04:20:05 local time CHINA
20150522-23 * Higher wages in China show better productivity:
Rising wages may have cut the cost advantage of China’s products, but a group of Standard Chartered economists on Friday predicted even higher productivity to come.
Wage rises and labor shortages are evident in the Pearl River Delta in South China, according to a report released by the bank on Friday. The country’s manufacturing base accounts for 27 percent of foreign trade.
Standard Chartered surveyed nearly 300 manufacturers in the region in February and March and 85 percent said the labor shortage is not getting better.
They expect wages to rise by around than 8.4 percent this year.
The bank also found some manufacturers moving production to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Cambodia, where cheap labor is in abundant supply.
It is mostly textiles and clothing factories at the low end of the manufacturing chain that are moving out, the bank said.
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05:20:05 local time NORTH KOREA
20150525 * S. Korea firms to pay wages for N. Koreans at joint factory park:
South Korean firms in an inter-Korean factory park in North Korea plan to pay wages to their North Korean employees this week, a government official said Monday.
The move came days after Pyongyang accepted Seoul’s tentative offer of wage payments for North Korean workers at the factory park in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong at a previously agreed level until separate consultations are held.
The deal on Friday would allow South Korean firms to pay the wage based on the US$70.35 per month that was originally set. But it called for the 124 South Korean firms to provide retroactive pay based on the outcome of separate consultations.
20150522 * S.Korea, DPRK agree to keep current wage in Kaesong complex for now:
South Korea and the Democratic People ‘ s Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Friday to maintain the current level of wage for DPRK workers in the Kaesong industrial complex for the time being, Seoul’s Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said.
From early this week, officials from the management committees of the two sides for the Kaesong industrial zone have made intensive consultations about the wage issue and reached a final agreement Friday, the ministry said.
Under the agreement, South Korean companies running factories in Kaesong would be allowed to pay wages for DPRK workers at the current level first and the remainder of increased wages later in accordance with the results of the future inter-Korean consultations.
04:20:05 local time PHILIPPINES
* For a complete Overview and latest Updates PHILIPPINE Shoe Factory fire:
click here: Philippine footwear Factory fire 20150513-now
20150525 * DOST launches P54-M textile production, development center:
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is stepping up its support for the local fabrics industry with the launching yesterday of its P54 million Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT).
ICYT is housed at DOST’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) in Bicutan, Taguig City. It is a facility for producing natural fibers, research and development among other functions.
DOST secretary Mario Go Montejo, Sen. Loren Legarda and PTRI Director Celia Elumba, along with guests and DOST and PTRI officials and personnel graced the ICYT’s launching.
20150524 * Lawmaker wants review of Labor Code’s ‘contractualization’ provisions after Kentex fire:
The deaths of 72 people in a fire at a Valenzuela City slipper factory have exposed the need to review the the country’s Labor Code and plug up loopholes that have allowed businesses to hire contractual workers, a lawmaker said Sunday.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, chairman of the House committee on Labor, said his panel had established in its hearing last week that many of the workers at Kentex Manufacturing Corp. were subcontracted through unlicensed manpower pooling firm CJC Manpower Services.
The committee also discovered that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) conducted three inspections through its labor law compliance officers (LLCO) at the Kentex facility but failed to verify the background of the manpower agency that supplied the workers.
20150522 * Probers establish fire safety violations in Valenzuela warehouse:
Authorities have established several violations of fire safety regulations at the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. factory and warehouse that was gutted by a seven-hour fire last week.
The inter-agency task force on Friday conducted its last “walk-through” of the premises with the Bureau of Fire Protection using a 3D laser scan equipment to generate a three-dimensional layout of the factory, including precise measurements of the site.
Probers found that the factory did not have enough emergency exits and had no sprinkler and alarm systems.
Second, highly flammable chemicals were found to have been mishandled.
Also, the building was found to have no safety officer and no BFP permit for welding operations in the premises.
20150523 * DoLE probes labor officer:
The Department of Labor and Employment said yesterday that it is now investigating the labor officer who inspected Kentex Manufacturing Corp. last year for committing possible lapses in the performance of his duty.
In a press conference, DoLE National Capital Region Director Alex Avila disclosed that Labor Law Compliance Officer Joseph Vedasto in now being probed to verify if his assessment of Kentex was credible.
He said this was revealed by Labor Undersecretary Rebecca Chato during the congressional hearing on the Kentex incident Wednesday.
“There is now an internal investigation being done by the department to find out the detail of his assessment of Kentex. (DoLE) Central office will handle it,” Avila said.
20150522 * Senate investigation on Valenzuela fire sought:
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, sought yesterday a parallel probe on the deadly fire at Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City last May 13.
In his Senate Resolution 1365, Marcos asked the Senate leadership to direct an appropriate committee to look, in aid of legislation, into the circumstances that led to the May 13 fire that razed the slipper company.
Early this week, the House of Representatives began its probe into that deadly conflagration.
Marcos stressed the need for legislative measures to enhance and strengthen occupational safety and health standards.
Initial reports showed that the slipper factory had violated safety standards and several labor laws.
20150522 * Fire victims’ kin, survivors sue Kentex:
Survivors and relatives of the victims of the massive fire that killed 72 people in Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City filed a lawsuit against the company on Friday afternoon.
The lawsuit was filed before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), the office responsible for labor disputes.
According to Atty. Remegio Saladero Jr., who represents 4 survivors plus 3 relatives of those who died in the fire, they filed money claims against Kentex for violating labor practices such as not following the minimum wage, not providing the required holiday benefit package, overtime pay, non-payment of Social Security System (SSS) premiums and other benefits.
Although Saladero only represents seven victims, he said at least 52 other victims plan to file similar cases against Kentex.
The victims and the owners of the company are scheduled to meet during the first hearing set on June 9.
20150522 * Daughter of Valenzuela factory owner says sorry to kin of fire victims:
Before the families of nearly 70 workers who died in a footwear factory fire in Valenzuela City, the company owner’s daughter asked for forgiveness and a little more patience.
“I think they deserve to hear ‘sorry’ from the owners. But we are not saying it’s our fault. This is an accident,” Barbara Ang, eldest daughter of one of Kentex Manufacturing Inc.’s shareholders, told reporters after the dialogue with the families.
Seventy-two people, including the son of one of the owners and a part-owner, were killed on May 13 as fire gutted the 3,000 square-meter slippers factory with three adjoining buildings on Tatalon Street in Barangay Ugong.
“Their families died while working for us. I think it is our moral obligation to ask for forgiveness,” Ang said.
20150523 * Kentex fire victims cope with loss of loved ones:
As flames engulfed Kentex Manufacturing factory, Gelson Logrono, who lives near the area, ran toward the burning building and screamed for his wife Bernardita’s name, hoping she would survive the fire.
But his wife did not respond.
“When I heard there was fire, I immediately ran to the factory. I went to a staircase nearby and called out my wife. But no one came out of the building,” said a reticent Gelson in Filipino as he and his son lit a candle for the victims of the May 13 inferno in front of the factory ruins in Barangay (village) Ugong.
With Gelson and his eight-year-old only son was Bernardita’s brother, who also mourns for the death of his two sisters who are both working for Kentex.
They went back to the building, where 72 persons died during the fire, after they joined other families of victims in filing charges against Kentex before the National Labor Relations Commission for violating labor standards.
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20150523 * Families reject Kentex apology:
A daughter of one of the owners of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. apologized yesterday to the families of the victims of the fire that gutted the firm’s slippers factory and killed 72 people in Valenzuela City on May 13.
Some of the relatives, however, rejected her apology and felt that the owners were not sincere.
Barbara Ang, eldest daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, met the victims’ relatives at about 9 a.m. at the assembly hall in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City yesterday morning.
Ang said that she personally sought forgiveness from the families of the fire victims as part of the company’s moral obligation to the relatives who lost their loved ones during the fire in Barangay Ugong.
She said the families of the victims deserve to hear the owners’ apology since the workers were the company’s responsibility and under their care when the fire happened.
20150523 * Kentex owners sorry for fire but ‘not saying it’s our fault’:
Facing grieving families more than a week after the huge fire that hit the Valenzuela City factory co-owned by her father, Barbara Ang asked for forgiveness and more patience, saying her family was also shaken and still reeling from the tragedy.
“This is not the best time to point fingers at those who should be blamed or are at fault,” said Ang, the eldest child of Veato Ang, one of the shareholders of Kentex Manufacturing Corp., whose management is facing investigation not only for the May 13 inferno but also for questionable labor practices at its rubber slipper factory in Barangay Ugong.
“We are all going through the same thing. This is also our darkest hour,” she said, adding that her 80-year-old father was “shocked” and hospitalized upon learning about the fire. “We’re just glad that he did not suffer a stroke.”
20150524 * DOLE addresses issues on workers’ health, safety in workplaces:
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz directed the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), to assign personnel to man their respective hotlines/helpdesks and answer queries and complaints on health and safety in the workplace, which part of a more expansive and intensified information and education campaign to raise awareness and understanding of workplace safety and health.
Baldoz also urged workers and concerned citizens all over the country to actively participate in this campaign by reporting to the DoLE the presence or existence of risky and unsafe conditions and practices in all establishments so that the DoLE can take immediate action.
“We need to inform, educate, and accustom our workers and employers, as well as the general public, on occupational safety and health, so they can be aware and vigilant.
On the other hand, the public can help us in our campaign to foster safe and healthy workplaces by reporting to us all risky, dangerous, and unsafe working conditions and practices so we can take fast action.
Occupational safety and health is a two-way street. It cannot be that the government only has the responsibility,” she said.
20150523 * DOLE asks workers to report unsafe workplaces:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) asked the public to help promote health and safety in the workplace by reporting to them the presence of risky and unsafe conditions and practices in all establishments.
“The public can help us in our campaign to foster safe and healthy workplaces by reporting to us all risky, dangerous, and unsafe working conditions and practices so we can take fast action.
Occupational safety and health is a two-way street. It cannot be that the government only has the responsibility,” Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement.
However, she appealed to the public to avoid making prank calls.
“While we will exert effort to verify even anonymous tips, we also request reporters or tipsters to please avoid making prank calls,” said Baldoz.
The labor chief already directed the Occupational Safety and Health Center and the Employees Compensation Commission, their attached agencies, to assign personnel to man their respective hotlines/helpdesks and answer queries and complaints on health and safety in the workplace.
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20150522 * Valenzuela cracks down on factories:
More than a week after 72 workers were killed in a blaze at Kentex Manufacturing Inc. in Barangay (village) Ugong, Valenzuela City, two others factories located nearby were shut down by local officials for violating fire and labor regulations.
First Millennium Enterprises, which supplied slippers and laundry bags to hotels, was the first to be ordered closed after it was found to be a fire trap.
