representative
of SACTPEA, at approximately 12h30.