Corporate Campaigns For Workers Rights
3 October 2012 at 9:53 am
Photo courtesey H&M
A Swedish corporate executive has taken on a campaign to improve the wages and conditions of textile workers in its supply chain in third world Bangladesh.
Swedish clothing giant H&M’s Chief Executive has travelled to Bangladesh to ask its Prime Minister to increase the minimum wage for the nation’s textiles workers.
The company says Swedish CEO Karl-Johan Persson met PM Sheik Hasina and outlined that the Bangladeshi government take into consideration national inflation and the consumer price index when reviewing the local minimum wage.
“Since foreign trade plays a major role in the development of countries as a source of economic growth, we believe that it is in the interest of the Bangladeshi textile industry, as well as in our interest, that the industry continues to develop into an advanced and mature textile industry,” Persson said.
“Stable markets in which people are treated with respect, and where the workers are properly compensated by their employers, are of the utmost importance.”
According to H&M, Bangladesh has only revised the minimum wage for textile workers twice since it was set in 1994. They are calling for a review into the system taking into account data recorded by the World Bank in the increase to the inflation rate.
H&M has bought from suppliers in Bangladesh since 1882 and opened a production office in the national capital Dhaka a year later. The Swedish clothing company does not own the factories in the country and therefore cannot determine staff wages in the region, a power reserved by the government.
The company released a statement on its website saying that as a company with a clear commitment to workers’ rights and to doing business in Bangladesh, H&M looks forward to prompt action regarding the minimum wage issue and the question of annual wage reviews for workers in the Bangladeshi textile industry.l
According to the Wall Street Journal, the minimum wage in Bangladesh is US$36 a month.