Minimum wages increased, but further systemic change needed
Since 2010 the minimum wages in Bangladesh raised by up to 81 percent. However, systems for annual reviews of the minimum wages adjusting them to increasing living costs are missing. The wage level in the Bangladeshi garment industry has in the past many years only been revised in 2006 and 2010. In the same period living costs has increased, resulting in a reduction in the minimum wages in real terms.
H&M is committed to its long term supplier relations in Bangladesh and remains committed to the relationships even with increased wages. For several years now, H&M demands from supplier factories to comply with applicable minimum wages or collective bargaining agreements, which is monitored through extensive audit programs.
In September 2012, Karl-Johan Persson met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka to present H&M’s request for a further increase of the minimum wage and particular a development of annual wage reviews for workers in the textile industry.
H&M believes that higher wages and annual reviews are both in the interest of the Bangladeshi textile industry and H&M. The mutual interest serves to ensure that the textile industry continues to develop into an advanced and mature industry and to better the lives for millions of workers throughout the entire industry.
Still, further systemic change is needed and the challenges are complex and diverse. Besides influencing governments, H&M works to strengthen the social dialogue in our supplier factories and reward those that have trade union representation and functioning worker committees in place.