In the news 22 August 2014

00:04:34 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Wage increase runs behind practice:

The National Wage Council has approved a proposal to increase region-based minimum wage by 15 percent in 2015. The wage after increase is much lower than workers’ real earnings now and concerns small garment and footwear companies.

According to the proposal, the minimum wage level will be VND3.1 million a month in Region I where Ho Chi Minh City is listed in, an increase of VND400,000 over the current level.

In fact, businesses in HCMC and the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai cannot recruit any worker with the above wage level. For the last several years, they have paid their workers VND4.5-5 million a month at least and 5-6.5 million at most.
Binh Hoa Garment Company in HCMC pays its 80 workers VND5 million a month at least, said director Phung Dinh Ngo.

Garment and footwear companies are facing with a lot of difficulties. The salary increase is unlikely to help workers much but worsens businesses’ difficulties because it make social and health insurances increase too.

The salary increase is expected to most affect the garment and footwear sector because 80 percent of businesses are of small and medium scales.
Tens of thousands of companies closed down last year and the number continued to run up early 2014 including a lot of garment and footwear enterprises.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 22/8.
VNNet

00:04:34 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Striking Factory Workers Thwart Police Arrests:

Police in Kompong Chhnang province on Thursday were prevented from arresting workers and union officials outside a Samakki Meanchey district garment factory by a mob of irate protesters who pulled two of their colleagues out of a police car to thwart their arrests.

About 3,000 employees of the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment factory have been on strike since Monday over management’s failure to include their monthly bonuses on their last paychecks. The factory has blamed unspecified technical problems and asked for the workers’ understanding while they fixed the mistake, but the workers insist the factory is trying to cheat them.

A meeting between union and factory representatives at the factory on Wednesday failed to settle the dispute. Instead, the union was shown an injunction from the provincial court ordering the workers to stop their roadblocks of National Road 5 and go back to work.

The workers, led by the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, ignored the order and resumed their strike outside the factory Thursday morning, at which point police arrived and started making arrests.

Union president Mum Siek said that at about 9 a.m. police apprehended Am Vuthy, a factory union representative, and another union member whose name he could not recall and placed them in a police car. But several of the protesters surrounded the car, he said, and used rocks to smash the vehicle’s windows and free the pair.

Mr. Siek said a team of about 200 police officers then tried to push their way through the crowd of strikers to attempt to make more arrests but were blocked.

“The police did not show any arrest warrants to our union representatives,” he said. “If they had had warrants, they would not have fled.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* New fines for faintings:

The minister of labour has sent a stern warning to garment factories to take measures to end mass faintings or face the consequences.

Speaking after a safety workshop yesterday, Ith Sam Heng said the government will get tougher on factories, fining those that didn’t provide safe working conditions.
“We will be stricter on sanitation and safety,” he said.

About 130 workers from Vattanac Industrial Park II in the capital fainted late last week.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo said the plan was justified if workers were fainting due to reasons such as poor ventilation, but such a move would be “unfair” if the faintings were caused by other “external” reasons.
“Our position has always been that factories need to be up to standard,” he said.

Poor nutrition and collective shock are often cited as causes of fainting.
read more.
PPP new

* BetterFactories Media Updates 22 August 2014, Gov’t Says 660,000 Workers Now in Thailand:

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:

2014-08-22 Gov’t Says 660,000 Workers Now in Thailand
2014-08-22 Striking Factory Workers Thwart Police Arrests

* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

23:04:34 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Govt steps in to resolve Tuba closure dispute:

The government has initiated a move to resolve the dispute over payment of compensation to workers of the five Tuba Group units which have been declared closed, officials have said.

The move has come as labour leaders and workers of the closed Tuba Group factories and the owner are locked in a row over payment of lawful compensation.

The Group management declared the factories closed on Monday last for an indefinite period.

The ministry of labour and employment (MoLE) has already directed its Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) to look into the matter.

“We have already asked the DIFE to take necessary steps,” Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told the FE on Wednesday.

When contacted, DIFE Inspector General Syed Ahmed said: “We’ll scrutinise the legal aspect of closure of the Tuba Group factories. And we are going to consult legal experts to find out whether the factories have been closed by following the existing rules or not.”

If the factories were not closed according to the law of the land, the authority had to pay rightful compensations to the workers, he said. The DIFE then would take action accordingly, he added.
read more.
FE bd

* Tuba factories’ closure notice under scanner:

The labour ministry has taken an initiative to look into the closure notice of Tuba Group factories under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act to see whether the Section is applicable for the factories.

