Breaking news

Ethiopian textile unions campaign to end poverty wages


Wages as low as 600 Ethiopian Birr  (ETB) per month (US$20) continue to haunt workers in Ethiopia’s textile and garment sector. Salaries are not enough for workers, over 90 per cent women, to pay for transport, food and housing orsupport a family. These workers are part of Ethiopia’s working poor, while making clothes for brands from Europe, the US and Asia including H&M, Tchibo, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein

To end poverty wages, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Industrial Federation of Textile, Leather and Garment Workers Trade Unions (IFTLGWU) is amongst the unions leading the campaign for better wages, workers’ rights to organize, and collective bargaining.

The campaign targets the industrial parks set up by the government including Bole Lemi in Addis Ababa where South Korean garment manufacturer, Shints, employs 4,300 workers, of whom 3,800 are union members. Other parks targeted by the campaign are Hawassa and Mekele.

Unions see minimum wages as a starting point in reversing the low wages and are demanding that they be included in the new labour laws under consideration. Eventually the unions want to shift the campaign to living wages.

Unions are campaigning for minimum wages above ETB 3373 (US$121). These wages can be pegged using the official minimum wage, ETB1800 (US$64)), or the consumer price index, ETB2400 (US$86). Current wages average below US$50.

Meetings have taken place between the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) and various stakeholders including the ILO. There were also meetings with the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to discuss minimum wages.

IndustriALL director for the textile and garment sector, Christina Hajagos-Clausen, who will speak at a workshop on organizing in the supply chain in Addis Ababa later this month says:

We support Ethiopian unions on the introduction of minimum wages to set at a level of a living wage. We demand further that workers be paid what other garment workers earn globally.

Therefore, we are promoting global framework agreements in the sector to stop global brands from exploiting cheap labour in developing countries. Living wages can lift workers out of poverty.


Disclaimer: All third-party opinions expressed via IASWI accounts linked to and from this page are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent those of IASWI or its affiliates. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied. To discuss this disclaimer or the removal of appropriate credit for materials of which you hold copyright please contact us. All the third party videos and contents found on is not hosted on our servers; all third party videos or contents are hosted on a third party site. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and news sources on the do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the IASWI or official policies of the IASWI. These posts are only generated for the purpose of information sharing on the labour related issues.

Leave a Reply