Ethiopian textile workers are the world’s worst paid

Days after a damning report on low paid laborers,  the Swedish fashion giant H&M says it is committed to ensuring that workers who produce some of its items from Ethiopian factories receive fair wages. The released report titled “Made in Ethiopia: Challenges in the Garment Industry’s New Frontier” revealed that Ethiopian labourers at garment workshops are the worst-paid in the world.

The report stated some of the world’s biggest fashion brands including H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and others, source items from Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s long-held ambitions to become the world’s next big destination for textile and fashion production has not panned out as planned. Entry-level workers in the country’s garment industry allegedly earn a mere $26 a month, according to the study from New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

While the government has overseen directives to attract global investment in the sector, that hasn’t translated into prosperity for the employees, who struggle to save, send money home, or afford basic necessities like housing or food.

“In their eagerness to create a ‘Made in Ethiopia’ brand, the government, global brands, and foreign manufacturers failed to anticipate that the base wage was simply too little for workers to live on,” said Paul Barrett, who authored the report. Ethiopia has no official minimum wage for the private sector.


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