The Section stipulated that ‘the employer may, in the event of an illegal strike by any
section or department of any establishment, close down either wholly or partly, such section or department and the workers who participated in the illegal strike shall not be paid any wages for such closure.’

Ministry officials said that the Department of Inspection of the Factories and Establishments would scrutinise the legal aspect of the closure as there was an allegation that Tuba Group’s the owner Delwar Hossain closed the factories under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act to deny the rights of the workers.

The Labour secretary, Mikail Shipar, has already asked the inspector general of the DIFE to look into the matter, source said.
Tuba Group authorities on August 18 posted the closure notice on the gates of the factories stating that the factories were closed with effect from June 11 under Section 13(1) of the Bangladesh Labour Act.

Labour leaders termed the closure notice of the factories illegal and said that the workers of Tuba Group went on fast unto death the day before Eid-ul-Fitr demanding arrears of their wages for three months and allowances but any destructive work had not taken place during their movements.
(..)
Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the DIFE, told New Age on Thursday that they will start work on it on Sunday and would consult with labour law experts.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Nazma Akhtar was a  garment factory worker at age 11:

Nazma, former garment child laborer and she set up a union as a teenager.
Her story on BBC. Go to minute 26:30.
Listen here.
BBC worldservice

* Workers go on demo over CEPZ factory lay-off:

Workers of the Atlantic Garments in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) protested on Thursday against a move to announce a lay-off in the factory from September 1 over what the authority called their failure to receive any work order.

The factory authority in a notice asked the workers asked to work till August 31 and need not come to the factory later as the lay-off would be effective from the first of next month.

On perusal of the notice the workers poured out of the factory and demonstrated in front of it demanding payment of one month’s outstanding wages and another three months’ wages from the date of lay-off.
The demonstration  continued until CEPZ officials and police arrived there by noon.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG factory shut down after protest:

The Atlantic Garments authorities yesterday hung a notice on the factory gate, stating that the factory would be laid off from September 1, 2014

The garment workers of a factory at Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) yesterday staged demonstration protesting a sudden shut down notice of their factory.

The Atlantic Garments authorities yesterday hung a notice on the factory gate, stating that the factory would be laid off from September 1, 2014.

Around 350 workers of the factory staged a demonstration on the factory premises and abstained from work for an hour protesting the decision.

Upon receiving information, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the protesters while a meeting was going on between the agitating workers and the BEPZ authorities to come to a solution.

Deputy Assistant Director Arifur Rahman of Chittagong industrial police said the factory authorities made the lay-off decision as they were failing to get any work order.
Our Gazipur correspondent said a group of miscreants had attacked a garments factory and injured two officials in the Kewa area of Sreepur municipality in Gazipur on Wednesday night.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Envoy plans to set up Tk 235cr spinning unit:

Envoy Textiles plans to set up a spinning unit at a cost of about Tk 235 crore to produce yarn, 80 percent of which will be used for its own consumption.

The unit, which is expected to start commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016, will sell the rest 20 percent of its production to others.
HSBC and Brac Bank will finance about Tk 156 crore of the project cost and Envoy will provide the rest, the company said in a posting on the website of Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday.

Envoy, a denim maker, has already finalised the plan for the unit that will have a production capacity of 17,500 tonnes yarn a year.
“We will be a full-fledged textile manufacturer after completion of the unit at Bhaluka in Mymensingh,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, managing director of Envoy Textiles that supplies clothes to Wal-Mart, H&M, JC Penney, Gap, Carrefour, Zara and Next.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Japanese investors likely to be given 8,000-acre SEZ in Ctg:

Eight SEZs to be developed

The government will provide lands for setting up special economic zone (SEZ) for Japanese investors aiming to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.  

“We will provide lands for setting up SEZ for Japanese investors that will help boost trade and investment between the two countries,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told the media after meeting a Japanese delegation at his Secretariat office Thursday.

Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan Norihiko Ishiguro led the delegation.

He hinted that eight thousand acres of lands in Mirsarai in Chittagong might be offered to the Japanese investors.

Earlier the government decided to allocate lands for the Japanese investors as entrepreneurs of the world’s third largest economy have expressed to invest in Bangladesh considering cheap labour force and the prevailing investment-friendly atmosphere.

