“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. Stable markets in which people are treated with respect, and where the workers are properly compensated by their employers, are of the utmost importance,” says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M.
H&M urges the Bangladeshi government to consider an annual review of the local minimum wage that takes national inflation and the consumer price index into consideration. Since the minimum wage for textile workers was first set in 1994, it has only been revised twice, in 2006 and 2010. Since 2010, there has been an increase in the inflation rate that has been recorded by World Bank data in 2011 and 2012. If a proper review system is created and enforced, these revisions will help address the basic needs of the workers and bring greater stability to the market. This in turn will help employers and buyers to work together and focus on productivity as well as on developing a constructive framework to improve resource efficiency in the textile and garment sector.
Bangladesh is an important buying market for H&M. H&M has been buying from suppliers in Bangladesh since 1982 and opened a production office in Dhaka in 1983. H&M does not own any factories or make decisions on wages, but like all companies buying products from Bangladesh, H&M has a responsibility towards everyone contributing to the success. The Bangladeshi government is the only body with the power to increase the minimum wage.
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.
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