17:26:34 local time PHILIPPINES
20150612 * Kentex liability initially placed at P2.5M:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to order Kentex Manufacturing Corp. to pay an initial amount of P2.5 million to its 76 workers displaced by the tragic factory fire in Valenzuela City last May 13.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz yesterday said DOLE-National Capital Region Regional Director Alex Avila is set to issue a compliance order to Kentex.
“Our computation shows the company owes the 76 workers P2,456,108.21 in unpaid monetary benefits,” said Baldoz, but added their computation is based only on affidavits the workers have submitted.
This development comes days after the Justice for Kentex Workers Alliance filed criminal and administrative charges against Baldoz, Avila and other government officials at the Office of the Ombudsman over the death of 72 workers.
20150610 * New fire inspection policy won’t make workplaces safer – KMU:
One week after Pres. Noynoy Aquino announced his government’s new policy of cancelling permits to businesses which do not pass the fire bureau’s inspection, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a protest along Taft Avenue in Manila this afternoon, claiming the policy won’t make workplaces safer.
The labor group said Aquino made the policy of not granting business permits to employers who are refused a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in order to shield national government agencies from accountability for the death of many workers in the Kentex factory fire.
“The ‘No FSIC, no permit’ policy won’t bring about safer workplaces for the country’s workers.
By trying to conceal national government agencies’ accountability for the Kentex factory fire, it would in fact perpetrate unsafe and deadly working conditions,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.
20150610 * Roxas: Kentex workers barking up wrong tree:
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II yesterday said the Kentex Workers Alliance may be barking up the wrong tree by filing charges against him before the Ombudsman, adding he believes Kentex management and the local city government are responsible for the death of 72 people in a tragic fire last May 13.
Without naming names, Roxas said the city government of Valenzuela headed by Mayor Rex Gatchalian has a bigger responsibility in the tragedy by allowing businesses to operate in its area of jurisdiction even without necessary permits.
“Sa aking pananaw, ang may pananagutan ay ang Kentex at ‘yung nagpahintulot na mag-operate ang Kentex kahit may mga nakitang violations sa fire code ang BFP. In fact, sinita ng BFP ang Kentex at alam nila na may mga violations sila kaya hindi nakakuha ng fire safety inspection certificate,” Roxas said.
Last Monday, the Kentex Workers Alliance, through its lawyer Remegio Saladero, filed charges against Roxas, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, DOLE-NCR Director Alex Avila, DOLE NCR labor compliance officer Engineer Joseph Vedasto, BFP chief Ariel Barayuga, BFP NCR director Senior Supt. Sergio Soriano Jr., Valenzuela City fire marshal Mel Jose Lagan, and chief of the Fire Safety Enforcement Section chief Ed Groover Oculam.
20150609 * Roxas: Kentex owners should be held accountable for deadly fire:
For Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the owners of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. factory in Valenzuela City and those who let them operate despite their violations of fire safety regulations should be held accountable for the massive fire that killed 72 people.
“Sa aking pananaw, ang may pananagutan ay ang Kentex at ‘yung nagpahintulot na mag-operate ang Kentex kahit may mga nakitang violations sa fire code ang Bureau of Fire Protection,” Roxas said in a statement sent to media.
“In fact, sinita ng BFP ang Kentex at alam nila na may mga violations sila kaya hindi sila nakakuha ng fire safety inspection certificate,” he added.
Roxas said this when he was asked to give a reaction on the cases lodged against him for his alleged role in the deadly fire.
But the Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary stressed, although he has not seen the report, that it is the prerogative of survivors and families of fire victims to file charges.
20150609 * 2 more DOLE officials face probe on Kentex:
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now probing two more labor officials, who were involved in the issuance of a certificate of compliance to Kentex Manufacturing Corp.
In a statement, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said they have expanded their internal investigation to include other labor personnel from DOLE-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) who authorized the certification of Kentex.
“I would like to inform the public that we have our own administrative process in dealing with our officials and we have asked those who are concerned to submit a written explanation to the DOLE Administrative Complaints Committee (DACC),” Baldoz said.
20150609 * Baldoz ready to face case over Kentex fire:
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she is ready to face the case filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman by families of victims and survivors of the May 13 Kentex fire in Valenzuela City.
In a statement released Tuesday, Baldoz said although she has yet to receive an official copy of the complaint, she welcomes the opportunity to submit her answer.
“I respect the right of the workers to file a complaint for any official act or omission which they deemed I had committed,” she added.
Families of victims and survivors of the May 13 Kentex fire in Valenzuela City are seeking administrative and criminal charges against eight government officials, including Baldoz and Interior Sec. Mar Roxas.
In a letter complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman Monday, victims and their kin said they “seek the formal investigation and the filing of appropriate charges,” including negligence resulting in homicide and physical injuries, and neglect in the performance of functions against several government officials.
20150611 * 108 Valenzuela firms found violating fire and safety codes:
One hundred eight establishments in Valenzuela City were found to have violated occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) as the government starts its assessment of the estimated 300,000 factories in Metro Manila.
The inspections were carried out by the local government of Valenzuela City and the Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region which have initiated moves to weed out companies with Fire Code and occupational safety and health (OSH) standard violations.
Under government regulations, the owners and administrators of erring companies will be given time to correct their deficiencies or face possible sanctions.
During the course of its assessment, the Valenzuela City Inspection Team has already shut-down the operation of First Millennium Enterprises (FME) for its violations of the Fire Code.
20150611 * Union leaders, child rights advocates file harassment case vs state forces:
The harassment indicates the “worsening trends of political repression against union organizers and political activists, and attempts to disrupt the organizations’ activities and terrorize people involved in development and human rights work.”
Union leaders, government workers and children’s rights advocates filed complaints before the Commission on Human Rights on the harassment and surveillance they experienced from suspected members of the military and the police.
They filed the complaint before the CHR on Monday, June 8.
Courage national president Ferdinand Gaite said the harassment indicates the “worsening trends of political repression against union organizers and political activists, and attempts to disrupt the organizations’ activities and terrorize people involved in development and human rights work.”
16:26:34 local time VIET NAM
20150611 * 33 workers hospitalised with suspected gas poisoning symptoms:
Thirty-three workers of a South Korean company in Ho Chi Minh City were hospitalised yesterday, after they showed symptoms of gas poisoning during lunchtime.
The workers of Likelion Company in District 9 were rushed in ambulances to Quan 9 (District 9) Hospital and Quan dan mien Dong (Eastern Region Army-People) Hospital with the symptoms of difficulty in breathing, nausea and headache.
After being put on a drip and given oxygen to improve their breathing, almost all of the workers were discharged from hospital.
20150610 * Vietnam strengthens ties with ILO:
Vietnam will do its utmost to fulfil all obligations and responsibilities as a member of the International Labour Organisation ( ILO) to promote effective cooperation ties between the two sides.
Deputy Minister of the Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa told Vietnam News Agency correspondents that t he Government of Vietnam has continuously treasured the cooperation and technical assistance the International Labour Organisation has provided to Vietnam, disclosed on the sidelines of the plenary meeting of the 104th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland on June 9 .
The Deputy Minister, who is also head of the Vietnamese delegation to the conference, highly valued the century initiatives of ILO Director General Guy Ryder and expressed his support for the practical targets to mark the 100 th founding anniversary of the organisation.
He also underscored efforts made by the Government of Vietnam in poverty and hunger reduction and ensuring social security, gender equality, women empowerment and vocational training for rural workers.
read more. & read more.
20150610 * EU, Vietnam gear up for completion of FTA negotiations:
Vietnam and the European Union (EU) will conduct the next round of negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (EV-FTA) in Brussels, Belgium this week.
- FTA opportunities, challenges are equal: official
- Vietnam, EU push for FTA signing
- EU-Vietnam FTA’s positive impacts on bilateral relations
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said negotiations will focus on remaining issues, such as intellectual property, government purchase and the implementation roadmap for Vietnam’s commitments.
Negotiators are determined to complete EV-FTA negotiations within this year.
20150610 * India, Vietnam eye leather business co-operation:
An Indian delegation comprising executives from six major leather companies that supply the footwear, furniture and automotive industries met around 20 Vietnamese counterparts in HCM City on June 9 to explore business opportunities.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, D Gokulakrishnan, officer on special duty for the Council for Leather Exports of India, said Vietnam was one of the world’s largest footwear exporters while India was also one of the world leading exporters of leather, leather products and footwear.