On the other hand, Snow Point Vinyl Products, which makes plastic pipes, was told to cease operating after it failed to present some supporting documents, including a fire safety certificate.
Both factories are located on Tatalon Street in Barangay Ugong, just minutes away from the Kentex Manufacturing Inc. compound.
They were the first to be inspected by audit teams formed by the local government after the May 13 blaze killed 72 Kentex workers who were trapped in the factory’s second floor.
Along with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the teams will check the 1,675 factories in Valenzuela City for compliance with safety regulations, labor laws, the fire code and business requirements.
He added that during the inspection, the factory which has 30 employees had 100 individuals inside the warehouse, including at least 10 children.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian told the Inquirer that the conditions inside the area were “inhumane.” “Some were living under a table with a piece of cloth to cover them,” he said.
20150522 * Workers recall escape from Kentex inferno:
Survivors of a fire that engulfed a slippers factory in Valenzuela City yesterday urged the government to give justice to the death of their 72 colleagues, as they recalled how they managed to escape from the burning building.
Aljon Peron, 22, told The STAR that he was putting on straps to slippers at the assembly section on the second floor of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. warehouse last May 13 when his co-workers at the production section in the ground floor began shouting.
Peron said “very thick smoke” from the building’s ground floor drove him and his colleagues to panic.
With his supervisor Jun Panado, partner Aiza Atezado and a certain Nick, Peron said he checked two stairs where they could possibly escape – one linking the two floors of the building and the other leading outside – but both were already engulfed in flames.
“We heard our co-workers shouting. They were saying a fire had started on the first floor. We checked the stairs but the fire ate them up so we decided to destroy the glass windows of the factory and jump onto the canteen’s roof. From there, we jumped again to the roof of a Kentex truck before we finally reached outside,” he said in Filipino.
20150522 * Kentex: We will do our obligations to victims’ families:
The owners of the slippers factory in Valenzuela City that recetly burned down killing 72 workers on Friday assured families of the victims that they will not turn its back from their obligations.
During a dialogue held at the Maysan barangay hall in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela, the owners and family members of Kentex Manufacting Corp. assured the affected families that they will not be running away from their obligations amid allegations from some camps and media reports.
“We are here to assure you that we have no such intention and that we have no plans of leaving the country to escape from our responsibility of helping those who were affected by this tragedy.
In fact, Kentex is currently reaching out to assist the injured and the families of the casualties,” Barbara Ang, a relative of the one of the owners said.
20150522 * VIDEO | Task force reconstructs events at Kentex before and during fire that killed 72 workers:
The interagency task force on the May 13 Kentex factory fire that killed 72 workers on Thursday reconstructed the scene and events before the deadly blaze began.
They put a scaffolding near the roll-up door that a welder was tasked to fix on that fateful day. It was established that a spark from the welder’s torch had landed on one of the hazardous chemicals stockpiled in the factory.
The task force also took pictures of the top view of the factory, and got a clear idea of the areas where various chemicals used to make the rubber slippers were stockpiled.
Fire Superintendent Renato Marcial of the IATF said the exercise proved quite helpful as it provided a “very clear” idea of why the fire broke out and how it spread, and what needed to be done to redress similar situations.
20150522 * Senators call for review of occupational safety and health standards:
Three senators want a review of the country’s fire code and occupational safety and health standards to prevent a repeat of the tragic fire that hit a slipper factory in Valenzuela City, killing 72 people.
Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Cynthia Villar , and Juan Edgardo Angara stressed the need to enhance and strengthen the existing laws on safety and health in the workplace following what the International Labor Organization described as a preventable accident.
In Senate Resolution 1365, Marcos sought an inquiry on the circumstances that led to the May 13 fire that razed the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation.
The Department of Labor and Employment earlier said Kentex had passed safety and health inspection in September 2014, or eight months prior to the incident.
03:20:05 local time VIET NAM
20150522 * Trade unions push for higher, realistic wages:
The monthly minimum salary that took effect on January 1 could not cover workers’ living costs, representatives of trade unions in Ho Chi Minh City have said.
Under the law, minimum monthly salaries in HCM City were raised to 3.1 million VND (142 USD), 400,000 VND higher than the previous threshold.
At a recent workshop, Nguyen Tran Phuong Tran, deputy chairwoman of the city’s Labour Federation, said that, as of April 20, 3,904 enterprises in HCM City had increased their monthly wages.
She said that some companies had raised their wages even higher than the State’s requirement, but many of them had stopped giving allowances for accommodation, petrol, and meals.
Tran Thi Hong Van, chairwoman of the trade union at Nissei Electric Vietnam in Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, said total living expenses for a couple with two children were 10 million VND (476 USD) each month.
“The average income of workers is more than 4 million VND (190 USD),” Van said.
20150522 * Forced to work without lights, 600 workers go on strike in Hai Phong:
20150525 * Code to combat sexual harassment at work launched:
A code of conduct to prevent sexual harassment at work would give practical guidance to workers on what sexual harassment in the workplace means, how it could be prevented, and what steps should be taken if it occurred. — VNA/VNS Photo
A code of conduct to prevent sexual harassment at work was issued today by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Viet Nam.
The ministry said the code was compiled as the Labour Code adopted by the National Assembly in 2012, which has four articles relating to sexual harassment, failed to provide a clear definition of sexual harassment.
Therefore, the code aimed to help remove the legal loopholes in preventing and addressing the issue, Ha Manh Bon, head of the ministry’s Legal Department said.
The code would give practical guidance to the government, employers’ organisations, trade unions and workers on what sexual harassment in the workplace means, how it could be prevented, and what steps should be taken if it occurred, he said.
The code was expected to be a foundation for employers and workers to develop their own policy or regulation, or integrate this content into their existing policies or regulations to promote healthy, safe, quality and productive workplaces, he said.
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20150524 * Clothing firms face thorough checks:
Hundreds of garment and textile enterprises across 12 provinces and cities will be thoroughly inspected by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and experts from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The inspections, to be conducted over the next five months, will look into factories’ working conditions and training courses for workers.
Statistics published by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs showed that more than 80 per cent of textile and garment enterprises inspected in 2014 violated policies about working duration, rest periods and other labour safety regulations.
Vu Kim Hue, project officer of ILO Country Office for Viet Nam, said on Friday (May 22) that industry enterprises push hard to meet contract deadlines, entailing large amounts of overtime for labourers. Labourers are also often unequipped with protective gear.
The inspections are not aimed at punishing violators, she said, but instead on helping companies conform to labour safety regulations and improve working conditions for their workers.
The Ministry and ILO representatives also hope to use the inspections as a chance to improve the knowledge and skills of labour inspectors.
These labour inspectors are responsible for supporting and supervising garment companies to ensure proper labour conditions and workers’ rights.
About 360 garment and textile enterprises will be inspected for workers’ hours, rest periods, salary, bodily protection, warning signs, fire prevention equipment and other tools to ensure safety for labourers.
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20150524 * HCM City faces shortage of workers in clothing industry:
A critical shortage of workers in the textile and clothing industry is hampering HCM City’s ability to transform itself into the fashion centre of the southern region, leading industry analysts report.
Late last year the HCM City Department of Trade and Industry announced that for 2015 it was targeting an increase in the industry’s production value by 8.5% over that of 2014 to US$1.7 billion.
To accomplish the goal would require an additional 19,500 workers and roughly 500-1000 skilled workers such as engineers, technical experts and designers, the department said.
Beyond 2015 the department anticipated an additional 20,250 workers would be needed by 2020 to meet the demand for future growth brought about by regional and global integration.
The shortage of skilled labour is the most immediate hurdle facing industry growth, said Bui Mai Huong, head of the Garment Technique Department of the HCM City University of Technology (HUT).
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20150525 * Foreign-invested businesses top all others in 2014 social insurance debt in Vietnam: report :
Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) and foreign organizations last year topped all other economic sectors of Vietnam’s economy in social insurance debt with over VND2.13 trillion (US$97.9 million), according to a government report on the management and use of social insurance funds in 2014.
This was a staggering 192.5 percent year-on-year surge, according to the report submitted recently to the ongoing National Assembly meeting, which kicked off in Hanoi on Wednesday.
The foreign sector was followed by the non-state sector which owed about VND1.9 trillion ($87.4 million), down about 50 percent compared to the rate of over VND3.8 trillion in the previous year.
The non-state sector held the top position in social insurance debt in 2013 as the debt it owed accounting for about 16 percent of total social insurance debts that should be recovered, according to the report.
20150523 * Vietnam’s NA urged to admit fault in social insurance restriction:
The Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) should admit its fault to laborers for issuing a revised law keeps many workers away from receiving a lump-sum social insurance allowance after leaving job, a deputy said Thursday.
“I feel ashamed and guilty when witnessing workers going on strike to protest Article 60 of the 2014 Law on Social Insurance,” Vo Thi Dung, chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Fatherland Front Committee, said at yesterday’s NA meeting in Hanoi.
The law-making NA convened for its ninth session on Wednesday.
The 2014 Law on Social Insurance was approved by the NA in November 2014 to revise the 2006 Law on Social Insurance and is slated to take effect on January 1, 2016.
Dung requested that the NA amend the Article 60 and admit its fault to laborers for having adopted it.
Pursuant to the article, the scope of employees eligible to receive a lump-sum social insurance allowance when they resign from work is narrowed.
20150522 * Vietnam gov’t asks legislature to amend insurance law for workers’ sake:
The Vietnamese government has proposed that the law-making National Assembly (NA) revise a new rule on social insurance to offer laborers two options on how to receive social insurance allowances once they leave a job, and most NA deputies have agreed to the proposal.
One of the options is that laborers stake a lump-sum social insurance payment upon their resignation, and the other option is that laborers continue paying insurance premiums – voluntarily or through their new employers – and receive their social insurance payment upon retiring.
Minister of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, on behalf of the government, on Thursday submitted to the National Assembly a proposal to amend Article 60 of the 2014 Law on Social Insurance, which revised the 2006 Law on Social Insurance and will take effect on January 1, 2016.
20150525 * Vietnam textile and garment exports see strong growth in Q1:
The export revenue of garment and textile products in the first quarter of 2015 was estimated at US$4.85 billion, an increase of 10.5% compared to the same period last year.
According to statistics from the Industry and Trade Information Centre, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, traditional markets for Vietnam’s textile and garment industry such as the US, the EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea posted high growth.
The US market ranked first in growth, with US$2.37 billion in revenue, an increase of 9.5% compared to the same period last year, followed by Japan with US$635.95 million, a year-on-year increase of 7.9%.
2015 is expected to open up more opportunities for Vietnam textile and garment exports as the negotiation process of a number of trade agreements may come to an end.
