Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers ‘ Planet’s lowest paid

Ethiopian garment factory workers are the lowest paid in any significant garment-producing company worldwide, typically, a new report says.

The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes by encouraging the garment industry to set up shop in its industrial parks that are nascent as among the fastest-growing economies of Africa, Ethiopia, pursues a bold experiment.

In comparison, Chinese garment workers and people in Kenya make $340 and $207, respectively and $95 is earned by those in Bangladesh.

Drawn by the newly constructed industrial parks plus a range of monetary incentives, manufacturers for a number of the world’s bestselling brands — among those H&M, Gap, and PVH — use tens of thousands of workers in a sector the government forecasts will one day possess billions of dollars in earnings.

The new report is based on a visit earlier this season to the Hawassa Industrial Park that now employs 25,000 people and opened in southern Ethiopia.

According to the report, many young workers are barely able to get by towards the end of the month and are unable to encourage relatives.

The minimum yearly living wage in Ethiopia is about $110), based on Ayele Gelan, a research economist in the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

“Given comparatively small training, restive workers have protested by quitting work or stopping entirely. Productivity in the Hawassa factories generally is low, whilst employee disillusionment and attrition are large,” the report says.

Ethiopian politics are also suddenly disrupting factory operations. “The government should address ethnic pressure in Hawassa and everywhere,” the report says.

It calls on the authorities to execute a strategy for strengthening the apparel industry and set a minimum wage that guarantees adequate living conditions.

Abebe Abebayehu, head of the Investment Commission of Ethiopia, told the AP that apparel and garment factories prefer to find in places with reduced labor costs.

“If this was not the situation, Chinese companies wouldn’t come back to Ethiopia,” Abebe said. He also contested the report’s monthly pay amount of $26 a month”That is a basic salary but in Ethiopia the factories also offer a office meal along with other services.”

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