“Vietnam and India can co-operate in many areas: for instance, Vietnamese companies can come to India to procure leather, leather upholstery, finished leather for shoes, and footwear components.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
20150609 * PM: Vietnam strictly implements trade agreements:
Vietnam pledged to implement signed trade agreements and conclude 14 free trade pacts with 55 foreign partners, including 15 members of the G-20, towards creating a basic foundation for the Southeast Asian country to integrate deeper into the international community and widen future cooperation opportunities.
Speaking at the mid-term Vietnam Business Forum in Hanoi on June 9, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam is determined to reach and exceed the major targets on tax, customs and business start-up procedures in order to catch up with nations in the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei) by the end of this year and be on a par with countries in the ASEAN-4 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand) in 2016.
The Government leader also underlined the resolve to make three strategic breakthroughs in reforming the market economy towards transparency and fair competition; mobilising financial resources to build infrastructure; and more effectively directing human resources training to increase labour productivity.
He recognised the economic achievements gained in the first five months of this year yet noted that the outcomes are not sustainable or on par with the country’s advantages, and vowed to take more drastic measures to address weaknesses and shortcomings.
20150609 * Business forum discusses ways to improve competitiveness:
The mid-term Vietnam Business Forum 2015 will focus on solutions and measures to grow private enterprises and make them be more competitive and be big enough to join the global supply chain.
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Virginia B. Foote, Chairwoman of the United States-Vietnam Commerce Council, told reporters at the press conference held in Hanoi on June 8.
They mentioned a number of issues concerning the agenda of the forum on improving the competitive capacity of enterprises to integrate internationally.
20150612 * Child labour masked as vocational training thrives:
Camouflaging as recruiters looking for potential vocational students, many factory owners in HCM City lure children from remote areas in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak into child labour.
A vocational training contract signed between Nguyen Van Tien, a manufacturer in HCM City’s Binh Chanh District, and an ethnic minor Y Kieu K’Buor from the mountainous commune of Ea Phe, clearly stated that the young boy will have to work for at least 13 hours a day at Tien’s factory.
His working time was divided into three shifts: from 7 in the morning to mid-noon, continuing for another five hours in a row resuming at 2 in the afternoon. The last shift started at 8 o’clock after dinner and continued till 11 at night.
The boy was spared a night off only on Sundays.
Despite working day and night, the total salary that Y Kieu K’Buor received for the whole year was as low as VND 12 million (US$558), or approximately VND33,000 ($1.5) for a full working day.
“I worked from morning till midnight for three months and I only received VND500,000 ($23) when I left,” Y Thoang Buon Ya, who still has a baby face, told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
Besides harsh and illegal working conditions, such ‘vocational training contracts’ also denied wages for child labourers who decided to run away.
Another young boy Y Phin Kbuor’s contract with an HCM City manufacturer Le Xuan Ly said that if Y Phin left without the owner’s consent, he will not receive a single coin and his family will have to compensate for Ly’s transportation expenses that the company paid for his first trip to Dak Lak earlier.
16:26:34 local time CAMBODIA
20150611 * Unions eye wage discussion:
Negotiations for next year’s minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector are already gearing up, as union leaders prepare to meet this month to discuss what wage they will demand.
During the week of June 21, union heads will hold a preliminary consensus-building meeting, said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.
They will use this time to decide the minimum wage they should shoot for in the coming months of negotiations with the Ministry of Labour and employers.
“We have a plan already; we invited other union leaders for a discussion,” Thorn said yesterday. “[Later], we want the government . . . and employers to get together and make sure the wage will be researched and [then] have the amount.”
Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour yesterday said there is a set timeline and process for negotiations.
First, the unions, government and employers will meet internally through July. Then, in August, the government will hold separate bilateral negotiations with unions and employers.
Finally, tripartite talks will be staged in September in order to reach a final decision by October.
20150611 * After Talks, Workers Return to Jobs at M&V Garment Factory:
A weekslong strike by more than 2,000 workers from a Phnom Penh factory that supplies global fashion brand H&M ended Wednesday after unions scaled down their original demands and backed down over a condition that workers receive their full salaries for the strike period, representatives said.
On Monday, Meanchey district security guards blocked about 500 employees from M&V International Manufacturing factory from marching to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house as they continued to call for 17 improvements to working conditions, including a rise in monthly transport allowances from $10 to $15 and a $1 per day lunch supplement for all workers.
But after a day of negotiations Tuesday, representatives from 10 different unions settled for damage limitation, accepting half-salaries for the strike period, which began May 19.
Khoen Namhor, vice president of the Cambodia Federation Voices of Workers union, said that attendance bonuses would be unaffected, while the company had agreed to raise overtime supplements by 500 riel to 3,000 riel (about $0.75).
20150611 * Garment Workers End Strike:
More than 2,000 striking workers from M&V International Manufacturing, a Phnom Penh factory that supplies apparel to global fashion brand H&M, returned to work on Wednesday after agreeing to terms with their employer.
The strike began on May 19 when workers walked off the job demanding better working conditions, an increase in monthly transport allowances, and overtime and daily lunch supplements.
Union representatives said the workers agreed to end their strike after the company pledged to raise their overtime supplements by 500 riels to 3,000 riels ($0.75) and provide half-salaries to the workers for the duration of the strike.
20150611 * ILO Offers to Work on Trade Union Law:
The International Labor Organization is ready to provide additional support in drafting the controversial trade union law, according to a statement from its Bangkok office that also indicated that the draft falls short of international standards.
Ensuring the legislation complied with international conventions ratified by Cambodia will require “continued and dedicated effort”, the statement said.
ILO officials, however, declined to comment further. Maurizio Bussi, Director of its Decent Work Technical Support Teams for East and Southeast Asia, said he could not answer questions because the legislation is still being drafted.
Unions and rights groups, however, have said the drafting process – which began in 2008 – is leading to shoddier results and that summaries of the current draft indicate it is “worse than ever.”
“It violates international labor standards, can set back labor relations and won’t help the Cambodian economy,” said William Conklin, country director of the US-based Solidarity Center.
20150611 * Alarm grows over trade union law in Cambodia:
The Cambodian government is in the process of drafting a new labour law but has not consulted any social partners since October last year.
Union busting and violence against workers have increased and the new law threatens to curtail the rights of some of the ILO conventions the country has ratified.
The last 18 months have seen workers in Cambodia taking to the streets to voice demands for an increased minimum wage and better working conditions.
Too often these actions have been met with violence from authorities.
Following this violence, global garment brands and trade unions have urged the government to revive a trade union law initially drafted in 2011 and later abandoned.
In 2014 the project of the new law was reinitiated and social partners were consulted. Trade unions and garment brands want to see a law protecting fundamental rights and establishing a more stable foundation for industrial relations in the industry.
20150611 * Inside the Cabinet Debate on the NGO Law:
Contrary to popular belief, the government consulted non-governmental organizations at least three times before the NGO draft law was finally sent to the cabinet last week for approval.
The first consultation was on January 2011, with some 276 representatives from nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups and other associations.
The most recent was in December, with 153 organizations and associations consulted.
Inside the government, the draft law has been studied and discussed at the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Economy and Finance, the Council for Development of Cambodia and the Council of Jurists at the Council of Ministers.
Twice it was held back from being sent to the cabinet for discussion and approval.
The most recent version of draft law, adopted by the Cabinet June 5, has nine chapters and 41 articles.
It addresses a diverse number of issues, such as the need for NGOs to have local counterparts in order to register with the Foreign Ministry.
It regulates non-governmental organizations involvement in microfinance lending activities.
Khmer Times has learned from government sources and transcripts of the June 5 cabinet meeting that – contrary to popular belief – the cabinet indeed debated the law.
Changes were made before the final draft of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) was sent to the National Assembly for debate and vote.
20150610 * New Draft of Trade Union Law Adds Guilt by Association:
An updated version of the draft Trade Union Law gives the Labor Ministry the power to suspend unions that “cooperate” or hold joint activities with groups the government deems to have caused economic sabotage or “damaged” the national interest.
Unions not aligned with the ruling CPP were already concerned that earlier drafts would have made it too hard to register new branches and would give the courts broad power to revoke union licenses.
Even the International Labor Organization (ILO) said an earlier version of the law failed to live up to labor conventions the country has signed on to.
Critics say the new provision on associating with saboteurs—in a draft dated in October and recently leaked to Human Rights Watch—gives the government yet more undue power.