Although there are many opportunities for export growth, textile companies still face many difficulties and challenges.
20150526 * Spike predicted in Korean investment:
The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s direct investment inflow to Vietnam is expected to soar in the near future, as businesses scramble to capitalise on the recently-signed free trade agreement between the two countries.
- Foreign investors scampering for a share in garment industry
- Thailand, Vietnam look for garment co-operation
- Vietnam, Hongkong garment companies ink contract
“We see multiple opportunities arising from the recent ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) between our countries, which is why we have chosen to build out factory in Vietnam,” said Kim Duk Yong, chairman of KMW-RoK’s biggest maker of telecommunications and LED lighting equipment.
He made this statement at a recent groundbreaking ceremony for its US$100 million manufacturing plant in the northern province of Ha Nam.
20150524 * Economic restructuring ‘too slow’:
Workers at a factory of Garment 10 Corporation – Joint Stock Company, a member of the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex). The economic restructuring process in Viet Nam had been progressing at a slow pace.
The Director of Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), Nguyen Dinh Cung, noted at a conference on Thursday that the economic restructuring process in Viet Nam had been progressing at a slow pace.
At the conference on the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the master plan for economic restructuring, many economists agreed with Cung. The conference was organised by the institute within the framework of the Restructuring for a Competitive Viet Nam project.
Economists Luu Bich Ho remarked that even after three years, the process remained far from substantial restructuring.
CIEM’s former director Le Xuan Ba said that Viet Nam should accept low growth rates, between four and five per cent, in the short term to gain higher growth rates of eight to 10 per cent in the medium term.
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20150522 * HCM City, Italy foster textile cooperation:
The HCM City University of Technology (HCMUT) and Association of Italian Textile Machine Manufacturers (ACIMIT) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the textiles industry for mutual benefit.
Madam Carlotta Colli, the Italian General Consulate, signed the agreement on behalf of the ACIMIT while Professor Tran Thien Phuc, ACIMIT vice rector represented the HCMUT.
20150526 * Vietnam gives excessive incentives to foreign investors:
Vietnam gives big incentives for FDI enterprises with the expectation that they will perform technology transfer in the country, but the fact is that only 20% of foreign firms were engaged in technology transfer in the past five years.
Poor technology transfer from FIEs to domestic firms
Dr. Nguyen Thi Tue Anh, deputy director of the Central Economic Management Institute (CIEM), said that there are many factors affecting the competitiveness of enterprises, including technology.
Surveys conducted in recent years show that technology of Vietnamese enterprises has improved but improvement is low in comparison with the world and other regions.
According to the survey “Competitiveness and technology at the enterprise level in 2010-2014” by CIEM and a research team from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Vietnamese enterprises can realize the benefits of technological innovation, but they lack the capacity and resources to implement it.
Among many reasons, the survey indicates that financial constraint is essential. It said there is lack of skilled labor and access to equipment.
Vietnam has rolled out the red carpet to welcome foreign investors, with the hope that they will transfer new technology to local firms.
However, up to 80 percent of technology transfer in the past five years came from local firms.
Dr. Neda Trifkovic, from the University of Copenhagen, a member of the survey group, pointed out that in 2009, only 1% of technology was transferred from foreign-invested enterprises to domestic enterprises.
The figure was 10% in 2013 and 35% in 2011 and 2012. But then it fell to about 30%.
20150525 * Vietnam prepares to ratify WTO trade facilitation agreement:
Vietnam is on track to becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to ratify the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
- Vietnam to join Mekong transport, trade facilitation project
- Vietnam, UK sign WTO trade facilitation agreement
In December 2013, WTO member countries unanimously endorsed the TFA at the conclusion of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia.
To date, only four WTO members — Hong Kong (China), Singapore, the US and Mauritius — have secured domestic acceptance of the TFA.
The TFA does not become effective until two-thirds of WTO members have completed their domestic ratification process, as essential part of which is the formation of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).
20150522 * Vietnam willing to work for early TPP negotiation completion:
Vietnam is ready to work with other countries involved in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation towards its early conclusion, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Le Hai Binh said in a regular press conference on May 21.
Replying a query on the possibility of wrapping up the negotiations and signing the agreement within this year, Binh said Vietnam will follow the principle of fairness with regard to mutual benefits and respect to interests of the TPP member countries.
TPP negotiations were launched in 2005 between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
It is one of the world’s biggest Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of all 12 participant countries accounting for 40 percent of the global GDP.
20150522 * American investors see Vietnam as strategic market:
Ranked No. 7 of 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam for the past five years, the United States has invested more capital in the country through new brands.
In late March, P&G started construction of a Gillette razor factory in Binh Duong province with US$100 million. The factory will be completed in 12 months and will create jobs for more than 300 local workers.
According to P&G Vietnam CEO Emre Olcer, the group had considered the construction of a Gillette razor factory in neighboring countries, but finally they chose Vietnam.
The reason for this choice is because “Asia takes an important role for the group’s future. And compared with other countries in the region, Vietnam is outstanding for the consumption potential and new opportunities”.
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03:20:05 local time CAMBODIA
20150523 * High fashion’s human cost:
Despite a five-year-old ruling to install roof sprinklers, temperatures inside the Kin Tai Garment factory remain hotter than outside, and workers are resorting to desperate measures to keep from fainting
Giorgio Armani has built a world-renowned brand synonymous with high-end fashion, but in Cambodia the human cost of its clothing is evident at the source.
The Taiwanese-owned Kin Tai Garment factory, set back from a busy road in Phnom Penh’s Chak Angre commune, employs almost 600 mostly female workers to produce clothes for the Italian fashion house’s Armani Jeans line.
The seamstresses have received a first-hand induction into the global economy by helping to sate demand for “luxury” clothing in the United States. In return, they work in boiling temperatures that the factory has, for years, failed to address, for low wages and insecure contracts.
Broken lights and faded national flags adorn the entrance to Kin Tai, where rows of workers sit behind archaic-looking machines, each one responsible for sewing a small component of what will soon become a pair of designer jeans.
The work is monotonous. It takes a seamstress less than a minute to perfectly stitch a pocket. She will sew hundreds every day.
Further down the line, others take seconds to sew a straight seam down the side of pair of men’s jeans before rapidly reaching for more material.
Few of the women speak while they work, but the hum of machines and murmur of traditional Cambodian music fills the room with noise.
In a separate, smaller warehouse, workers carefully package the jeans, now fully assembled and embellished with the iconic designer’s name.
About 90 per cent of the jeans produced at Kin Tai are shipped to the US, according to its administration manager, Pov Soeun.
But while their own wage is meagre, the workers, too, pay a high price for high fashion.
On an early morning this week in a small out-building labelled “infirmary”, 28-year-old Veng Sovichenda slouched over a bed, as a co-worker vigorously rubbed the metal lid of a pot of “Siang Pure Balm” up and down her back.
At eight months pregnant, Sovichenda – who works in Kin Tai’s packaging department – had felt dizzy, and as though she might collapse.
The traditional healing practice being performed by her co-worker, known as “coining”, was an effort to get rid of the symptoms.
A number of labour rights groups have highlighted Armani as one of the least cooperative brands operating in the Kingdom.
Robertson of HRW said the label’s “failure to be transparent and responsive shows that Armani apparently doesn’t care to take responsibility for what happens in its supply chain, including abuses against workers.”
CLEC’s Preston agreed, explaining that a brand’s willingness to enter into dialogue is “usually a pretty good indicator of its commitment to social responsibility.”
“There’s something really wrong about it … That so much profit can be made from their products when there is such little investment into workers’ health and safety,” he added.
The workers, though, are well-schooled in the global industry’s inequity.
“We make hundreds of pairs of jeans every day, and we know each one is sold for hundreds of dollars. But look at us – we have such little wages to survive on. This is unfair both for workers and for buyers,” Na Ty said.
20150525 * Training aimed at tackling discrimination by gender:
Cambodia’s booming garment sector is a hotbed of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, rights advocates said yesterday, as the industry’s employers association plans to co-host training sessions aimed at curbing the long-running problem.
Beginning on Thursday, CARE Cambodia in conjunction with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), will host the upcoming two-day training, which sets out to create a greater understanding among managers of what is deemed harassment, gender-based violence and other issues.
In the Kingdom’s largest export industry, whose workforce is some 90 per cent women, female workers are often subject to job insecurity in addition to sexual harassment in the workplace, Aruna Kashyap, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Women’s Rights Division, said in an email yesterday.
“Gender inequality and gender-based discrimination manifests itself in many ways: not hiring ‘older’ women to work in factories; finding ways to cut costs by . . . putting them on short-term contracts,” Kashyap said.
“Or not creating an enabling working environment; more men in management positions . . . cases where managers use sexually charged curse words to reprimand workers.”
Pregnancy is also a large obstacle for women working at garment factories, a 2012 International Labour Organization study says.
Garment workers typically work on short-term labour contracts, enabling their supervisors to decline to renew.
A major reason for refusal to renew a contract is pregnancy, which, according to the Labour Law, guarantees the employee at least three months of leave time, the ILO report says.
Dave Welsh, country manager of labour rights group Solidarity Center, yesterday said it is important that factory managers are receiving training on gender inequality.
“Management are guilty of this; they are the ones who apply or misapply the law,” Welsh said.
20150526 * GMAC sees surge in strikes:
The number of strikes at Cambodia’s garment factories during the first three months of 2015 rose nearly 74 per cent from the same period last year, according to the nation’s garment manufacturers.
In its report covering this year’s first quarter, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) counted 40 strikes at garment factories in Cambodia between January and March.
The number shows a substantial rise from 2014, when GMAC recorded 23 strikes in that timeframe.
“Last year, the violent demonstrations just ended and everyone was on the alert,” GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said yesterday, accounting for the sharp upwards curve of strikes.
Loo and Moeun Tola, head of the labour department for the Community Legal Education Center, both pointed back to the military shootings at a protest supporting a nationwide garment industry strike turned violent on January 3, 2014, culminating in the shooting deaths of at least five protesters.
A subsequent ban on public demonstration made it difficult for any strikes to be organised.
But strikes in the Kingdom’s garment industry picked back up, largely because of poor communication between employers and workers, said Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union.
“I think this is the common problem for [everyone] related to industrial relations,” Athit said yesterday. “The employer, the union and the government still have very little involvement with [each other].”
But Tola said that from what he has seen, the strikes have all appeared to have a purpose.
“What we observe so far, is all the strike demands are related mostly to wages and the conditions inside the factory,” Tola said.
20150522 * Striking Workers Blame Rival Union Leader for Attack; 4 Arrested:
Four people were arrested Thursday over an attack on protesting workers in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district, who say a rival union leader was responsible for ordering the attack, officials and worker representatives said.