The Commerce Minister said the government will build SEZs at eight places following immense interest by the foreign investors, especially the Japanese and the Chinese.
(….)
Earlier the government decided to allocate lands for the Japanese investors as entrepreneurs of the world’s third largest economy have expressed to invest in Bangladesh considering cheap labour force and the prevailing investment-friendly atmosphere.
(…)
He said during the meeting, the Japanese delegation has also expressed to cooperate for leather sector development of the country.
(…)
Japan has allowed duty-free market access of readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh. Japan needs RMG items worth US $35 billion annually, and 50 per cent of the total demand is being fulfilled through import, mainly from China.

Bangladesh has the opportunity to grab a significant share of the market that could help the country to fetch $7-8 billion by increasing export of RMG to Japan.  Bangladesh also exports leather goods to Japan.
read more. & read more. & read more.
FE bd daily star bd  BSS

* BGMEA opposes Japanese investment in RMG:

The Japanese investment in RMG and textiles sector was discussed in the first Bangladesh-Japan Public-Private Economic Dialogue held at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday

Local garment manufacturers have vehemently opposed any Japanese investment in producing basic garment products, claiming domestic entrepreneurs are capable of doing it.

“Japanese investors showed interest in producing basic readymade garment products like pants and shirts; but we discourage such investment as we are capable of manufacturing those,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice-President Reaz bin Mahmood told the
Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

The Japanese investment in RMG and textiles sector was discussed in the first Bangladesh-Japan Public-Private Economic Dialogue held at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.

The association asked them to invest in composite textile industry or value-added products such as suits, tents and school bags, where local investment had been negligible, Reaz said.

“A foreign investor has set up a plant to produce apron, gloves and other products which are used in hospitals and we encourage such investment,” he added.

FBCCI president Kazi Akramuddin, who represented the business community in the Bangladesh-Japan dialogue, told the Dhaka Tribune that the Japanese investors wanted to come in a big way.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Govt committed to save silk industry: Azam:

State Minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam MP on Wednesday said, the government is committed to save the silk industry.

He said this while visiting the sericulture nursery at Bholahat in Chapainawabganj district today morning.

During his visit, lawmaker of Nachole, Gomostapur, Bholahat constituency Golam Mostofa Biswas, director general (DG) of Bangladesh Silk Board Swapon Chandra Pal, deputy commissioner of Chapainawabganj Mohammad Jahangir Kabir and police super Bashir Ahmed were present on the occasion.
read more. & read more.
FE bd  INDEPENDENT

* Govt move to overhaul BJMC mills to make them profitable:

The government has initiated a move to overhaul the state-owned jute mills by replacing century-old machinery with modern equipment aiming to make the units operationally vibrant and commercially viable, officials said.

To push the move forward Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with China Texmatech Co Ltd (CTMTC), China Hi-Tech Textile Design Institute Co Ltd and China Wuhan Textile University Tuesday last for balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion (BMRE) of the 26 state-run jute mills.

BJMC Chairman Major General (Retd) Humayun Khaled and President of CTMTC, China Hi-Tech Textile Design Institute Co Ltd and China Wuhan Textile University Jing Chen signed the MoUs on behalf of their respective sides. Textile and Jute Minister Mohammad Imaj Uddin Pramanik and other high officials were present.
read more.
FE bd

* Ministry to sell jute mills: JS body:

The parliamentary standing committee said no more jute mills would be sold through Privatization Commission.

The decision came from a meeting of parliamentary standing committee on textiles and jute ministry at the Parliament building on Thursday.
The meeting decided that the ministry would be authorized for selling any jute mills from now on if they need.
read more.
bdnews24

22:34:34 local time map of india INDIA

* This is just the beginning of reforms in Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje:

Interview with Chief Minister, Rajasthan

Since she became chief minister of Rajasthan for a second time in December last year, winning 163 of the 200 Assembly seats, Vasundhara Raje, 61, has announced a series of labour reforms.

She has made it easier for companies to fire workers without the government’s approval and instituted a new card to transfer benefits to the woman head of the family. In a rare interview, she tells Rahul Jacob and Sahil Makkar that she has learnt from her previous term (2003-2008). Edited excerpts:

At the beginning of your second term as chief minister, you have hit the ground at full sprint. Is this the result of lessons learnt in the past?
read more.
BUSINESSSTANDARD 2

* Union government is trying to take away workers’ rights, says CITU:

The National Secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) K. Hemalatha has said that central trade unions would resist all the Union government’s moves to take away the rights of the workers by amending the existing Labour Acts.