The U.S.-based advocacy group said in a statement that the new draft “gives sweeping powers to Labor Ministry officials to suspend union registration on flimsy grounds and without due process.”
The new provision says that the ministry will tell unions who the blacklisted groups are that they should stay away from. It does not explain how the ministry will determine who those groups are, what it means to “damage” the national interest, or what constitutes cooperation between unions.
20150610 * NGO law a ‘disaster’:
A copy of the long-secret draft law on NGOs obtained yesterday seemingly confirms civil society’s longstanding fears that the legislation’s language could be used to hamper, rather than help, the Kingdom’s NGOs.
The law on associations and non-governmental organisations (LANGO) – a draft of which was last seen by the public in 2011 – purports to be aimed at “safeguarding the rights and freedoms” of NGOs and protecting their “legitimate interests”. Critics, however, say the law’s provisions place an onerous burden on civil society.
Despite government claims that critics would be “surprised” by the draft’s friendliness and flexibility, an unofficial copy reveals a number of vaguely worded provisions and seemingly harsh restrictions.
A local NGO, for instance, must have “at least five founding members . . . [who have] never had a position of leadership of any association or [local NGO] which had been deleted from registration”.
The Interior Ministry can also deny a request for registration if the organisation’s “aims and objectives . . . jeopardize peace, stability and public order or harm the national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of the Cambodian national society”.
20150610 * ILO Country Office Statement on Draft Trade Union Law:
In response to a request from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), the ILO has assisted the government, trade unions and employers’ organizations to develop a law on trade unions.
This process began in 2008 and continued through 2011, during which a
series of tripartite meetings were held.
The RGC decided to renew work on the draft in early 2014, and again requested ILO assistance.
A number of consultations have taken place with the government, written comments have been provided, and one tripartite meeting was held over this period.
It should be noted that the ILO places heavy emphasis on tripartite engagement in the development of labour legislation.
The ILO’s role is to provide technical advice and recommendations to our tripartite
constituents in Cambodia regarding the content of the legislation, with a view to ensuring that it complies with ratified international Conventions.
The RGC has repeatedly stated, both in public statements and in private conversations that the law will indeed comply with these obligations.
This will require continued and dedicated efforts from all stakeholders, in order to ensure that genuine freedom of association is reflected in both law and practice.
The ILO stands ready to provide continued support on the draft law on trade unions in response to requests from the tripartite constituents, and reaffirms its commitment to supporting their efforts to achieve decent work for all.
to read: 20150610 ILO Statement on draft TU law rev MB
20150611 * Beaten Garment Workers File Police Complaints:
Three members of the Free Trade Union on Thursday filed complaints against members of a rival union for allegedly beating them with bamboo sticks and banana tree branches during a clash outside Phnom Penh’s SH International garment factory on Wednesday morning.
The victims say they were beaten by four members of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS), including its president, Mum Seik. According to police, the clash broke out when members of the KUFWS protesting the recent firing of 400 employees blocked the way of FTU members who wanted to go inside the factory to work.
The three victims—Keo Seanghai, Lay Sokha and Srey Pov—filed their complaints when Pur Senchey district police visited them at Calmette Hospital, where they are being treated, according to Um Dina, the FTU’s public relations officer.
She said Mr. Seanghai suffered the worst beating, taking blows to the body and a heavy hit to the head. She said Ms. Sokha and Ms. Pov suffered heavy bruising.
“They are each demanding compensation, between $3,000 and $10,000,” she said.
20150611 * Three Injured in Clash Between Rival Labor Unions:
Three members of the Free Trade Union were hospitalized after being beaten by members of a rival union during a protest Wednesday morning at the SH International garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, union and police officials said.
Srey Pov, 35; Lay Sokha, 36; and Keo Seanghai were were beaten with bamboo canes by Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS) members, according Man Senghak, an advisor to the FTU.
“We sent them to Calmette hospital,” Mr. Sanghak said, adding that Ms. Pov is the FTU’s chief representative at the factory.
“Srey Pov suffered massive head injuries and she is still unconscious,” he said, while the other two sustained minor injuries.
Kantork commune police chief Ong Teng confirmed the incident, explaining that hundreds of workers from KUFWS had been protesting over the mass sacking of 400 workers last month.
“The fight broke out because workers from FTU wanted to go inside the factory to work,” he said. “But some KUFWS workers were blocking them.”
20150609 * BetterFactories Media Updates 09 June 2015,Workers Blocked From Marching on PM’s Villa:
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2015-06-09 Workers Blocked From Marching on PM’s Villa
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post :
2015-06-09 HRW asks PM to revise law
BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
17:26:34 local time MALAYSIA
20150610 * TPPA cost-benefit analysis study to be ready by end-July:
The “cost and benefit analysis” study involving the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is expected to be ready by the end of this July, says Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said the analysis, by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS)and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) will provide input in assisting the government to make a decision on the TPPA.
“We expect the analysis to be ready in about six weeks time. Just this morning, I had a meeting with those in the know of its progress,” he added.
Mustapa was responding to a question in Parliament today from Dr Lee Boon Chye (PKR-Gopeng) who wanted his ministry to state Malaysia’s stand on the TPPA.
The minister also stated that the outcome of the analysis would be made public, including the text for discussion, while being open for debate in Parliament before a decision is made on the TPPA.
read more. & read more. & to read.
17:26:34 local time INDONESIA
20150610 * Textile makers face weak: sales, higher costs:
Textile producers are urging the government to take swift action to help the industry survive amid weak sales and rising production costs, otherwise they may have to close their businesses or see more layoffs.
With an economic slowdown pressing people’s purchasing power, the textile industry is facing flat growth with a number of companies already forced to dismiss workers, according to Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat.
Ade said his business group had filed a report with the Industry Ministry regarding the recent dismissal of tens of thousands of workers at textile factories across Java due to economic pressure.
“Based on our report given to the Industry Ministry, there are at least 6,000 textile factory workers who have been dismissed in four districts in Bandung regency between January and May,” Ade said on the sidelines of a textile exhibition in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The business group reported previously that 120 textile producers in Bandung regency, West Java, had laid off at least 6,300 workers and trimmed working time from seven days to just three days as a result of weak sales. Sales slumped by more than 40 percent in the January-April period from the past year.
20150609 * Sritex Affiliate to Spend $300m on Securing Domestic Rayon Supplies:
A company linked to Sri Rejeki Isman, or Sritex, Indonesia’s biggest garment manufacturer, plans to spend $300 million over the next decade on an 80-hectare eucalyputs plantation and rayon plant to secure raw supplies.
Iwan K. Lukminto, the vice president director of Rayon Utama Makmur, said the project would be based in Sukoharjo, Central Java, where Sritex has its main plant.
“This will be operated outside Sritex, but we will synergize it with Sritex’s needs,” he said.
Iwan said that once the new rayon plant was online, Sritex could cut back on its imports, which account for 50 to 60 percent of the raw materials that it uses. A weakening rupiah has made importing rayon increasingly costly.
20150609 * Nike Supplier Pan Brothers Seeks $200m Loan to Repay Debts:
Pan Brothers, a listed garment manufacturer, is seeking to raise $200 million from a syndicated loan by next month to refinance its debts and add to its working capital.
The company plans to pay back the $165 million loan it borrowed in 2013 from a syndicate of 22 local and foreign banks, Fitri Ratnasari, Pan Brother’s administration director, said on Tuesday.
The 2013 loan bears an interest rate of 3.75 percent above the London Interbank Offering Rate (Libor). The syndicate includes Bank ANZ Indonesia, Bank Commonwealth, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB Niaga, and Bank International Indonesia.
16:26:34 local time THAILAND
20150610 * Companies keen on floating wage rate:
Businesses are voicing support for the National Wage Committee’s decision to cancel the fixed 300-baht minimum daily wage next year and replace it with a floating rate, with 300 baht to remain the daily floor.
But Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the floating rate should depend on the strength of the economy in each area, with provincial wage committees considering whether their rates should be increased.
The more economic growth in a province, the higher the minimum wage should be, he said.
“The FTI agrees with the National Wage Committee that the fixed rate should be cancelled. However, the new minimum daily wage should be floated and increases should be in line with costs of living in each area,” Mr Supant said.
20150609 * Discussion on wage proposed for July:
Federation of Thai Industries chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree is geared for a landmark discussion with business leaders on the minimum wage next month.
20150609 * Thailand: nimble fingers, precarious lives:
Fifty-year-old Nangloo sells flowers at night in north Thailand’s regional capital, Chiang Mai.