About 300 workers at the Tianyan International (Cambodia) Fashion factory have been striking since Tuesday over the dismissal of Cambodian Labor Union Federation representative Kong Samnang.
Kep Sarun, one of the striking workers, accused the president of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, Mom Siek, of hiring a mob to carry out the attack because he did not support the walk out.
“We are protesting to demand the factory reinstall Kong Samnang because the factory fired him without reason,” Mr. Sarun said. “We also want the factory to increase our bonuses.”
Mr. Sarun accused Mr. Siek of organizing 40 to 50 thugs to carry out the attack shortly after 7:30 a.m.
“The union inside the factory did not want us to protest, therefore [Mr. Siek] hired a group of gangsters to hit and interrupt us,” Mr. Sarun said.
“Some workers were strangled while others were pushed down to the ground. Therefore, we asked the district governor to arrest them,” he said, adding that nobody was seriously injured in the attack.
20150526 * Survivors of deadly crash share grief, uncertain futures:
Victims of last week’s road accident that killed 18 garment workers and their driver spoke yesterday about the moment the light-hearted atmosphere in the minivan they were travelling in was shattered, while relatives told of the financial struggle they now face.
“We were all just talking and having fun,” explained Morn Sreyvorn, a supervisor at the Kingmaker factory in the Tai Seng Bavet Special Economic Zone, where all of the passengers aboard were heading to work.
“I was sitting next to the door with my back to the driver, so I had no idea the bus was coming,” she said.
But even for many of those facing the oncoming road, there was little warning before the impact, not just because the scrum of 39 people in a vehicle built for 15 obscured their view, but because the jovial atmosphere meant few were paying attention.
“I didn’t see the bus coming because I was messing around with friends,” said Sao Ravy, a construction worker who was sat on the back row. “It was always like that in the bus, we got on really well; there were never any arguments.”
The workers had been travelling to work along National Road 1 in Svay Rieng province early on May 19, when an oncoming passenger bus attempted to overtake a sedan and decimated their minivan.
Thirteen garment workers and the minivan’s driver were killed instantly, with three more dying as they received treatment in the hours that followed.
Last week, doctors at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital confirmed another had died, while today, three remain on life support.
A dozen more continue to receive treatment at Calmette and others remain in Svay Rieng provincial hospital.
20150524 * Garment Workers Fear Deadly Commutes:
After a horrific road accident took the lives of 21 people in Svay Rieng province last week, garment workers are increasingly wary of the low-cost vans they use to get to work.
The accident, caused by a tourist bus ramming head-on into an overcrowded van, highlighted in gory colors the larger issue: how garment workers are transported to and from factories.
Bad roads and bad drivers put thousands of workers at risk every day. The accident last week has prompted some workers to shun the vans altogether due to drivers’ disregard for safety. Others are renting rooms within walking distance of their jobs.
Fell Asleep – and Survived
Son Song, a 21-year-old garment worker who sustained serious head injuries, is staying at Calmette Hospital for treatment.
She told Khmer Times that on the morning of the accident, she was car sick and fell asleep in the van next to two of her two sisters.
The next thing she knew was paramedics putting her into an ambulance.
A coworker leaned over and said, “the minivan crashed.” She looked for her sisters. She was told that both died in the crash.
“I didn’t know anything about what was going on with me,” she said. “I didn’t even know my head had been injured. When I woke up from unconsciousness, I looked for my sisters, but they were both dead.”
Need to Work
Another victim of the accident, Uk Sakhorn, held a ceremony at her home for those who died. She told Khmer Times that she lost five relatives in the crash. Now she is terrified of her commute to work.
“When I close my eyes, I see everything in my head again; It was such a shock to me,” Ms. Sakhorn said. “Every victim in my village doesn’t want to go to work anymore. They’re still in shock about the road accident last week.”
Ms. Sakhorn added that the situation put her in a tough position.
The trauma makes it very difficult for her to move on and return to work at the garment factory. But without the money from her job, she has no way to support herself.
20150523 * After Crash, Travel Allowances for Textile Workers in Spotlight:
Following one of the most deadly traffic accidents ever in Cambodia’s textile sector on Tuesday, the secretary-general of the industry’s main employers association said this week that unsafe transport was the fault of workers, who choose not to spend their income on travel.
In the wake of a crash in Svay Rieng province on Tuesday that has now claimed the lives of 18 workers and the driver of an overloaded van that crashed into a tourist bus, Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said on Thursday that factory owners were not to blame.
“We already provide a transportation allowance, but if they choose not to spend it all, there’s nothing we can do,” Mr. Loo said. “It’s not a matter of raising the allowance if they choose to spend it all, which they are not doing.”
However, Chan Sarun, 34, a garment worker from Svay Rieng, said on Friday that she piles into a truck with 50 other workers each morning because that is all she can afford to pay for with her $13 monthly travel allowance.
“I think the factory should increase the transportation allowance because we are not safe enough in these trucks,” she said. “If the factory increased it, I would pay for a safer truck, but right now I have little money and need to use some for meals.”
20150522 * Unions urge safer commutes:
A coalition of 10 labour unions this week called for the government and garment factories to provide workers with safe transportation, on the heels of a gruesome traffic accident that killed 18 people on their way to work.
In a joint statement released on Wednesday, the unions said financial circumstances force garment workers to rely on unsafe transport to and from work. The government and factories, the statement says, should take measures to offer safe and free transportation for factory employees.
“Private worker transportation systems do not provide safety, because the vehicles carry too many people,” read the statement, released after a bus ploughed through a minivan carrying 39 workers on Tuesday morning.
Vorn Pov, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, one of the 10 signatory unions, said the government and factories should work together to create a safe transportation scheme.
The National Social Security Fund will compensate workers injured in the crash and the families of those killed, said Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo said on Wednesday that workers who were injured or killed in the accident and their families should and will be compensated.
20150522 * Court Charges Bus Driver Over Deadly Garment Worker Crash:
The Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Wednesday charged the bus driver who slammed into a van full of garment workers, killing its driver and 17 passengers, with unlicensed driving and careless driving causing death.
Prosecutor Hing Bunchea said that Le Van Tung, 43, a Vietnamese national, faces two to five years in jail if convicted for his role in the deadly crash that killed 18 and left 21 others injured in Svay Teap district on Tuesday.
The 38 workers in the van, which had a 15-person capacity, were on their way to the Tai Seng Special Economic Zone in Bavet City, where they worked in a number of different garment factories.
Thousands of garment workers risk their lives every day to get to work by cramming into vans or standing in flatbed trucks, their only economically viable option.
20150521 * Tragic Accident Places Worker Commute in Spotilght:
The horrific bus accident that claimed the lives of 18 garment workers and their driver has brought issues affecting the Kingdom’s workers and their daily commute into the spotlight.
The 15-seat van traveling to the Tai Seng Special Economic Zone in Bavet City on Tuesday was packed with 38 people, and serves as a sobering illustration of the lengths many garment workers go to get to work cheaply.
From Monday to Saturday, thousands of workers pack themselves into trucks, minivans or remork motos to get to factories in Phnom Penh, Takeo, Svay Rieng and Kampong Speu.
The transport fee is approximately $10 per month for most workers, but companies pack as many people as possible into their cars and vans to maximize profits. Little thought is put into safety or driving regulations.
Pav Sina, head of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the commute for many garment workers was fundamentally dangerous. Vans used for transporting workers are almost always too full and the drivers have little understanding of road rules and regulations.
“At least a thousand vans are on National Road 1 from Svay Rieng’s town to the border of Vietnam, where the special economic zone is located,” said Mr. Sina, who lost two union members in the accident.
20150522 * Death Toll in Svay Rieng Garment Worker Crash Rises to 19:
Another garment worker involved in Tuesday’s deadly crash between a tourist bus and a van carrying 38 workers in Svay Rieng province died Thursday at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, bringing the total number of dead to 19.
Seventeen garment workers and a driver died on Tuesday after a coach bus belonging to the 15 SH Transport company tried to overtake a car and slammed head-on into the van carrying them to work.
Khim Sopha, 28, said that his wife Morm Son, 29, died Thursday while receiving treatment at Calmette for serious head injuries.
“Doctors tried to work hard to treat my wife, but she could not survive because she suffered massive head injuries,” he said.
20150526 * Wanted for Arrest, Bavet City Penal Police Chief Still on the Job:
The Svay Rieng Provincial Court has issued an arrest warrant for Bavet City penal police chief Sar Chantha in relation to the 2012 shooting of three garment workers, although authorities have yet to apprehend the officer, who has been continuing to show up for work, according to his boss.
Mr. Chantha has been convicted of illegal weapons possession in connection to the shooting during a garment worker protest that left the three women injured, though the officer has maintained that he was not present at the time of the incident.
Former Bavet City governor Chhouk Bundith was convicted in absentia of firing the shots that injured the workers and handed an 18-month jail sentence, but remains at large.
On Monday, provincial court prosecutor Hing Bunchea said Mr. Chantha was now officially wanted for arrest.
“The court has issued an arrest warrant for Sar Chantha, maybe in May, on the 10th,” he said. “There is no arrest yet.”
Asked about Mr. Bundith, the prosecutor said he still did not know the ex-governor’s whereabouts.
20150525 * Ex-cop jailed over 2012 garment strike shooting:
Svay Rieng police on Saturday arrested the former deputy police chief of Bavet town in connection with a 2012 shooting that injured three protesting garment workers.
The move did little to curtail the opinion of rights groups that the courts are protecting the actual shooter, former local governor Chhouk Bandith.
Ex-cop Sar Chantha’s arrest came after his December conviction for illegal gun possession, stemming from a February 20, 2012, scandal in which Bandith opened fire into a crowd of garment workers demonstrating at the Kaoway Sports factory, injuring three women.
The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s sentence of six months in prison and a $250 fine for Chantha, and an 18-month sentence with a fine of 38 million riel (about $9,500) for Bandith, who fled before being convicted of unintentional violence and has yet to be found by authorities.
20150522 * BetterFactories Media Updates 23-25 May 2015, After Crash, Travel Allowances for Textile Workers in Spotlight:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-05-23-24 After crash, Travel Allowances for Textile Workers in Spotlight
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-05-25 Training to tackle gender ills
* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
20150522 * BetterFactories Media Updates 20-22 May 2015, Death Toll in S Rieng Garment Worker Crash Rises to 19:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-05-20 Head On Crash Kills 17 Factory Workers, Driver
2015-05-21 Court Charges Bus Driver Over Deadly Garment Worker Crash
2015-05-22 Death Toll in S Rieng Garment Worker Crash Rises to 19
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2015-05-20 Svay Rieng crash kills 18
2015-05-21 Crash details all too familiar
2015-05-21 Driver charged, goods investigated
2015-05-21 Families mourn victims
2015-05-22 Unions urge safer commutes
* BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
04:20:05 local time MALAYSIA
20150525-26 * Minimum Wage Review To Be Finalised Soon – Riot:
The Ministry of Human Resources will submit the proposals in the minimum wage review for finalisation soon.
