Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

Filed under: News |

By ELIAS MESERET | Associated Press

Ethiopian factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says.

The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks.

“The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month and those in Kenya earn monthly pay of $207.

Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for some of the world’s best-known brands — among them H&M, Gap, and PVH — employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales.

The new report is based on a visit to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. Ethiopian leaders often show off the industrial park, 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Addis Ababa, to visiting foreign dignitaries.

According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members.

“Given relatively little training, restive employees have protested by stopping work or quitting altogether. Productivity in the Hawassa factories typically is low, while worker disillusionment and attrition are high,” the report says.

Ethiopian politics are also unexpectedly disrupting factory operations. “The Ethiopian government should address ethnic tension in Hawassa and elsewhere,” the report says.

It calls on the government to implement a long-term economic plan for strengthening the apparel industry and establish a minimum wage that ensures decent living conditions.

5 Responses to Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

  1. DID A PEASANT MAKE YOUR CLOTHES?

    Ethiopia’s peasants are said to be the lowest paid garment labor with unsafe working conditions . The peasant Garment workers in Ethiopia are said to be paid less than half what garment workers in anywhere in the world including in countries such as Bangladesh and Kenya are getting paid.

    Garment Factories for the SHEMANE!!!

    Kassa Kebede
    May 7, 2019 at 5:47 am
    Reply

  2. USA is a bad place for workers.
    USA got bad workers rights laws making USA as bad place to work at as Iraq , Sierra Leonne , Haiti and Iran are.

    Noone said USA is good place to work, the only thing good about working in USA is it pays, in Ethiopia a country with only 300,000 trade Union members they work for next to free wages while work place abuse is rampant.

    Halima
    May 8, 2019 at 1:59 am
    Reply

    • Noone forced the youth to be garment workers, actually EPRDF has encouraged unemployed Ethiopians to create jobs themselves since 1991.

      Since 1991 EPRDF had time and time again announced the safe of Ethiopia which Derg left is empty, and the best solution for those who are unemployed is to be creative and invent jobs for themselves.

      These garment workers can quit their jobs anytime since Ethiopia got other 50 million people under age 18, who will work not for the money but for the experience , this is a stepping stool job not a career.

      Chang
      May 8, 2019 at 5:58 am
      Reply

  3. Soon the employees will start taking garments out their pockets and selling it on their own, just to cope up with the cost of living of the country.

    Pearland
    May 9, 2019 at 7:47 am
    Reply

  4. What is the intention of confusing people? Though some employee of foreign Ethiopians lacks to work devotedly, many mess have been convicted on those foreign investors.

    It should not be a surprise why Ethiopians workers got lowest wage as it is obvious to all. Unfortunately, most Ethiopians are far beyond to ask at least legitimately for their wage.

    What is behind the curtain is that those foreign investors exporting their dollar to their mother land or else spent it unwisely here are at the expense of those garment workers.

    So, don’t do garbage in garbage out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yetesfa Chilanchele
    May 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm
    Reply

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