Like many others uprooted by forest protection and efforts to eliminate rebel or opium-producing havens, she’d rather be living back in the countryside.
But survival dictates her existence.
“It’s better to live in the city. We don’t have land to farm in the mountains. If we had land in the mountains, I would prefer to live there,” says Nangloo, who lives with other ethnic Lahu in the poor suburb of Tha Sala.
For women, particularly those from once self-sufficient mountain peoples, the commercialisation of traditional crafts is amongst the most accessible options for work.
Still, precarious, per-piece income from embroidery and other crafts barely keeps up with growing monetisation of the villagers’ lives. Everything now costs money.
Recruiters visit Tha Sala daily to collect the men they need for construction and other work.
For women, the only available jobs are preparing wholesale fruit and flowers to sell in the city, or selling intricate traditional embroidery to a program called the Royal Project.
15:56:34 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
20150610 * Government plans housing for 16,000 factory workers:
The government is planning a housing rental project for 16,000 factory workers from Hlaing Tharyar and Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zones, according to Daw Win Maw Tun, deputy minister for labour, in the first such move to support the private sector.
The housing will be dormitory-style for single men and women, with the intention to extend the project to other industrial zones in Yangon and other regions.
“In Yangon, there are three difficulties for livelihood – clothing, food and accommodation.
Workers can easily afford clothing and food but they have more problems with accommodation. That’s why we planned this project,” the deputy minister said.
Up to 10 workers will share each room at a cost of K10,000 to K16,000 a month, said U Nay Myo Win, director of planning and research for the Social Security Board (SSB).
15:26:34 local time BANGLADESH
20150610 * Garment workers stage demo after sudden closure of factory:
Hundreds of workers staged demonstration at a ready-made garment factory at Chandra under Kaliakoir upazila in Gazipur district Wednesday morning in protest against closing down the factory without paying the wage of workers.
Workers and industrial police sources said there is a garment factory, called ‘Sidatex Apparel Limited’ at Chandra under Kaliakoir upazila.
Reaching the factory premises on Wednesday morning, workers became surprised witnessing a notice of closing down the factory.
Suddenly the workers became angry and staged demonstration there due to the closure of the factory without paying their wages.
At one stage, general manager of the factory tactfully torn off the notice from the notice board. It made the workers more angry.
Receiving information, police reached the factory premises and pacified the angry workers after talking to them.
Afterward, factory chairman Nahid Hossain sat with the workers and pledged to pay their dues.
But the workers started demontrating again finding no confidence in his assurance.
Later, he left the factory with the help of police.
Despite the departure of the chairman, the workers continued their agitation inside the factory.
At one stage, the workers threatened to launch a strict movement for closure of the factory without paying all their dues.
20150612 * B’desh among worst places to work: ITUC:
Garment sector found to be key culprit
Bangladesh is one of the ‘worst’ places in the world to work, where workers’ rights are not guaranteed, according to a global survey.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), in a survey launched on Wednesday, ranks Bangladesh, along with 27 other countries, on the fifth category–a sign of “no guarantee of rights”.
It, however, referred to the readymade garment sector, where physical force, sexual intimidation and threats of physical assault and dismissal are often used to stop workers from organising.
China, India, Malaysia, Belarus, Cambodia, Turkey, Pakistan and Qatar are other countries ranked on the same category of worst countries for workers in the world.
“While the legislation may spell out certain rights, workers have collectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices,” the report reads about the countries that ranked at five.
20150609 * 100 jhut godowns burnt in Gazipur:
A fire brunt at least 100 godowns of jhut (garment rags) in Tongi Millgate area of the city early Tuesday.
Fire service sources said the fire originated at a godwon in the area about 12:30 am and soon engulfed the adjoining others godowns.
Being informed, three fire-fighting units from Tongi Fire Service rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after two hours of frantic efforts.
20150611 * Bangladeshi RMG facing stiff competition in US market:
Bangladeshi RMG producers are now facing stiff competition to penetrate into the market of the United States in the wake of the production cost hike and losing competiveness.
Yet, export of Bangladeshi RMG products to the US market has grown by 7% in April 2015, to US$1.8bn, a good rise from 2.3% decline in 2014, according to data recently released by OTEXA.
Besides, overall export to the US market also seen a 7.24% gain to $1.9bn.
RMG manufacturers attributed production, political unrest and safety inspection launched by the global retailers’ platforms the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Myanmar, the emerging exporter of the RMG products to US market has posted a 123% growth to more than $8m in the first four months of this year.
RMG export to the US market from Vietnam also increased by 16.5% to $799m while India’s export growth grew by 9.82% to $1.4bn.
Meanwhile, China, the global leader of apparel manufacturing, lost its share in the US market, which was captured by Vietnam, Bangladesh and India in recent times.
China’s export to the US market rose by over 1%, which is a positive sign for Bangladesh as it was expected that this share would be shifted to Bangladesh from China.
20150612 * ‘Country to achieve $50b from RMG by 2021’:
Textile and Jute Minister Emaz Uddin Pramanik Thursday said it would be possible to achieve 50 billion dollars export target by 2021 and Bangladesh will supersede China in this regard, reports BSS.
“This sector is playing a vital role in poverty alleviation and creating employment in the country. As many as five million people are working in this sector and most of them are women,” he said.
read more. & read more.
20150612 * Woven export to US drops to $3.18b in July-April:
The export of woven garments to the US registered a negative growth in the first 10 months of the current financial year though the export earnings from the market started to rebound from the beginning of this calendar year.
Exporters and analysts said there were various reasons for the negative growth that included decreasing demand for the items on compliance issue, reluctance of exporters for high duty in the market and grabbing market share by the competing countries.
The export of woven garments to the US market in the July-April period of the FY 2014-15 decreased by 1.62 per cent to $3.18 billion from $3.23 billion in the same period of the FY 2013-14, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.
The export of knitwear to the market, however, grew by 5.85 per cent to $1.03 billion in the period.
20150609 * Channel taxes to help exporters grow jobs:
Increase investment in skills development to help grow exports and secure new jobs
Last week’s Budget proposes to more than double tax at source on garment exports from 0.3% to 1%.
We agree with the BGMEA and BKEMA that the proposed increase risks hampering the export growth of the ready-made garment sector and should be reconsidered.
Other export-oriented sectors will also see this tax increase to 1% from their current rate of 0.6%. While these increases follow a previous interim reduction from 0.8%, they are unexpected by exporters who have still been having to overcome obstacles from hartals and blockades.
In the first 10 months of the last financial year, political instability has kept export growth to only around a third of the national target of 10%.
20150611 * Khulna, Jessore jute mills workers observe hunger strike:
Over a thousand of workers of nine state-owned jute mills of Khulna and Jessore observed hunger strike on Wednesday at Khulna Shaheed Hadis Park in the city to press home their five-point demand.
Workers under the banner of Collective Bargaining Agency and non-CBA Oiykko Parishad and their family members joined the hunger strike from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
The nine state-owned jute mills are Crescent Jute Mill, Platinum Jute Mill, Star Jute Mill, Khalishpur Jute Mill, Daulatpur Jute Mill, Aleem Jute Mill and Eastern Jute Mill of Khulna and Jessore Jute Industry and Carpeting Jute Mill of Jessore.
The five-point demand includes allocation of adequate fund for purchasing raw jute, payment of due wages, 20 per cent dearness allowance, implementation of Packaging Act-2010 and appointment of casual workers as permanent staff.
20150611 * Ministry seeks facilities for jute goods:
The ministry of textiles and jute (MoTJ) has sought equal facilities for jute goods like other agro products with a view to keeping employment of the sector unaffected, officials said.
The MoTJ recently sent a letter to the ministry of finance (MoF) seeking cooperation in this connection, they said.
The country earns a significant amount of foreign currencies by exporting jute and jute goods every year. The sector has long been facing many difficulties. The prices of jute products have declined in the international market due to political unrest in the Middle East countries and economic recession of the Euro zone nations, the sources said.
20150610 * Protecting silk industry demanded:
Speakers at a post-budget press conference here Tuesday demanded protection of silk industries and silk growers, establishment of agriculture based EPZ and constructing new educational institutions.
They called for special budgetary allocation to the agriculture and surface water irrigation sectors in the region to boost the farm production.
District unit of Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) hosted the programme styled “Post Budget Media Conference at District Level 2015-16” at Metropolitan Press Club elaborating various sides of the proposed budget for 2015-16 fiscal.