Its minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said the review was conducted by the Minimum Wage Consultative Council in line with Section 25 of the National Wages Consultative Council Act which determined that a review of the minimum wage order be carried out at least once every two years.
He said the ministry was also in the midst of collecting data to publish the National Wages Index, aimed at providing a guide to job seekers and employers on the starting salary rate.
02:50:05 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150521 * Gap Apparel Production Triples During First Year in Burma:
American retailer Gap Inc. has nearly tripled the output of its two Rangoon factories within its first year, a company spokeswoman told reporters on Thursday.
Gap announced in June last year that it would begin sourcing garments produced in Burma, making it the first US-based clothing manufacturer to enter the country since economic sanctions were eased in 2012.
The South Korea-owned factories produce vests, jackets and pants for Gap’s Old Navy and Banana Republic Factory labels for export to the United States, the European Union and Asia.
“We’re approaching three times as much outerwear [production]… since last year,” Gap’s director of government and public affairs, Debbie Mesloh, told reporters following a US Trade Representative Labor Initiative stakeholder forum.
“There are concrete steps [local stakeholders] need to take, and we feel like we’re playing our part,” Mesloh said, adding that Gap and other Western companies new to Burma’s garment industry have recommended that the government quickly implement a minimum wage.
“When we came in a year ago, the minimum wage law had been enacted but they still hadn’t set a figure, but we were hopeful that it would happen soon,” Mesloh said, adding that Gap is working with partners in a seven-member Business for Social Responsibility stakeholder group, which includes European retailer H&M, to set the wage as soon as possible.
02:20:05 local time BANGLADESH
20150522 * ILO for implementing Labour Act rules:
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged the government to implement the proposed rules of the Labour Act to comply with international labour standards.
Karen Curtis, Chief of the Freedom of Association Branch of ILO’s International Labour Standards Department, said the rules should be issued without further delay as it is critically important that they comply with international labour standards.
A high-level ILO delegation, led by Karen Curtis, visited Bangladesh during May 19-21 this year to discuss the rules with the government and other stakeholders, according to an ILO media release.
She said the speed with which the government revised the Bangladesh Labour Act following Rana Plaza sent a strong signal about its commitment to enhance labour rights and working conditions.
“It’s vital that the implementation rules fully reflect this and promote core labour standards.
This is an ideal opportunity for Bangladesh to get the rules right and to make a statement to the world that it remains serious about improving labour rights,” the ILO official said.
20150522 * 20% safety concerns addressed: Accord:
Terming the ongoing remedial work at the country’s apparel factories ‘slow’, the Accord said Thursday only 20% of required safety concerns have so far been addressed at its listed units.
“It is unfortunate to note that the remediation progress is very slow and only 20 per cent of the total identified safety flaws have so far been remedied,” Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of the Accord, said while addressing a press briefing at a city hotel.
The briefing was organised to mark the second anniversary of the Europe- based global apparel companies, buyers and unions initiative.
The Accord has carried out follow-up inspection at some 462 garment factories to date and issued non-compliance letters to some 35 units warning them of severing business ties for their failure to timely address the safety concerns in line with Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), Loewen said.
20150522 * RMG factory repair works go slow, says Accord:
Only 20 per cent of remediation work has been completed in the readymade garment factories that supply products for the European brands and retailers as the work is going on a slow pace due to unwillingness of factory owners as well as some technical problems.
At a press conference marking the second anniversary of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of EU buyers, on Thursday said that the initiative found a total of 54,432 problems related on structural, fire and electrical safety during its initial inspections in more than 1,500 factories.
‘In the high percentage of the factories, the remediation work is going very slow.
Of 54,432 problems, 2,579 have so far been corrected which is 20 per cent of total findings,’ said Brad Loewn, the chief safety inspector of Accord. He said that ‘the percentage of correction is unfortunate.’
Brad said that they issued warning letters to 35 factories where the remediation work was not satisfactory.
The workers’ representatives of the OHS Committee will be selected from the trade union and where there is no trade union, workers will elect their representatives through election.
‘We feel quite confident that inspection in 1,500-plus factories have been completed. Identifying the issues and developing plans to correct them in the first stage,’ Rob said.
20150522 * Addressing safety concerns at RMG factories a mammoth task: Accord:
A good amount of progress has been made but there is still a lot of ground left to be covered towards providing a safe workplace for the workers and the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh, the team of Accord said yesterday, adding that it remains focussed on ensuring that all commitments are met.
“Fixing all hazards is a massive amount of work for the RMG industry, but safety remediation work at the inspected factories is underway,” said Brad Loewen, Chief Safety Inspector of the Accord, while addressing at a press conference at a city hotel.
“There has been especially good progress on electrical remediation which is positive as most factory fires are caused by electrical hazards.
As a result, we have helped prevent fires in factories covered by the Accord,” he added.
20150521 * Accord marks second anniversary: Garment industry in Bangladesh on the way to become safe:
Two years ago in May 2013, global garment brands and retailers and 2 global unions and their national RMG affiliates signed an unprecedented agreement to make garment factories safe in Bangladesh.
With more than 200 company signatories and 1500 factories covered by the agreement, the Accord is embarked on a large scale effort to identify and resolve all major safety risks in these factories.
The Accord has acted immediately in cases where inspections found safety problems which posed imminent danger to workers’ lives. In all factories, the signatories and factories are developing and implementing Corrective Action Plans to remediate all identified safety hazards.
What is now underway is the enormous task of actually fixing the safety concerns at all inspected factories and building effective worker-management safety committees in all Accord supplier factories.
read more. & read more. & read more.
20150526 * Global workplace developer enters Bangladesh:
Regus, a global workplace developer, wants to expand its business into Bangladesh to cater to the growing demand for office spaces and other business operations in the country, the company said Monday.
The company, having its operations in 120 countries across the world, said Bangladesh has become a major destination for global business players, but getting suitable workplaces in the country remains a concern.
“We will install more readymade workplaces across major cities in the country soon,” Harsh Lambah, country manager of Regus Bangladesh, told reporters.
The country manager of the Luxembourg-based multi-national company said they have already developed two multi-storied business centres in Dhaka, housing around 50 small and medium enterprises and offices.
He said their business centres include well-equipped workplaces to run small, medium, and even large-scale business operation.
“We’re getting good responses not only from the prospective global companies, but also from the local firms,” he noted.
20150525 * Workers block Dhk-M’singh highway:
Vehicular movements on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway became normal nearly after two hours as several hundreds of workers blocked the road in Valika since morning protesting death of one co-worker.
Valuka Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Qamrul Ahsan told banglanews that additional police forces from Mymensingh removed the agitated workers from the road around 10:30am. Vehicular movement resumed then.
Earlier, Valuka Model Thana Officer-in-Charge (OC) Abdul Kader said that a worker of Lavid Garments Factory Limited was killed as a bus, carrying workers of Crown Sweater Factory Limited, ran over him in Square Masterbari area of the upazila around 8:30am.
20150524 * Apparel industry back on track:
Overseas work orders for the country’s apparel industry have started to rise, as an apparently calm political situation in the country has restored confidence of global clothing retailers.
According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) data, the number of taking Utilisation Declaration (UDs) that reflects the trend of production to be performed has increased in April compared to previous months.
RMG product manufacturers have taken 2,704 UDs, which were 2,415 in March, BGMEA data showed.
From the very beginning of January, the country’s export-oriented RMG and other sectors suffered severe trouble due to political unrest that took a heavy toll on the economy.
As a result, the global retailers lowered placing their work orders as they were afraid of timely shipment.
“The work orders for the clothing industry increased as the global buyers are feeling much more confidence due to calm political situation after a setback in January-March period, BGMEA Vice-President Reaz Bin Mahmood told the Dhaka Tribune.
20150525 * China cuts import tax on clothes, other goods:
China announced Monday it will cut import taxes on clothing, cosmetics and some other goods by half in a new tactic to spur consumer spending and economic growth.
Beijing is in the midst of a marathon effort to reduce reliance on trade and investment to drive economic growth by nurturing domestic consumption.
20150525 * Accessories makers ask for cash incentives:
Garment accessories makers yesterday demanded cash incentives on exports in the upcoming budget, saying they are contributing to almost all export-oriented sectors.
The accessories makers are not under the government’s incentive policy although the garment sector has been enjoying such benefits for a long time, said Rafez Alam Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The leaders of the association demanded the incentive at a pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his secretariat in Dhaka. However, Chowdhury did not mention how much cash incentive they want. Garment exporters now enjoy 5 percent incentive on their exports.
The accessories makers have increased their capacities and are able to meet the demand of garment exporters almost entirely, he said. Previously, the demand for such accessories was met through imports, he added.
20150526 * Govt wants to raise apparel export tax 5-fold in budget:
A file photo shows workers busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. Officials of the finance ministry said the government had planned to impose higher tax on export of apparel items for collecting more revenue from the sector. — New Age photo
The government has planned to impose higher tax on export of apparel items for collecting more revenue from the sector, officials of the finance ministry said.
They said that tax at source on export of RMG products might be increased to 1.5 per cent, five times higher, from the existing 0.30 per cent in the upcoming national budget for the fiscal year 2015-16.
Tax at source at 0.30 per cent is set to expire next month as the government lowered the tax rate in April 2014 for 14 months from the 0.80 per cent.
20150526 * Rise in tax on RMG exporters’ incomes likely in new budget:
Apparel exporters may see a large hike in the tax on their export earnings from the upcoming fiscal year.
Indications have it that the tax rate may be fixed at 1.5 per cent-a fivefold increase from the existing 0.30 per cent-in the budget for the FY 2015-16. The new national budget will be proposed in parliament on June 4 next.
Tax officials said they had lost Tk 20 billion in tax revenue in the sector since April last year, after the government cut down the tax from 0.80 per cent to 0.30 per cent.
Also, there might be no special tax rate for the apparel exporters from next year. The government is likely to maintain the normal tax rates for the sector.
20150524 * Tax regime likely for RMG sector:
Muhith concerned over poor FDI flow
A tax regime is likely to come for the country’s export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) sector in the national budget for fiscal 2015-16.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith dropped the hint while addressing a discussion titled ‘Job-creation: The Biggest Challenge in the Budget’ organised by Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday.
