in the news 15-22 February 2018


* H&M, C&A, 3M investigate China prison labour report

European fashion giants H&M and C&A, as well as technology company 3M, are looking into a report in the Financial Times alleging that inmates of a Chinese prison made packaging used by the companies.

C&A’s chief sustainability officer Jeffrey Hogue said the privately-held company owned by Swiss-based Cofra Holding AG took the allegations very seriously and was investigating.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for any form of modern slavery including forced, bonded or prison labour.
If we detect a case, we immediately terminate our relationship with the supplier,” Hogue said in an emailed statement.

Peter Humphrey, a British corporate investigator and former journalist, spent 23 months in jail in China for allegedly obtaining private records of Chinese citizens and selling the information on to clients including drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc, charges he has denied.

In an article for the Financial Times last week, Humphrey described his time in jail, including work the prisoners did: “Our men made packaging parts. I recognised well-known brands – 3M, C&A, H&M.”

* ‘I was locked inside a steel cage’:

Peter Humphrey on his life inside a Chinese prison In an article in the FT it is alleged, by a former Reuters journalist and anti-corruption consultant in China, who was arrested in China, that the prison inmates were forced to produce clothes for *3M, C&A, H&M
” So much for corporate social responsibility, though the companies may well have been unaware that prison labour was part of their supply chain. “
You have to subscribe to read the article.
Here you can read the article in a pdf: 20180216 I was locked inside a steel cage-Peter Humphrey on his life inside a Chinese prison


* Final version of Trans-Pacific trade deal released, rules pushed by US on ice

* Long-awaited CPTPP presents opportunities and pitfalls


* Workers protest for cash instead of leave
Nearly 1,000 workers from a shoe factory in Kampong Cham province’s Chherng Prey district protested yesterday for the fifth time to demand that the company pay their remaining annual leave as cash…

* Shoe factory workers stage rolling protests

* Workers ask for release of unionists

* Union reps charged for ‘organising illegal strike’

* Court seizes factory property
Kandal Provincial Court officials and relevant authorities yesterday confiscated property from the Gawon Apparel factory in Kandal province’s Takhmao city after the court issued a protection warrant late last year.

Rann Bora, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said yesterday thatauthorities confiscated the factory’s property, but he was not aware if it had to temporarily close.

Early last month, the factory fired nearly 600 employees for breaching a court warrant ordering them back to work after months of protests.

The workers had been staging protests for many months, with several staff sleeping outside the factory.

* Factory owners to be sued if they flee

* Workers sell machines to cover missing wages

* PM seeks action on missing wages

* Chinese man charged for beating garment workers
A Chinese national was provisionally charged and sent to pre-trial detention on Saturday for intentional violence after garment workers at Kandal-based Bing Win Garment protested his alleged beating of two women on the factory floor.

The incident occurred on Thursday, when Xue Shu Bing, 50, was accused of hitting a factory worker, who proceeded to faint, and later hitting another woman….

* Major garment industry hauler says crackdown ensnaring legal trucks

* Garment sector still plagued by truck bans

* Garment wages soar

* Exports up despite a slight drop in the number of factories
…“In the garment sector, some businesses lease small factories. When their contract comes to an end, the factory closes. By contrast, bigger factories continue to operate as long as they are profitable,”..

* Garment workers injured in truck crash

* Groups call for charges against activists to be dropped


* Striking garment workers return to work after deal

* VisionFund Myanmar launches loan scheme for factory workers
VisionFund Myanmar recently announced the launch of a new microfinance loan product exclusively for garment factory workers, funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), according to a press release on 16 February.

The loans were first launched at the ZES garment factory located in Hlaing Thar Yar Township, with over 160 workers availing themselves of the facility, which will subsequently be extended to other factories.

Many workers in the garment sector have migrated to Yangon from rural areas. Research informing LIFT’s migration programme shows that around 20 per cent – one in five people – in Myanmar are migrating within the country, moving from rural areas to urban areas to find better jobs and training opportunities to support themselves, their families and communities back in rural areas…

* Dawei SEZ is for the few, not the many

* Petition calls on Yangon government to control factories disposing of waste water

* Government sees rise in child workers


* Garment industry boom leaving workers behind

* ILO panel once again calls for a robust labour law

* Bring EPZ unit inspections under labour inspectorate

* Accord reports garment factories remediated 82% hazardous issues


* 400MW solar power possible from textile units’ rooftops: study

* Remediation Progress Update
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh


* RMG market expansion faces lots of challenges

* Exploring new markets will sustain RMG sector, say participants at a workshop

* How spinning business can be made sustainable

* Automation threatens garment jobs

* The Robots Are Coming for Garment Workers

* Factory waste pollutes Halda

* Bangladesh losing RMG market share in US

* Denim exports to US decline

* Leather goods exporters stare at tough times

* Lack of diversification challenge: BFTI study
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute has identified product and market concentration, lower productivity of workers and lack of mid-level professionals as major challenges for the readymade garment business in Bangladesh.
Despite having potentials in Commonwealth of Independent States, Oceania and Latin American
countries, high tariff and non-tariff barriers have been hindering the export of RMG to the regions, observed a BFTI study published on Tuesday.

As per the instruction of a taskforce on the RMG sector under the commerce ministry, the BFTI conducted the survey titled ‘Expansion and Facilitation of the RMG sector of Bangladesh’ and presented its summary at a workshop organised by the ministry at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital….


* Electricity connections of nine illegal textile units disconnected

* Maharashtra government allows privatisation of cooperative spinning mills
In a bid to script a turnaround of cooperative spinning mills and powerloom societies, the state government has decided to allow them to go in for privatisation.
A new state textile department policy allows them to change land use, which means they can use it for reasons other than industrial purpose…

* Textile exports fall 13% in January

* After a decade-long wait, Textile Museum set to be reality

* Government postpones Indian Labour Conference fearing backlash from trade unions


* Textile industry demands withdrawal of power surcharge

* Textile sector irked by delay in refunds

* Textile industry associations to call on CM Punjab for issues’ resolution

* Govt considering energy subsidy for Punjab textile mills

* Textile exports jump 13%

* Pakistan wins EU praise for meeting GSP Plus criteria

* Bonded labour in Pakistan: a humanitarian crisis



* B’deshi apparel workers get low wages in Mauritius, Jordan


See more:

latest tweets (& news)

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

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

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

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

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