20150612 * India agrees to give BGMEA land to build warehouse:
India will provide 50 acres of land in Gujarat to Bangladeshi businessmen to build a warehouse from which apparel items can be shipped directly to retail shops across India.
The development comes after a team of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association led by its President Atiqul Islam placed the demand to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Dhaka.
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
20150611 * Final compensation to Rana Plaza victims soon:
Panel receives $30m from retailers: ILO’s Reddy
The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee will complete all payments to the victims of the nation’s worst industrial disaster in two weeks, as the panel has received the required amount — $30 million — from retailers.
“We are ready to finish paying the compensation money to the Rana Plaza victims as we have received the required $30 million,” Srinivas B Reddy, country director for International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Bangladesh, said in an interview with The Daily Star yesterday.
“We have already disbursed 70 percent of the claims to the victims through bank accounts of Dutch Bangla Bank.”
Reddy is the chairman of the committee, which was formed two years ago after the accident to settle the compensation claims, with government representatives, garment exporters, retailers and trade union leaders.
14:56:34 local time INDIA
20150611 * Activists write to PM Narendra Modi against Child Labour law amendments:
Various rights groups have urged the government to hold a public consultation on the proposed amendments to the Child Labour Bill, which they warned will end up legitimising economic exploitation of children and rob them of their childhood.
They have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a public consultation on the amendments and called for the removal of the provision seeking to legitimise use of children under 14 years as labour in family enterprises out of their school hours and during vacation.
‘The Campaign For Child Protection’ today held a discussion here on the Bill and its proposed amendments which was organised by Apne Aap Women Worldwide and the Indian School for Women’s Studies and Development.
read more. & read more.
20150611 * Amendments to child labour law: opposition mounts:
D. Mala started working when she was 10 years old. She worked as a maid in a house in T. Nagar, and earned Rs. 100 a month for her efforts.
Every morning, she would begin her chores at 8 a.m., wash dishes, cut vegetables, finish some kitchen work and go to school. When she got done with school in the evening, she would go back to the house she worked in and get home only by 8 p.m.
“Although the work I did is not considered hazardous, and I continued to attend school, I was psychologically not inclined to study until I received support from Arunodhaya. There are a number of children who do not have this support, and with the new amendments to the Child Labour Act, they will now have no legal recourse either,” she said.
Mala now works as a social worker with the same NGO and is one of the city’s activists who are struggling against the amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.
“Out of 18 hazardous occupations, only four are considered hazardous – foundries, mines, plastic units and fiber glass, handling of toxic, inflammable and explosives.
This means occupations like elephant caring, diving, slaughter house, handloom, power loom, fire cracker workshop are non-hazardous if they are run by the family,” Varsha Pillai, Senior Manager, CRY said, adding that now, more invisible forms of child labour will be encouraged, leading to more exploitation.
20150610 * CITU protests against labour policies:
The police took to custody 473 members of the CITU, including 40 women, when they tried to picket the Collectorate here on Tuesday in protest against the anti-labour policies pursued by both the Union and State Governments.
Led by V. Kumar, deputy general secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit of the CITU, hundreds of members, including women, squatted on the road raising slogans urging both the governments to do away with their anti-labour policies.
P. Panneerselvam, district president of the CITU; T. Udayakumar, district secretary; R. Vairamani and K. C. Gopikumar, CITU State committee members; were among those taken into preventive custody.
The CITU district committee alleged that the Narendra Modi led Union Government was bent on withdrawing various rights of the working class.
The government, despite being in power for the last one year, has not taken any step to contain the raise in the prices of essential commodities, which has badly hit all sections of society.
The Modi Government has initiated various steps for selling the shares of public sector undertakings.
The government was evincing keen interest to promote multinational companies, totally ignoring the interest of the local micro and small scale units.
20150610 * More than 250 CITU members arrested:
As many as 268 CITU members were arrested when they staged a road block agitation near Tirupur railway station on Tuesday with the demand for upholding the labour rights in industrial units.
CITU state secretary M. Chandran said that Rs.15,000 should be fixed as minimum wages for eight hour shift duty and overtime allowances should be paid to the workers for every additional hour of job.
The agitators called upon the labour department officials to take steps for ensuring implementation of labour laws in letter and spirit in all industrial units.
The other major demand includes enacting of law to make the trade union formation mandatory in all industrial units.
20150610 * Unions cry foul at govt’s flexible hiring idea:
Unaware of govt’s proposals, unions tell labour minister
Reacting to the Union government’s move to give industries flexibility in hiring contract workers, trade unions on Tuesday charged the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government with violating consultation norms.
“This is gross violation of the basic norm of tripartism and the Citu (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) hereby lodges its protest against such violation,” Tapan Sen, general secretary of Citu, said in a letter to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
Citu said the government “silently issued the said notification without consulting the central trade unions and asking their opinion on such proposal having a serious bearing on the working conditions and job security of the industrial workers, before bringing it in public domain”.
20150610 * CITU protests:
The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) members staged protests on Tuesday pressing various demands.
They include a minimum monthly salary of Rs.15,000, pension for workers besides effective implementation of labour laws.
As many as 279 workers were removed at Gandhipuram and 86 workers at Sundarapuram.
20150610 * Labour laws set for big overhaul:
The changes, if approved by Parliament, will be the biggest economic reform, but it is likely to meet stiff opposition in Parliament and from labour activists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to launch India’s biggest overhaul of labour laws since independence in a bid to create millions of manufacturing jobs, at the risk of stirring up a political backlash that could block other critical reforms.
Three officials at the federal labour ministry told Reuters that the ministry was drafting a bill for the upcoming parliamentary session that proposes to loosen strict hire-and-fire rules and make it tougher for workers to form unions.
The changes, if approved by Parliament, will be the biggest economic reform since India opened its economy in 1991, but it is likely to meet stiff opposition in Parliament and from labour activists.
20150611 * Countries support India’s labour inspection reforms:
The emphasis of the government is on quality and effectiveness of the labour inspection system rather than mere numbers.
We want to bring in an efficient system of compliance for labour legislation with the help of information technology.
This was stated by Shri Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Govt of India in the 104th International Labour Conference in Geneva. Responding to the observations of the Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations, he said that Government of India has taken a major good governance initiative to avoid malpractices in labour inspections.
He reiterated that the rights of the inspection authority have not been curtailed at all.
India is a founding member of ILO and signatory to ILO conventions on labour inspection as well as tripartite consultation.
All the proposed amendments to labour laws are being discussed threadbare in appropriate tripartite forums involving government, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations, and only thereafter, amendments are carried forward.
20150612 * Garment machine manufacturers form body to save industry:
With ‘Make in India’ vision remaining a distant dream, Ludhiana’s garment machine manufacturers have joined hands to save the industry.
“Ludhiana was once known to be one of the only manufacturers of flat machines and the situation turned from bad to worse and now we have negligible exports.
Reason is simple that imports from China and Taiwan have increased and our industry is no where in a position to fight back,” said Ram Krishan, who has been made the president of Garments Machine Manufacturers and Suppliers Association.
He said 88 industrialists have joined hands and they will go for a multi-pronged policy to rescue the industry.
20150611 * Kitex gives T20 a new spin in Kizhakambalam:
Kitex Group, a textile major with interests ranging from apparels to spices, and with around 15,000 employees and an annual turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore, is planning an unusual ‘takeover’.
Where most corporate organizations in Kerala crawl on being asked to bend when confronted by vindictive politicians and dogma-driven trade unions, Kitex Group has dared to take the battle to them.
Kitex Garments — which exports quality apparel items to international brands such as Mother Care, Walmart, Toys R Us, Gerber, Jockey and Kohl’s among others — along with other group companies, plans to field independent candidates in all 17 wards of Kizhakambalam panchayat, hardly 30 km from Kochi and where its manufacturing plant is based, in the local body polls slated later this year.
As Kitex Garments’ plant has been denied a permanent licence by the Kizhakambalam panchayat despite fulfilling all criteria, the group has launched a charitable mission that has invested around Rs 28 crore in the last two years to usher in unprecedented development in the panchayat and to emerge as a credible alternative to the entrenched political parties in the area.
Under the aegis of Twenty20, a body registered as a charitable institution, the group has upgraded a whole lot of civic amenities ranging from drinking water plants and roads apart from providing scholarships and medical expenses for the needy.
Interestingly, the total spending by Kizhakambalam grama panchayat in the past four years stands at Rs 22.4 crore, less than half of what Twenty20 has spent in two years.