“I believe our garment [industry] has gained enough maturity now. It’s the least taxed and most privileged sector in Bangladesh. Yes, I know the difficulties… they’re particularly facing in Europe. Despite that, the garment sector should be more generous to the government. Now they should try to give something to the state,” he said.
20150524 * RMG now capable of offering some benefits to govt: Muhith:
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Saturday it was time for the apparel industry, which has become matured enough by now, to offer some benefits to the government.
He said: “The government has been providing different incentives and fiscal benefits to the garment sector since the beginning. The RMG sector is now matured enough.”
The RMG sector has been receiving various types of incentives from the government as it has been the largest job creating sector, he said at a pre-budget discussion meeting on ‘Job creation: The biggest challenge’ in the city.
20150526 * Certificates distributed among RMG sewing machine operators:
Narsingdi Polytechnic Institute on Sunday distributed certificates among 25 sewing machine operators who received a three-month training on ‘Readymade Garments Sewing Machine Operators’ (RMG-SMO) piloting course.
The training course was held under the ‘Competency Based Training and Assessment’ at Narsingdi Polytechnic Institute.
Department of Technical Education under the Ministry of Education with the assistance of ILO have implemented the course aimed at reducing poverty alleviation from the country by creating employment opportunities for the poor, under privileged and disabled women and for making them skilled workforce in garments industries.
Sushil Kumar Pal, Principal of Narsingdi Polytechnic Institute was in the chair. The certificate distribution ceremony was attended, among others, by Sanjay Ranjan Kar, Project Director of Assistance for Blind Children (ABC) and Mohammad Abu Taher, district correspondent of the news agency.
20150521 * Exploiting prospect of tannery industry:
When tanneries should have been fined or sealed for releasing untreated effluent into the Buriganga, the capital’s lifeline, foot-dragging over their relocation to a new site has gone on for decades.
The ministry of industries has already missed four deadlines for relocation of tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar in the past eight years; it is most likely to miss the next one of June 2015.
If the factory owners have used one after another ploy to stall the move, the authorities are no less to blame for not taking the matter seriously.
When the ministry concerned was issuing ultimatum for shifting tanneries or facing dire consequences, its own lapses was grossly exposed.
The Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), according to a report carried in this newspaper in the second week of last month, is yet to be ready.
No doubt, the High Court summoned on April 22 the industries secretary to explain why its earlier order to relocate the tanneries was defied.
20150524 * Pesticides destroy jute crops:
About 200 farmers of Hugra Union in Tangail Sadar are facing losses after anti-weed pesticide of Padma Oil Company (POC) has damaged jute in the field this year.
They say jute on about 100 acres of land has been damaged after using the pesticide.
Farmers alleged that the POC authorities, in the meantime, have held meeting with the officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Tangail and assured them of compensating for the losses.
But the farmers are yet to get any compensation. Badsha Mondol of village Kachua in Sadar Upazila said the company with a view to marketing two anti-weed chemicals ‘Acqurator’ and ‘Serpas’ held a workshop in Khamarbari of Tangail a month ago. Officers of DAE, dealers of pesticides, farmers and executives of Padma Oil Company attended the workshop.
The executives of the company elaborated details on the use of the anti-weed chemicals. Halim Sarker and Shameem Al-Alam, dealers of insecticide of Tangail Municipality, and Haji Shamsad Ali, owner of Santa Traders of Chikonkhali Bazaar, were appointed as dealers of the company.
About 200 farmers of the area bought the anti-weed chemicals from the appointed dealers of the company and used it in the jute fields.
But they were highly surprised to see that the weeds were not damaged; instead, the jute plants got totally damaged.
20150521 * Fund crunch hits 9 public jute mills:
A cash crunch has hit nine state-owned jute mills in Khulna and Jessore regions, with the workers demanding that money be allocated to purchase raw jute.
But the mills’ authorities say this is the result of unsold jute products piling up at the factories and is not particularly a financial problem.
In mills where jute has not been stored, however, productions have fallen and workers have not been paid on time.
To highlight their five-point demands, jute workers are now on strike as part of an 18-day programme announced by CBA-Non CBA Sramik-Karmachari Oikya Parishad.
The demands include a 20% dearness allowance, adequate allocation in the jute sector, and forming a wage commission board for state-owned factory workers like the pay commission.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
20150525 * Rana Plaza victims still cry for compensation:
The victims of the Rana Plaza collapse hold a human chain and staged a demonstration in front of the spot at Savar bus stand, in Dhaka on Sunday morning, demanding punishment for the accused and proper compensation for the victims, said a press release.
The victims of the Rana Plaza collapse hold a human chain and staged a demonstration in front of the spot at Savar bus stand, in Dhaka on Sunday morning, demanding punishment for the accused and proper compensation for the victims, said a press release.
The injured and families of dead of the Rana Plaza collapse staged the programme under the banner of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Solidarity.
Speakers at the programme said the building collapsed 25 months ago but the victims did not get any compensation from the government yet.
They alleged that the government was wasting time for fixing the rate of compensation. Labour right activist Dipok Roy said, ‘we demand compensation for the victims according to the proposal of the expert team, who has fixed the rate by an order of the high court.’
A committee, led by Savar Cantonment general officer commanding Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, was formed after the incident following an order of the high court and the committee submitted a report mentioning the compensation rate, Dipok said.
20150522 * Rana Plaza reports now June 28:
A Dhaka court yesterday deferred until June 28 the submission of probe reports in three cases filed over the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar.
Dhaka Judicial Magistrate Md Shahinur Rahman set the new date after Bijoy Krishna Khar, a Criminal Investigation Department officer who is investigating the three cases, failed to submit the reports yesterday.
On April 15, the court asked the CID to submit the reports by yesterday.
On April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, crumbled, leaving more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, dead and another 2,000 injured.
One of the three cases was filed by Rajuk official Helaluddin against Rana, owner of the collapsed building, for faults found in the multi-storey structure and for constructing it with second-rate materials.
Another case was filed by police with Savar police station against Rana, his father Abdul Khalek and owners of the garment factories housed in the nine-storey building for the loss of lives.
The other case was lodged by the family of a victim with a Dhaka court.
A total of 22 people, including Rana, were arrested in connection with the cases and 14 of them, including Khalek, have been released on bail.
01:50:05 local time INDIA
20150525 * New child labour norms leave many dissatisfied:
Not many anti-child labour activists are content with the Union government’s recent changes to child labour laws.
At a recent function in Bhopal, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi said the new Bill in this regard was inadequate to curb labour by those aged less than 14.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, dealt with child labour in the country.
The Act prohibited the employment of children (aged below 14) in hazardous industries.
Under the amended child labour Bill, all forms of labour by those aged less than 14 are banned, except in select ‘non-hazardous’ family enterprises.
There is apprehension the Bill will lead to widespread misuse in the name of ‘family enterprises’.
20150526 * On Modi anniv, trade unions set to announce nationwide strike against labour law changes:
Eleven trade unions, including RSS-affiliated BMS, are set to announce a nationwide general strike on Tuesday when the Narendra Modi government celebrates its first year in office.
At a joint meeting on Monday, the unions decided on September 2 as the date for a general strike against the proposed changes to labour laws, it was learnt.
The strike has been called to protest against the land bill apart from planned amendments to the labour laws even as the trade union bodies finalised a 10-point charter of demands at Monday’s meeting to put forward to the government, sources said.
While price rise, employment generation, labour law violations and contractual workers are some of the issues that the trade unions are raising, senior leaders said, “There has never been a two-pronged attack on the industrial work force as well as on agricultural workers at the same time like it is happening now.”
20150525 * CITU protest tomorrow:
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) would burn the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kalaburagi on Tuesday protesting against the “anti-labour” policies of the Union government.
CITU district secretary M.B. Sajjan, in a release here on Sunday, said that BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was following anti-labour policies from the day they came to power by weakening labour laws and depriving basic facilities to the labour section.
20150525 * CITU calls for protests on June 9 to condemn Centre’s proposed amendments to labour laws:
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) president A K Padmanabhan on Sunday urged the Karnataka government to appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict which had acquitted AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa of charges of acquiring assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.
Addressing a press meet, he said CITU would stage road blockades across Tamil Nadu on June 9, to condemn the Modi government’s proposed amendments to the labour laws.
Condemning the planned changes in the labour laws, he announced that on May 26, a national conference will be held in New Delhi and more than 1000 representatives from all trade unions will take part in it.
The central government has proposed to integrate the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926 and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, into a single law which would apparently make it difficult to form workers’ unions and empower companies with staff strength of 300 to fire employees without prior notice.
20150525 * Have to allay fears of trade unions about reforms: Labour secretary:
The government is pushing labour reforms but some measures have been opposed by trade unions. Labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal tells TOI that the country has already lost 65 years and labour laws have to be in tune with the times.
Q: What are the major labour reforms on government’s agenda?
A: We are trying to look into all labour laws to make them in sync with the times and with a view to create more employment in the country while ensuring that each and every worker is covered with safety and social security.
Somehow, many labour laws are perceived to be an impediment in creation of employment.
Our intention is that we must create a mechanism conducive for giving employment to larger numbers of people.
Q: But trade unions are against the proposed changes.
A: I don’t say that they are against it. It’s a question of perception. We have to allay their fear that the proposed reforms are not against labour. We want to bring every worker under social safety net.
Q: Trade unions have threatened to go on strike on May 26.
20150524 * Labour law changes not to compromise social security: Dattatreya:
Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya has begun consultations on amending labour laws, a long-pending demand of the industry.
In an interview to TOI, the minister, however, makes it clear that he is not going to rush ahead with the amendments and will wait for consensus to emerge. Excerpts:
Q: What are the next set of amendments that you are planning?
A: We will take up the amendments to the Factories Act, for which the standing committee report has been received.
We have held tripartite consultations and we will now move ahead based on the suggestions from the unions.
They want labour rights to be protected and I have assured them that working conditions and safety and social security will not be compromised.
At the same time, we need to increase the ease of doing business and therefore, we are seeking simplification of rules.
Q: Trade unions have opposed the amendments proposed by you and have threatened to go on strike on May 26. What are you doing about it?
A: I met them on May 15. We are working to address some of their concerns, which relate to unorganized sector, social security, minimum wages, contract labour price rise, and others.
Their main demand is minimum wage of Rs 15,000 a month but that is for state governments to decide.
I have also taken up the issue with the PM and he has set up an informal group, headed by me, with Jayant Sinha (minister of state for finance), Dharmendra Pradhan (oil), Piyush Goyal (Power) and Jitendra Singh (MoS in PMO) to hold consultations with the unions.
Q: You have proposed that you need minimum 100 applicants to form a trade union, which the unions are opposing.
20150522 * Who cares for labour, anyway?:
Not the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, which is clearly a partial and arbitrary exercise
In April this year, the Centre introduced the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, the second in the series of codes aimed at consolidating the existing central labour laws.
