Base wage of Ethiopia’s textile worker is $26 a month

by Textile Quotient News Desk
10 May 2019

The government & international retailers should advocate the minimum wage

On its way to become a major garment-exporting nation, Ethiopia’s textile worker’s pay is extremely low which isn’t enough to live on, even in Ethiopia. Entry-level workers in Ethiopian garment manufacturing, most of whom are young women, are typically paid a base salary worth only $26 a month. This has been revealed by the NYU Stern Centre for Business and Human Rights. Ethiopia has ambitions for a multibillion-dollar industry, but if wages remain below what is needed to afford housing and food, sustained growth will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Ethiopia has no legally mandated minimum wage for the private sector. The worker’s unions have played no role in organizing workers or raise voice for better wage and overall well being of the workers.

In theory, the Ethiopian law assures freedom of association, but the country has a weak trade union movement, which hasn’t attempted to organize employees at the industrial park. NYU strongly feels that the international brands can lessen these challenges for suppliers and their employees by aligning business practices with realities in Ethiopia. They should assure long-term sourcing commitments, investment in on-boarding and on-the job training. They should ask the factory owners to provide meals, transportation, and housing subsidies to the workers so that they are left with their wages in hand.

The NYU recommends that the Ethiopian government and Western brands take steps to improve the overall status of the workers. It should establish a minimum wage that ensures decent living conditions for garment workers and at the same time they have to see that it doesn’t drive away foreign investors.

There is dire need to build up home grown middle management, which would understand the workers and vice versa.

Ethiopia Industry Update News

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