In fact, Twenty20 has become so popular that it has even won over many converts even from ideologically driven cadre parties like CPM and CPI. Members of AITUC, the trade union wing of CPI, have actually gone a step further and publicly display the Twenty20 badge on their shirts.
Of course, in a state where politics is religion and private enterprise still an anathema, this has predictably bred a lot of resentment too.
“The company has been discharging waste water from its effluent treatment plants to neighbouring paddy fields and all this activity is basically a cover-up,” says Rahim, secretary of Action Council Against Pollution, a group active in the panchayat.
20150611 * Another weaver suicide in Silk Town:
The saga of weavers’ distress in Dharmavaram, famous for its silk sarees, continued in Anantapur district with yet another weaver giving up hope of ever recovering from financial difficulties.
Balaji, 35, hanged himself in his house at Keshav Nagar in Dharmavaram town, unable to emerge from his burden of debt.
A man who knew no skill other than weaving, Balaji had been steeped in losses for several years, thanks to the rising cost of raw silk, disproportionate wages and the exploitative nature of buyers made bold by the absence of efficient marketing facilities for handloom weavers.
“He had run up a debt of Rs 4 lakh in the last few years,” Balaji’s wife Harika told The Hindu , clinging to her two daughters.
A man who knew no skill other than weaving, Balaji had been steeped in losses for several years
20150611 * SIMA to facilitate skill training:
Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) will facilitate and assist textile associations and textile units to organise skill development programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana Scheme.
Association chairman T. Rajkumar has said in a press release that the Textile Sector Skill Council has given its approval to the association to train the trainers, validate the documents of individual textile units, and recommend the units to the council for affiliation as training providers.
20150611 * A six yard love story:
Vijayalakshmi Nachiar says the sari is the most sustainable of all garments
What comes to your mind when you think of love?” From this question and the ensuing discussion was born Love Story, the latest collection from Ethicus.
As a young girl from a Pollachi-based family rooted to the cotton business, Vijayalakshmi Nachiar was exposed to the world of textiles and colourful embroidery.
Having harboured the childhood dream of working with material, colours and designs, it was no surprise when she excelled in the field with a Masters in Textiles & Clothing.
Ethicus is the brainchild of Vijayalakshmi and her husband, Mani, both of whom ventured into organic contract farming in 2005.
“When we started with cotton farming, we realized the extent of pesticides and pollutants that normally go into such a process.
We decided to do something about it and started with organic contract farming,” says Vijayalakshmi.
“That led us to create a brand of organic clothing, particularly suited to the Indian market.” And, Ethicus came into being, in 2009.
Each Ethicus sari comes with a tag containing the weaver’s photograph, name, age and the number of days he took to weave the sari.
“When a customer buys a garment, they don’t realize it has gone through so many adept hands. So, we wanted to give the weavers an identity,” recalls Vijayalakshmi.
“Mani and I are just catalysts.
This story isn’t about us, it’s about the weavers. Today, customers are becoming more aware of the effort that goes on behind making a beautiful piece of clothing.”
20150611 * Suicide: Minister assures farmer’s family of compensation:
Baburao Chinchansur, Minister for Textiles, Ports and also district in-charge, on Wednesday visited the house of 60-year-old debt-ridden farmer, Basavaraj Hanumatharaya Shireddy, who allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide in his field at Gogi (K) village in Shahpur taluk in Yadgir district on Tuesday.
After visiting the farmer’s family, including his mother, his wife and two sons, the Minister assured them that he would discuss with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah the issue of waiving off the loans which Shireddy availed from DCC bank and other commercial banks immediately.
The Minister also paid Rs. 50,000 as compensation by own.
According to his family, Shireddy availed loans of around Rs. 10 lakh to develop land, which he owned, and around 26 acres of land on lease from other farmers.
They explained to the Minister that they planted paddy and cotton in around 30 acres of land in Gogi village and spent nearly Rs. 25, 000 per acre.
But, they could only get less than 50 per cent of their expected return due to the crash in the prices of paddy and cotton.
Paddy was sold for Rs. 800 per bag, weighing 75 kg, and cotton for Rs. 3,500 per quintal.
Normally, farmers get Rs. 1,400 for paddy and Rs. 5,000 for cotton, they added.
20150611 * Farmers gamble with sowing after pre-monsoon showers:
With pre-monsoon showers lashing the region, farmers in Saurashtra have started sowing their fields. Although the monsoon arrival in the state is expected around June 15, the farmers want to take advantage of the showers by going in for early sowing.
Agricultural department officials said that sowing has been done in 21,762 hectares in six districts of Saurashtra. “Cotton sowing has dominated with 20,689 hectares being brought under its cover, followed by groundnut in 790 hectares, vegetables in 147 hectares and fodder in 136 hectares,” said an official.
“Pre-monsoon sowing is a gamble in a way because if the rains get delayed, farmers loose precious seeds. But if they arrive on time, the farmers reap major benefits,” the official added.
20150611 *‘It is still too early to sow’:
Following the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting 15 to 20 per cent less rainfall in Karimnagar district, the Agricultural Department authorities have been educating the farming community not to go in for early sowing.
The authorities were informing the farmers to take up cultivation only after receiving 65 mm to 70 mm rainfall and that too if the farmers were having water sources such as wells and borewells.
Talking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Joint Director (Agriculture) U. Narasimha Rao said that “We are informing the farmers to take up farm activities slowly and not to go for early sowing of seeds. The farmers can intensify their farm activity only after July 15 by the time monsoons would be active in the district”.
20150610 * Cotton acreage may fall 7% in 2015-16: CAI:
Plunging prices and fears of a drought prompt farmers to switch to cultivating pulses in the hope for better returns
Cotton acreage in India, the top grower in the world, is likely to drop by the most in over a decade this year, as plunging prices and fears of a drought prompt farmers to switch to cultivating pulses in the hope for better returns, a top trade body official said.
Lower output at the world’s No.2 cotton exporter, after the United States, should help give legs to a recovery in global benchmark prices that have risen 13 per cent from a five-year low of 57.05 cents per pound plumbed in January.
20150610 * Sombre results from spinning companies:
Sluggish demand from China and a fall in cotton yarn prices undermined the profitability of spinning mills across India in 2014-15.
Data compiled by the Business Standard Research Bureau shows the combined revenue of the 46 listed spinning companies was Rs 32,483 crore, compared to Rs 32,813 crore the year before. Combined net profit fell from Rs 1,041 crore to Rs 76 crore in FY15. The year’s final quarter, January-March, saw most companies incurring losses.
S P Oswal, chairman of the Oswal Group, one of the largest in the textile sector, said tepid demand from China, withdrawal of the Focused Market Scheme by the Government of India and high cost of borrowing had hurt the spinning sector.
Two years earlier, China’s demand for yarn rose phenomenally and then abruptly fell, not giving much time for exporters to scout for alternative destinations. the result was a glut in the home market and a 10-12 per cent fall in prices, a major reason for the fall in net profits.
As Vietnam is expanding its spinning capacity and there have been reports of Chinese investments in spinning in Vietnam, this can cause further stress for cotton yarn exporters, said Oswal.
Even smaller spinning mills have resorted to a 20 per cent cut in capacity utilisation.
20150610 * Cotton yarn spinners cut capacity use as China policy causes domestic glut:
Declining exports of cotton yarn to China have worsened the oversupply situation for Indian spinning mills, who are now looking to domestic demand for relief
Declining exports of cotton yarn to China have worsened the oversupply situation for Indian spinning mills, who are now looking to domestic demand from the garments sector for relief.
The impact can be seen in the form of lower capacity utilisation in the mills in southern states where, sources say, most of them have resorted to an estimated 20% cut in production.
In April 2014, the Chinese government ended its 3-year-long programme to stockpile raw cotton to support local growers and instead started offering subsidies directly to farmers.
With the Chinese government’s decision to offload its reserve stock, spinning mills there can access cheaper cotton from the local market, thus reducing their dependence on imports, which hit Indian exporters in FY2015.
20150610 * Global glut in cotton to persist:
Fall in sowing area among major producers to reduce production by 8.5%
Cotton traders are staring at excess stock, as supplies from the world’s biggest growing regions such as India and the US are set to rise amid declining demand from China, a major importer of the commodity.
The fall in Chinese demand has been so sharp that it will result in less planting of the crop in FY16. However, there will still be a glut in the market.