The code seeks to replace the three principal pieces of legislation governing industrial relations in the country, namely the Trade Unions Act, 1926 (the TU Act), the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (the ID Act).
We argue that the code has been drafted keeping in mind only employer demands for greater labour market flexibility and labour discipline, ignoring the longstanding demands of trade unions, and that on account of such a blinkered approach, the code not only fails to strengthen labour rights but also weakens them.
The ID Act requires industrial establishments employing 100 or more workers to obtain the Centre’s permission before effecting any layoff, retrenchment and closure.
The code enhances the threshold number to 300 without any rationale.
The revision has the effect of reducing the accountability of employers and exposing a much larger number of workers to arbitrary closures and en masse termination.
The right to strike
The ID Act permits workers in public utility services (PUS) to resort to strike only after they give at least two weeks advance notice.
Conciliation proceedings are immediately triggered upon issue of such notice and workers are required to abstain from going on strike during the pendency of the proceedings and seven days thereafter.
Freedom of association
The TU Act permits outsiders to be office-bearers of trade unions. On the other hand, the code mandates that all the office-bearers of a registered trade union be persons actually engaged or employed in the establishment/industry with which the trade union is concerned.
Such a restriction flies in the face of the standards contained in the ILO Convention of Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (C.87) as it interferes with and limits the ability of workers to choose the persons they think best to be their leaders.
Further, the code prohibits a person holding office in more than 10 unions.
This again is contrary to the principles of freedom of association.
20150525 * Minister Urged to Solve Textile Industry Woes:
The entrepreneurs of the Tamil Nadu textile industries have requested Minister of State, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, to help solve the burning issues in the textile sector here, on Sunday.
The members also presented a memorandum to Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and Muralidhar Rao, National General Secretary of the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP), at a meeting held in the city on Sunday.
The members demanded the Union Government to provide relaxation of cabotage laws, access to man-made fibres at international prices, and also install mega solar power projects at the spinning mills.
Regarding man-made fibre, they demanded that the Union rationalises the duty structure of polyester and viscose fibre to enable Indian textile industry access man-made fibre at international prices, so that the industry could tap the vast opportunities in the global MMF apparel market.
20150522 * More women join textile industry in Gujarat:
Textile industry is second only to agriculture in providing employment in India. In the past five years, the number of women employees has increased by 15% in textile industry nationally and double the rate in Gujarat.
The industry experts believe that better work environment, consistent income and other incentives by employers are attracting women into textile industry, especially in garment and fabric sections.
According to Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), around 3.5 crore people are working in textile industry in India, of which nearly 2 crore are women. “In the last five years, the industry has seen growth of over 15% in women employment. In Tamil Nadu, there are few companies which employ only women,” said D K Nair, secretary, CITI.
According to rough estimates, close to 90 lakh people are working in textile industry in Gujarat, including 45 lakh to 50 lakh women.
“Around 80% of the women are employed in garment sector followed by fabric and other sectors in the industry.
According to a recent study, some 10,000 women are involved in stitching garments in and around Ahmedabad itself,” said Dr Chandan Chatterjee, director, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Gujarat.
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20150526 * Free skill training for women in June:
A free-of-cost short term training programme for women in June will equip them with skills in diverse trades, ranging from beautician, doll making and jewellery-making to detergent making, textile printing and vegetable and food processing.
The office of the Labour Officer (Welfare Schemes) is organising these special skill development training programmes for women in urban and rural areas at eight Labour and Child Welfare Centres in Gandhi Nagar, Mudaliarpet, Ariyankuppam, Villianur, Koodapakkam, Madagadipet, LR Palayam and Sedarapet.
20150526 * Training programme on social security laws:
To create awareness about social security Acts, a one-day training programme will be conducted at Sona College of Technology between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on June 6.
A release from the organisers, Salem Productivity Council, said that a person may not escape from the liability for violating a law merely because he or she was unaware of its content.
Hence, updating labour related laws and social security Acts such as Employee Provident Fund (EPF), Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS), Employee State Insurance (ESI) and gratuity was necessary.
20150522 * 15 women workers treated for diarrhoea:
As many as 15 women workers of textile unit near here suffered from diarrhoea on Thursday and were admitted to taluk government hospital at Palladam.
All of them were discharged in the evening.
The women, staying at the hostel run by the management of the textile unit, complained that the dinner provided to them on Wednesday caused them diarrhoea.
When contacted, Deputy Director of Health N. Ragupathy told The Hindu that the dinner was actually consumed by 150 workers of the same unit and of them only 15 vomited.
Hence, a preliminary inquiry was conducted and it was found that the 15 women had consumed dried fish procured from outside, he said.
20150525 * ‘Political unity needed to impress on Centre’:
Political parties in Tamil Nadu should come together to take up with the Centre issues that were of interest to the State, said Union Minister of State Pon. Radhakrishnan here on Sunday.
He was here to attend the ‘Strategies for Making Indian Textile Industry Globally Competitive’ meeting organised by the Texpreneurs Forum, South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association, Karur Exporters Association, Erode Textile and Garments Exporters Association, PDEXCIL, Sripuram Trust, NIFT-TEA and Tamil Nadu Autoloom Cloth Merchants’ Association.
Several States made use of the Centre’s quick decision-taking ability to speed up works. And, the political parties had joined hands in those States and their Members of Parliament were espousing their States’ cause in Parliament. “But there is disunity among political parties in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
20150522 * Textile parks will be opened in 8 dists: CM:
Inaugurating the textile part the Nandgaonpeth MIDC near here on Thursday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced to open integrated textile parks in eight cotton-rich districts of the state and encourage local private industrialists with financial assistance.
Maharashta minister for industry Subhash Desai presided over while guardian minister Pravin Pote, state minister Ranjit Patil, MP Anand Adsul, MLAs of the district and host of officers of the industry and textile departments were present.
“It is the policy of the government to open textile units in regions rich in cotton production and a beginning has been made from Amravati,” said Fadnavis and lauded the Industry department for creating basic facilities for the park in the best possible manner at Nandgaonpeth MIDC.”
This model will prove to be the best in the country, worth emulating for other states,” he said.
20150521 * China to set up textile park in Gujarat:
China Small and Medium Enterprise Investment has signed a deal to set up a textile park near the industrial town of Sanand
The Gujarat government on Thursday said that a Chinese investment firm has signed a deal to set up a textile park near the industrial town of Sanand, which is around 25 Km from here.
The MoU was signed between Gujarat government’s Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) and China Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Ltd (CSMEI), Arvind Agrawal, Additional Chief Secretary, Gujarat Industries and Mines department said at a press conference.
Agrawal, who was a part of the delegation of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to China said that CSMEI is also interested to set up an Industrial Park in the state.
20150521 * Textile- future of north eastern states:
The textiles ministry recently announced a Rs.427-crore scheme to promote geo-technical textiles in northeast India which would be helpful in stabilizing roads, addressing the problem of landslides and preserving water bodies.
Geo-technical textiles provide the functional advantages of higher endurance and durability in roads, embankments and infrastructure projects.
Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, while appreciating the geo-technical textiles scheme, said his government is keen to implement the scheme in the state.
He said that they are now studying the geo-technical textiles scheme.
They can use the new technique in making roads and other purposes.
His government is also ready to implement the other schemes of the textiles ministry.
Union textiles minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said after laying foundation stone of a ready-made textiles manufacturing unit in Agartala that the central government has also decided to set up Textiles Park in all the eight northeastern states and would provide funds generously for the purpose.
20150525 * Textile exports fall short of target in FY15:
Textile exports in 2014-15 registered a three per cent growth at $41.7 billion, against the targeted $45 billion.
There was a significant uptick in the overseas sales of handicrafts (17 per cent), carpets (15 per cent), ready made garments (12 per cent), silk (13 per cent), and wool and woollen textiles (18 per cent), said an official statement.
The Textile Ministry has approached the Commerce Ministry to include garments in the interest subvention scheme to help it compete with Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“The question is how do remain competitive. The main requests to the Commerce Ministry are the reinstatement of the interest subvention scheme and to give benefits to countries other than Europe and the US,” said Sanjay Kumar Panda, Secretary, Textiles Ministry.
20150526 * Ex-workers say mill owner swindled benefit money:
Former employees of a defunct cotton mill here alleged that their employers swindled the money deducted on various heads nearly a decade ago and sought the intervention of the district collector.
Around 70 ex-employees of a private cotton mill in Ramji Nagar in Trichy met district collector K S Palanisamy on Monday, following news that the mill owner was attempting to sell of the machineries in the mill without settling their dues. They were led by district president of Tamil Nadu Marxist Party S Jayakumar.
Jayakumar said about 850 labourers including women worked in the mill for more than three decades.
The mill, which was running on profit, was suddenly closed in 2007.
To add to the shock, the workers were told by the administration that they could not avail benefits like employees provident fund (EPF) and employees’ state insurance (ESI) entitled to them.
20150525 * Muktsar mechanizes cotton sowing to beat labour woes:
To overcome the growing shortage of human labour for sowing and picking cotton, an effort is being made in Muktsar district to go for complete mechanization of the process.
The district agriculture officials have tied up with three multinational companies (MNCs) for sowing the fibre crop using machines in Muktsar, which is part of Punjab’s cotton belt.
To start with, the agriculture officials have selected 10 villages of Lambi, Gidderbaha and Malout blocks of the district where sowing of cotton over 1,000 acres is being done using a pneumatic planter.
Companies Monsanto, John Deere and Bayer are providing the machines for sowing and later picking cotton, besides the technical knowhow for operating these.
Agriculture officials claim that farmers would get more yield from cotton sown using pneumatic planter and would overcome the big problem of labour as the machines would also pick the bolls (flowers) on maturity.
Earlier, only sowing of cotton was being done using machines, but pneumatic planter will allow mechanical picking of the crop for the first time.
20150525 * Textile assns demand scrapping of law on cotton transport:
Eight textile industry associations on Sunday urged the minister of state for road transport, national highways and shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan to relax the Canotage law to help cut costs in transporting cotton from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu.
According to the law, an Indian vessel will be given first preference for the transport of goods from one port to another within the country. Only if an Indian vessel was unavailable, will a foreign vessel be allowed to transport the goods after receiving license from India’s maritime regulator.
Doing away with the law would help save hundreds of crores of rupees, according to the associations.
Pon Radhakrishnan was invited by the associations in and around Coimbatore for a discussion on strategies to make Indian textile industries globally competitive. During the discussion on Sunday, one of the presentations focused on the need to relax the Cabotage Law.
