A new report has shown that factory workers in Ethiopia who make clothes are the ‘worst paid in the world’.
Researchers say these workers on average earn $26 a month which is the lowest base wage in garment-producing countries.
The research was conducted by officials of the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
The findings focused on the situation at the Hawassa Industrial Park which so far employs some 25,000 workers.
Authors of the report accused the Ethiopian government of assuring “Asian suppliers and western buyers that Ethiopian sewing machine operators would contentedly accept low base pay now set at $26 a month.”
“The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country” the report continued.
The researchers lamented that “On that amount… workers cannot afford decent housing, food or transportation.”
The report revealed that the Ethiopian government officials blamed the low base pay on “inadequate factory efficiency”.
There were also signals that local factory clothes makers in Ethiopia were being abused by foreign supervisors.
According to the report “some foreign managers from south and east Asia shout at workers to get their attention.”
But in Ethiopia shouting at a person is considered offensive, however these foreign managers get away with it.
There are not enough unions of workers to push through reforms and better working conditions for these workers, the report found.
According to AP clothes factory workers in Kenya earn $207 monthly, while Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month.
Ethiopia’s garment making industry is an important aspect of its economy. The country rakes in some $145 million in export of apparel making.
The report however recommended that Ethiopian government introduces a minimum wage policy for the garment making industry.
It also recommended that the introduction of a long term economic policy to revamp the industry and increase earnings of workers.