20150610 * Not in a hurry to approve GM crop commercialisation, says Prakash Javadekar:
Treading cautiously on contentious issue of commercialisation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops, the Centre today said it will take a call on the matter only after the outcome of field trials and scientific research is available.
“There are doubts in public minds over the impact of GM crops. So we are not in a hurry to accord sanction for their commercialisation,” Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.
“We have given a green light for field trials and scientific study of GM crops. Such trials and research will take 8 to 10 years. After the outcome of trails and research, some decision will be taken,” he said.
20150610 * Crop insurance for cotton, soya in Nagpur, Wardha district:
The Central government’s path-breaking weather-based crop insurance scheme will be implemented on a pilot basis in Nagpur and Wardha districts.
The scheme will cover two main cash crops, cotton and soyabean.
As per the advisory issued by divisional joint director of agriculture, these two districts will be part of 12 districts where the scheme is being implemented in the state.
Under it, in the notified area of the two districts, the scheme is compulsory for those availing institutional finance and voluntary for those not availing bank loans.
14:26:34 local time PAKISTAN
20150611 * ‘Govt heading towards GSP Plus compliance’:
Compliance obligation under GSP plus scheme to 27 international conventions concerning human rights, labour rights, environment, governance and narcotics control covers all aspects of the life of citizens, is required to be taken into account seriously, stated by IA Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan at a seminar on Wednesday.
Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) obligations are required to be taken as an opportunity to transform socioeconomic and political narrative of Pakistan, he added at a multi stakeholders forum on GSP+ in Pakistan, organised by Democracy Reporting International
The forum was attended by a large number of high officials of relevant government departments, MPAs, representatives of business organisations, civil society, trade unions and media.
20150610 * International commitments: ‘Shape up or risk losing GSP Plus status’:
Pakistan ratified 27 conventions associated with GSP Plus status decades before it received the status.
It should implement those or risk losing the status, PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali said at a conference organised by the Democracy Reporting International on Tuesday.
The conference aimed to develop a coordinated implementation strategy to help Pakistan retain its GSP Plus status.
Pakistan received the status on January 1, 2014, for 10 years.
It is expected to present a report on the status of compliance of 27 conventions on labour rights, human rights, environment and good governance to the European Union Parliament every 2 years.
“Compliance is not a one-way street. Legislation on the conventions is but one aspect. The second is institutional arrangements for implementation,” Ali said.
An example of this was that there were no figures available of the number of trade unions registered in the country. He said the government was supposed to publish reports on compliance of labour laws, “but we haven’t seen a report on this since the ‘90s”.
20150610 * ‘Pakistan must live up to GSP’s stipulations’:
Pakistan’s exports to the European Union (EU) witnessed a 20 percent increase during the first 11 months (January, 2014 to November, 2014) of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) Plus status, said Democracy Reporting International (DRI)’s Zulfikar Shah while addressing a multi-stakeholders conference titled “GSP Plus in Pakistan: Towards a coordinated implementation strategy” in Lahore on Tuesday.
Addressing the participants of meeting aimed at generating awareness about the GSP Plus scheme and to discuss strategies for promoting human rights in the context, Shah said that the exports rose to Euros 5.067 billion against last year’s Euros 4.22 billion.
He added that the GSP Plus mechanism was an incentive for Pakistan to enhance democratic and human rights reforms in the country.
“The GSP Plus status is conditional to meeting Pakistan’s international obligations under the 27 conventions related to human rights, labour rights, environment protection and good governance which Pakistan has ratified,” Shah said, adding that the status was initially given for 10 years and was reviewed after every two years for evaluating if Pakistan was implementing the conventions it has ratified.
20150611 * Powerloom workers in Multan take to streets against loadshedding:
The powerloom workers staged a demonstration against prolonged electricity loadshedding at Manzoorabad Chowk near Chungi 14 on Wednesday.
The protesters led by Pakistan Powerloom Association central president Khaliq Qandeel Ansari were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against ever-increasing power tariff.
Majority of the protestors belonged to ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. They chanted anti-government slogans, burnt tyres and blocked the road to register their protest against the closure of industrial units due to power shutdown in urban and rural areas falling in the jurisdiction of the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco).
20150611 * Loom owners protest excessive power outages:
Dozens of power loom owners and workers on Wednesday staged a demonstration near Chungi No14 to protest excessive power outages.
The protesting workers burnt tyres in the middle of the road and blocked it for traffic for several hours.
Talking to the media, Khaliq Qandil Ansari, Pakistan Power Loom Association central president, said with no electricity to run the looms thousands of workers in the city had beocme jobless.
He also condemned the high electricity tariffs.
He said loom owners and workers would continue to stage sit-ins in front of the MEPCO office until their grievances were resolved.
Ansari said during the last few weeks duration of outages had increased to 16 to 18 hours a day. “If the state of affairs continues, we won’t be able to finish orders placed by our customers in time,” he said.
He said on coming to power in 2013 the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had claimed that ending power shortage would be their top priority.
However, he said, the government had yet to make any progress in that regard.
He said livelihoods of over 100,000 people were dependent on the power loom industry in the city.
He said with 10 hour outage in a day looms were no longer able to retain their workforce.
20150611 * Textile: Mills demand gas supply for 7 days a week:
Expressing dismay, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has opposed Sui Southern Gas Company’s (SSGC) decision to curtail gas supply to the industry for at least two days a week in Sindh.
In a statement, Aptma Sindh-Balochistan Region Chairman Tariq Saud said the regional chapter of the association had been asking the Ministry of Petroleum to direct SSGC to provide gas seven days a week to the industry.
He pointed out that as winter had passed and domestic gas consumption for heating purposes in interior Sindh was no longer required, supplies could be diverted to the industries.
“Our member mills have received notices that SSGC has decided to curtail the supply of gas in Sindh for at least two days a week.”
20150611 * Metro bus project Outages irk powerloom staff:
Scores of factory workers and owners of powerlooms on Wednesday staged a demonstration against excessive billing and increase in unannounced loadshedding after commencement of work on Metro Bus Project.
The protesters carrying banners and placards gathered at Chungi No 14 and blocked road for traffic by burning tyres. Powerloom Owners Association General Secretary Khaliq Qandeel Ansari led the demonstration.
The protesters chanted slogans against Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco).
They said powerlooms owners had already been suffering from financial losses due to the unannounced loadshedding as the export volume dropped for not meeting the supply orders.
20150611 * Call to achieve targets in textile sector:
National Textile University Rector Dr Arshad Ali has said that it is need of the hour to achieve the set targets for progress in the textile sector.
Talking to FCCI president Rizwan Ashraf and other office-bearers here on Wednesday, Dr Arshad underlined the importance of vision 2025 and told that he had written a letter to Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, to improve existing infrastructure in addition to infusing a new spirit with a positive change in our mindset.
He said that instead of depending on the government, we must collaborate to resolve our issues.
He said that 95 per cent of our textile industry was looked after by the NTU graduates.
They were fully aware of ground realities and issues faced by textile sector, he said and added that that they should be consulted on formulation of the proposed action plan in order to make it result-oriented on sustained basis.
20150611 * Yarn and cloth PYMA rejects increase in sales tax:
Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) rejected budgetary increase in sales tax on yarn and cloth as anti-trade and industry and termed it a drone attack on yarn and cloth business.
Central Chairman PYMA Qaisar Shamas Guccha, Zonal Chairman Muhammad Akram Pasha and Zonal Vice Chairman Adnan Zahid talking to newsmen stated that recent Budget has increased sales tax on Yarn and Cloth to 3% and 5% respectively from 2 and 3% previously.
Demanding withdrawal of yearly incremental sales tax they said that textile sector was already heavily burdened and imposition of additional sales tax on yarn and cloth would crush this sector.
20150611 * Textile trade: FCCI chief for all-out efforts towards increasing country’s share:
“Pakistan’s share in world textile trade of US 1.8 trillion dollars is only one percent despite of the fact that it is the fourth largest cotton producing country in the world and we have to make all-out efforts to increase our share to a reasonable level which should be proportionate to our potential.”
President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Engr Rizwan Ashraf stated this while talking to Dr Arshad Ali, new Rector of the National Textile University (NTU) and other ffaculty members who visited FCCI hereon Wednesday.
He said that Federal Minister for Planning Professor Ahsan Iqbal has fixed target of enhancing textile exports within 5 years to US 25 billion dollars from existing exports of US 13 billion dollars and then to US 150 billion dollars by 2025.
20150610 * Governor Mahtab likely to visit Bara soon:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan is expected to visit Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency in the near future.