20150522 * Cotton exports slow down on big drop in demand from China:
Even as the Cotton Council International (CCI) – that works in conjunction with the National Cotton Council to promote US cotton exports – is set to launch its 25-year old flagship brand Cotton USA in India, cotton exports from India are expected to slump 29 per cent to 7 million bales in the current crop year that ends in September.
One bale contains 170 kg of cotton. Market sources indicated that exports have slowed down due to higher world stockpiles, and a sharp decline in demand from China.
20150521 * Cotton Council International set to launch brand Cotton USA in India:
Cotton Council International (CCI) in conjunction with the National Cotton Council works to promote U.S. cotton fiber and manufactured cotton products through COTTON USA in more than 50 countries globally. CCI is now all set to launch its 25-year old flagship brand, COTTON USA in India.
According to David B. Collins, Cotton Council International Senior Advisor, Indian textile industry is primarily cotton focused, with cotton accounting for nearly 54% of total fibre consumption in 2014.
However, the industry faces intrinsic challenges like cotton price fluctuation, inconsistent quality of indigenous cotton and over-dependence on monsoons.
In order to meet the demand, there is a requirement of high quality cotton in the country.
They see a huge potential in this market and hence bring the best quality cotton to the Indian consumers.
Although, Indian textile and apparel market is now more than US$100 billion and growing at a healthy rate, and it has potential to double its export share from present 5% to 10% in next 10 year.
20150522 * 100% Cotton. Made in India:
An estimated 290,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide in 20 years. Small farms were once the country’s economic backbone but now, owners struggle to make even a meagre profit and drown in debt.
For some, the pressure is too much. Many blame GMO cotton for the failing farms, having cornered the market and replaced organic crops; they have failed to live up to expectations.
see video report.
01:20:05 local time PAKISTAN
20150525 * Increased budgetary allocation for social sector demanded:
Economists, senior lawyers, researchers, labour rights activists and parliamentarians have called for increased allocations to social sector schemes in the forthcoming budget.
They also emphasised the need for increased coverage of the poor population in the social safety schemes by both federal and provincial governments.
All this was highlighted at the discussion session on “Fiscal Allocation for Social Protection: Now is the Time” organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) here on Saturday.
20150524 * PILER discussion urges increased social security coverage of poor:
Dr Ikramul Haq says 80 percent burden of taxes in country is borne by common people* PPP Senator Saeeed Ghani underlines the need of community’s oversight on utilisation of budget
Economists, senior lawyers, researchers, labour rights activists and parliamentarians on Saturday emphasised the need for increased coverage of the poor population in the social security schemes by both federal and provincial governments and demanded increase in allocations of social protection schemes in the forthcoming annual budget.
They were speaking at a discussion session on “Fiscal Allocation for Social Protection: Now is the Time” organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at a local hotel.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ikramul Haq, a tax expert, said in Pakistan 80 percent burden of the taxes is borne by the common people.
The burden $17 billion debt is also put on the shoulders of the common people. He said there is a nexus among military, bureaucracy and politicians who do not pay much tax but enjoy all the government perks.
20150526 * APTMA says no to more taxes:
APTMA head says govt should restore original zero rating regime
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman SM Tanveer on Monday urged the government to utilise the growth potential of textile industry for employment creation and not revenue generation.
“It should avoid burdening the textile industry with further taxation to achieve this target,” he stressed.
Putting forward budget proposals, he said that the foremost is to operationalise the closed capacity by providing guaranteed uninterrupted energy supply to the export oriented Textile Industry at competitive rates.
Fiscal incentives, including zero rating tax holiday, interest support for new investments in all textile sectors should be ensured without excluding the spinning sector, which has lagged behind competitors due to the present inefficient technology, he added.
The textile industry should be zero rated in terms of all the federal, provincial, local, cess, levies and duties by factoring in the drawback of local taxes and levies by extending 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent duty draw backs against the export of yarn, fabrics and made-up/clothing respectively.
20150526 * APTPMA decides to go on strike from today:
All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) Faisalabad (region) has decided to go on indefinite strike from Tuesday if their demands were not accepted.
Addressing an emergent press conference, Khlaid Habib Sheikh Chairman APTPMA Faisalabad region said that textile processors have been pushed to wall forcing them to start protestation against merciless use of the section 38-A and 40-B of the sales tax Act by Regional Tax Office (RTO).
He said that processing mills owners are patriotic Pakistanis.
They have always fulfilled their tax obligations despite of the prevailing energy crisis.
He narrated the current tug of war between APTPMA and RTO, and said that they always have been tax oriented and cooperated with the tax officials and enhanced taxes framed amicably on the demand of the RTO.
He clarified that apart from their own tax liabilities, they are also paying 1 percent further tax on sales to unregistered persons.
20150525 * Rise in value-added textile exports:
The export of textile goods grew by a marginal 2pc to $1.08bn in April, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
However, the value-added textile segment managed to grow by an impressive 11pc on a year-on-year (YoY) basis to $607mn. This is mainly attributable to a 4pc yearly depreciation of the rupee and the country’s enhanced market access to the European Union region.
The value-added sector benefitted from higher exports of knitwear, bedwear and garments. During the month, garment exports rose 15pc to $174m due to a 16pc increase in realised prices, despite a 1pc reduction in volumes. Similarly, knitwear exports went up 9pc to $190.7m as prices rose by 22.6pc.
20150526 * PYMA hails interest rate cut:
Reduction in interest rate by State Bank of Pakistan is a positive and business-friendly measure which would help industrial productivity, business turnover and exports of the country.
This was stated by Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association’s (PYMA) Central Chairman Khalil Qaisar Shamas Guccha and Zonal Chairman Muhammad Akram Pasha while talking to newsmen here on Monday.
Bringing down the interest rate by 100 basis points from 8 to 7 percent was a well timed step in right direction which will strengthen the national economy and business volume in the country, they said.
20150524-25 * APTMA welcomes cut in policy rate:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman S M Tanveer has welcomed a reduction in policy rate by 100 basis points by the State Bank of Pakistan here on Saturday.
“It will provide relief to the industry, especially the textile industry which is already facing a high cost of doing business in the region,” he added.
He also said textile exports were also falling because of the currency crisis in the European Union and that this is a high time for the government that announced the Export Finance Scheme (TFS) and the Long-Term Finance Facility (LTFF) for the textile industry to encourage fresh investment in the sector.
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20150523 * PTEA seeks incentives to boost exports:
Textile exporters have urged upon the government to announce special incentives for the sector in the next budget to boost the country’s exports. Sohail Pasha, Chairman, and Rizwan Riaz Saigal, Vice-Chairman, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), said on Friday that after enduring a difficult year, the textile exporters pinned high hopes on the next fiscal year.
“2014 remained a very difficult year for textile sector, as the industry faced severe energy crises, scarcity of funds, rising cost of production and deteriorating economic conditions,” they added.
They said that most ticklish issue was the rising cost of production, as prices of raw materials and inputs skyrocketed, making our products uncompetitive in the world market.
20150524 * IESCO urges industries to use energy efficient equipment:
Industry should focus on energy conservation by promoting the use of energy efficient equipment and machinery that will help in saving sufficient energy and making more power available for manufacturing units to enhance productivity.
This was said by Malik Yousaf Awan, chief executive officer, Islamabad Electric Supply Company while addressing a seminar on energy conservation at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said electricity demand in Pakistan was rising by 8 to 10 percent annually while power generation remained almost stagnant for the last many years creating a big gap in demand and supply.
20150526 * Free trade: Exports to China grow 320% in first phase:
Pakistan and China have successfully implemented the first phase of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and during this period exports to China recorded a growth of 320%.
Similarly, imports grew 120%, sources at the Commerce Division said on Monday.
In order to better utilise concessions and address concerns of the domestic industry, the Ministry of Commerce has started negotiations on the second phase of the FTA with China.
20150525 * Economic corridor will be a game changer, says Shahbaz Sharif:
The Pak-China economic corridor is a game-changer for Pakistan, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Sunday.
He was talking to a Chinese delegation, led by Peoples Institute for Foreign Affairs of China Executive President Lu Shumin.
“Pakistan and the whole region will benefit from the Pakistan-China corridor project,” he said.
20150524 * CM lauds Pak-China friendship:
A delegation led by Executive President of Peoples Institute for Foreign Affairs of China Lu Shumin called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday.
Promotion of trade, economic, cultural and political relations between Pakistan and China was discussed during the meeting.
The meeting agreed to further strengthen cooperation in trade and economic sectors and continue joint steps for coping with terrorism.
Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Executive President CPIFA agreed that terrorists were our common enemy and collective steps would be taken for complete elimination of terrorism in future as well.
20150525 * Workers’ welfare: Plan for 60 daycare centres approved:
The Women Development Department has approved construction of 60 daycare centres across the province, Women Development Minister Hameeda Waheeduddin said on Sunday.
She said funds for 33 centres had been provided to the departments concerned under the Punjab Women Empowerment Package 2012.
She said the government had initially allocated Rs200 million for establishing daycare centres at departments affiliated with governmental institutions.
Four such centres have been set up in Lahore at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, the Lahore College for Women University, the Children’s Hospital Lahore and the Pakistan Knitwear Training Institute.
* Chinese dominance worries Nigeria’s textile traders:
Nafiu Badaru, a junior civil servant in northern Nigeria’s biggest city Kano, doesn’t make much money and it takes some cash to look good so he tends to buy made-in-China fabric.
“A piece of high-quality brocade (cloth) costs around 10,000 naira ($50, 47 euros), which is way too expensive for me,” he told AFP.
“With the same amount of money I can buy six pieces of cheap Chinese brocade which cost only 1,500 naira a piece and still keep some change.”
The proliferation of Chinese-made textiles is a boon for consumers like Nafiu, with Kano and the wider north struggling with unemployment and economic constraints.
But traders in the city — a center of weaving and textile manufacturing dating back centuries — say such cheaper imports have been disastrous.
Factories have shut and trade in home-spun fabrics has dwindled, prompting calls for foreign investment within Nigeria rather than cheap, mass importation, as well as better regulation.
Fatuhu Gambo’s business is one of many in dire straits. For the past two weeks he has not sold a single fabric in his shop in the Kantin Kwari textile market — the largest in West Africa.
“The Chinese have effectively edged us out of business, leaving us with nothing but huge debts and heaps of goods in our shops,” he said.
Talk in the market — a colourful rabbit’s warren of shops and stalls that draws traders from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon to Mali and the Central African Republic — is of unfair competition.
“The Chinese have taken over the importation and distribution of textiles in Kano and now they are into retail trading, which is putting our traders out of business,” said traders’ union head Liti Kulkul.
The troubles began a decade ago when Chinese textile merchants started the massive importation of textiles to Nigeria after Africa’s most populous nation opened its doors to foreign trade.