Inaugurating the four-day national workshop on the Integrated Child Development Services organised by the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers in Gulbarga on Thursday, Dr. Hemalatha told the delegates from 26 States that the joint action committee of the 11 central trade unions would meet in New Delhi in the first week of September to chalk out the future course of action.
read more.
THEHINDU

22:34:34 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka exports jump on EU, US demand for garments:

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrowed substantially this year thanks to increased demand for clothing exports to the United States and Europe, the island’s central bank said Thursday.

Exports jumped 16.8 per cent to $5.44 billion in the first six months of calendar 2014 compared to the same period last year, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. Imports meanwhile declined 1.2 per cent to $8.99 billion compared to the same period last year, the bank said.

Overall, the trade gap reduced from $4.44 billion in the first six months of last year to $3.55 billion in the same period this year, the bank said. Sri Lanka’s exports in mainly garments to the EU jumped 34.6 per cent while those to the US increased 12.1 per cent, as Sri Lanka’s $4.5 billion clothing sector recovers from a slowdown.

‘The rapid growth in the apparel industry indicates the ability of the industry to achieve the target for exports of $5 billion well before 2016,’ the bank said, releasing its trade review for the first six months of 2014.
read more. & to read. & to read. & to read.
FE bd daily star bd NEWAGEnew AFP

22:04:34 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile exports fall continues despite GSP Plus:

20140822 NATION

Pakistan’s textile exports plunged by over 2 per cent in the first month (July) of the ongoing fiscal year (2014-2015) apparently due to the power crisis in the country that affected the industrial production.

The country exported textile made commodities worth $1.169 billion during July 2014 as against $1.198 billion of the corresponding month of the previous year, registering a decrease of 2.37 per cent in one year, showed the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Thursday.
This is major setback for the incumbent government that textile exports are decreasing from last few months despite getting GSP Plus status from European Union in January this year.
The industrialists and exporters believed ongoing electricity shortage has reduced exports of the country in last four months.

“One of the reasons for decline in export proceeds was the closure of the ports for nearly 11 days during the Eid holidays”, said an official of the Textile Ministry.
He also admitted that ongoing power shortage has also affected the country’s exports during last few months.
However, he added that government had introduced incentives package in the budget 2014-15 for export promotion, effective from July 1.
read more.
the NATIONnew

* Textile exports up  5% MoM:

Textile exports of the country registered an increase of 5 percent and remained at $1.16 billion in July as compared to the preceding month of the current fiscal year, it is learnt.

Official sources told Business Recorder that textile exports to the European Union (EU) under the GSP Plus status registered a substantial increase while the energy situation also remained good during the period under review, resulting in overall increase in textile exports.

Textile exports dipped by 1.52 percent to $1.113 billion during June 2014 against $1.13 billion in the same period of last year, however it increased again by 5 percent and reached $1.162 billion in July 2014.
The country’s overall textile exports increased by 3.95 percent during the last fiscal year mainly due to the increase in exports to the EU after the GSP Plus status.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

 

 

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INFO:
There are updates under “special overviews”:

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE- PART 6: 20140607 – NOW

* TUBA Garment Workers Strike & Tazreen bail 20140724-now

HEADLINES:

VIET NAM
* Wage increase runs behind practice

CAMBODIA
* Striking Factory Workers Thwart Police Arrests
* New fines for faintings
* BetterFactories Media Updates 22 August

BANGLADESH
* Govt steps in to resolve Tuba closure dispute
* Tuba factories’ closure notice under scanner
* Nazma Akhtar was a garment factory worker at age 11
* Workers go on demo over CEPZ factory lay-off
* RMG factory shut down after protest
* Envoy plans to set up Tk 235cr spinning unit
* Japanese investors likely to be given 8,000-acre SEZ in Ctg
* BGMEA opposes Japanese investment in RMG
* Govt committed to save silk industry: Azam
* Govt move to overhaul BJMC mills to make them profitable
* Ministry to sell jute mills: JS body

INDIA
* This is just the beginning of reforms in Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje
* Union government is trying to take away workers’ rights, says CITU

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka exports jump on EU, US demand for garments

PAKISTAN
* Textile exports fall continues despite GSP Plus
* Textile exports up 5% MoM

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2