It was learnt that he would inaugurate the power looms and silk factories which had been closed down after the Operation Khyber-1 was launched last year against the militants in Bara tehsil.
The owners of the power loom factories welcomed the news of the expected visit by the governor to the area for the inauguration of the closed factories.
The factories were established in three areas, including Karigar Garhi, Zulfiqar Garhi and Malik Garhi near Bara tehsil. “About 3,000 poor labourers were earning livelihood from the 39 power loom factories,” a factory owner, Niaz Ali Afridi, told The News.
He said the buildings of the factories were partially damaged while equipment of the power looms were rusted and disordered.
“When the operation was launched against the banned militant organisations Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Bara area, the owners of the factories shifted to safer places,” he said, adding that all the machineries out of order and threads lying useless now.
* SACTWU concludes R300 million wage agreement for clothing industry:
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), has resolved its 2015 clothing industry national wage increases with clothing employers.
The new wage rates were adopted by a normal Council meeting of the clothing industry bargaining council, earlier today.
The meeting was held in Cape Town, at the Head Office of the bargaining council.
Approximately 85 000 clothing workers nationally will benefit from the agreement.
The increases will come into effect on 1 September 2015, which is the normal due date for annual wage increases in the industry.
The increases emanate from a two year wage agreement signed with clothing employers in mid-September last year.
* African textile exports may reach $4b under US trade deal:
Africa’s textile and apparel exports to the United States could quadruple to $4 billion over the next decade through an extended duty-free trade treaty, a US official said on Wednesday.
The trade program known as the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), currently before American lawmakers, provides eligible sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the world’s top apparel market, giving Africa a competitive edge over suppliers such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.
The US administration has already called for Congress to renew the program well ahead of its expiry date of Sept. 30, 2015. The program, in which about 40 African countries are eligible to take part, could be extended another 10 years.
“Ten years is a game-changer,” said Gail Strickler, assistant United States trade representative for textiles and apparel, adding the extension could be passed “imminently”.
“Africa should be able to quadruple its exports, literally without a lot of trouble, creating another 500,000 new jobs.”
* ILO 2015 World Report on Child Labour:
Paving the way to decent work for young people
The second volume of the ILO World Report on Child Labour series highlights the close linkages between child labour and good youth employment outcomes, and the consequent need for common policy approaches to addressing challenges arising in countries where both child labour and youth unemployment prevail.
The Report presents empirical evidence of how child labour combined with limited education can lead to increased youth vulnerability and greater difficulties in transiting to good jobs.
This evidence includes results from the ILO School-to-Work Transition Survey (SWTS) programme, an unprecedented data collection effort allowing the analysis of the trajectories followed by youth to enter the world of work in a total of 28 low- and middle-income countries around the world.
The Report also reviews evidence of how the child labour-youth employment link can operate in the opposite direction, i.e., of how the difficulties faced by youth in the labour market can make personal investment in education less attractive as an alternative to child labour earlier in the lifecycle.
read more. & Download the Report
* ITUC Global Rights Index names world’s ten worst countries for workers:
The Gulf States are among the world’s worst countries for workers’ rights, while workers under European austerity measures endured the starkest deterioration of standards, according to the 2015 Global Rights Index.
The ITUC rights index ranks 141 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.
“Workers in the Gulf States where the draconian ‘kafala’ system is widespread endure many of the violations which make the Middle East and North Africa the world’s worst region for fundamental rights at work,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
“But in a worrying trend, European workers have witnessed the starkest deterioration of their rights in the last 12 months due to widespread government-imposed austerity measures taking effect.”
The International Trade Union Confederation has been collecting data on the abuse of trade union rights around the world for more than 30 years.
This is the second year the ITUC has presented its findings through the Global Rights Index, offering a snapshot for government and business to see how their laws and supply chains have deteriorated or improved in the last 12 months.
The ten worst countries for working people are Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and United Arab Emirates.
Other countries ranked lower but had worsening conditions this year in a clear negative trend for workers.
These nations were Burundi, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Iran, Georgia, Russia, United Kingdom and Spain.
“Workers in Colombia and Guatemala have been murdered for trying to negotiate better working conditions, while in Qatar and Saudi Arabia migrants continue to endure forced labour and labour law exclusions which amount to modern slavery.
“In 73 of 141 countries, workers faced dismissals, suspensions, pay cuts and demotions for attempting to negotiate better working conditions, while in 84 countries employers adopted illegal strategies to deny or delay bargaining with representative trade unions.
* G7 vows to improve working conditions in global supply chains:
The G7 group has agreed to strive for better conditions in global supply chains after pressure from the global labour movement.
“Unsafe and poor working conditions lead to significant social and economic losses and are linked to environmental damage,” the G7 group said in its leader’s declaration following this week’s summit in Berlin.
“Given our prominent share in the globalisation process, G7 countries have an important role to play in promoting labour rights, decent working conditions and environmental protection in global supply chains.”
In a bid to enhance transparency and accountability in supply chains, the G7 also encouraged business active or headquartered in G7 countries to implement due diligence procedures regarding their supply chains, such as voluntary due diligence plans or guides.
It welcomed the closing of the funding gap in the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund for compensating the victims of the factory collapse in 2013.
* Declaration G7 Summit 7 – 8 June 2015:
“Think Ahead. Act Together.”
You can read the declaration here: 20150608 g7-abschluss-eng
* Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secretive Deal Isn’t About Trade, But Corporate Control:
As negotiations continue, WikiLeaks has published leaked chapters of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership — a global trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries.
The TPP would cover 40 percent of the global economy, but details have been concealed from the public.
A recently disclosed “Investment Chapter” highlights the intent of U.S.-led negotiators to create a tribunal where corporations can sue governments if their laws interfere with a company’s claimed future profits.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warns the plan could chill the adoption of health and environmental regulations.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, let’s stay with the United States for a moment, with the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which certainly doesn’t only involve the United States, but there’s a huge debate within the United States about it right now.
And I dare say, some of that debate is as a result of what WikiLeaks revealed.
For some people, this treaty, that will determine 40 percent of the global economy, the only thing that we have seen about it comes from WikiLeaks. Explain what the TPP is and the information that you got, that you put out about this top-secret agreement.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, the TPP is an international treaty that has 29 different chapters. We have released four of them, and we are trying to get the remainder. For the information that has been released, through the chapters that we got hold of and through some congressmen who have seen the contents of some of the others, but they are not allowed to write it down—
Julian Assange on the connection between TPP, TTIP and TISA
20150610 * Robots Could Restore ‘Made in Germany’ Label to Adidas Shoes:
German cobbler Adi Dassler revolutionized running when he started hammering spikes into track shoes almost a century ago. Today most of the 258 million pairs of shoes produced each year by his firm Adidas are made in low-cost Asia.
That could soon change as cheaper, faster and more flexible robots mean manufacturing — including producing fiddly footwear — could be brought closer to consumers in high-wage countries like Germany, speeding up delivery and slashing freight costs in what some call a fourth industrial revolution.
Adidas is working with the German government, academics and robotics firms on new technologies it hopes will trigger a significant a shift in the footwear industry as the move led by its arch rival Nike to produce in Asia decades ago.
Jobs at risk
Key to moving footwear manufacturing closer to Western markets are technologies which cut the need for workers to piece together shoes.
A machine can now “knit” an upper like a sock, robots can already complete more of the final assembly of the shoe, while 3-D printing could soon allow the production of a customized sole.
That could threaten millions of jobs in the footwear industry in countries like China, Brazil and Vietnam, but potentially create new positions elsewhere, albeit for more highly skilled laborers working alongside robots.
Increasing speed to boost margins
Nike and Adidas each rely on more than 1 million workers in contract factories worldwide to make their shoes.
While the need for speed is one motivating factor, rising wage costs, particularly in China, are also driving the shift.
“That element is going up dramatically,” said Glenn Bennett, head of global operations for Adidas who leads the project aimed at getting products to shoppers faster than the six weeks needed for shipments to arrive from Asia.
Before the April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza catastrophe, 112 workers were killed in November 2012, also in Bangladesh, at the Tazreen factory. And just before that, in September 2012, 259 workers were killed at the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, Pakistan. And 89 workers were killed in 2005 in a building collapse in Bangladesh.
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for the sewing machine operators who make your clothes.
We should turn first to the notoriously cutthroat global apparel industry for accountability. No budget for safety doors or fire drills, much less decent wages, is available when the big brands are cutting prices every year.