Radar | Sep 18,2021
Five companies operating in Hawassa Industrial Park have rejected the rights of nearly 6,000 employees to form labour unions.
Managers of Arvind Lifestyle Apparel, JP Textile, JP Garment, Isabella Socks, and Everest Textile have declined to allow their workers to form labour unions despite a decision to organise workers employed by companies in the Park. A tripartite meeting was held two months ago between officials of the former Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs, representatives of the Industrial Parks Development Corporation, and senior managers of companies operating in the Park. The executives of 15 companies operating in the Park allowed their employees to form and join labour unions.
Leaders of the Textile, Leather & Garment Workers' Trade Union wrote a letter to the CEOs of the five companies three weeks ago. They demanded explanations from the senior executives of these companies for the rationale for rejecting workers rights to organise for a collective bargain.
Yidinekachew Matewos, human resources manager at JP Garment, specialising in woven shirts and loungewear, said the company was not asked to consent to form a labour union.
“The CEO of JP Garment already sent a letter to the Ethiopian Investment Commission asking for an explanation on the matter,” he told Fortune.
JP Garment employs 718 people.
A senior manager of Arvind Lifestyle, who requested anonymity, admits the company's workers have formed no labour union. Close to 700 people work at Arvind.
“But this does not mean that the company is against the formation of labour unions,” he said.
Executives of JP Textile, Isabella Socks, and Everest Textile were not available for comment.
JP Textile and Isabella Socks employ 715 and 712 workers, respectively, while Everest Textile leads the pack in Hawassa Industrial Park, employing the largest labour force of 2,911 workers.
Three other companies failed to let their workers form unions, according to people following the dispute. Ontex Hygienic is to relocate its factories outside the Park while Quadrant Apparel is yet to start operation. The third company, KGG Garments, is closing down its facility.
By constructing industrial parks along key economic corridors, Ethiopian authorities hoped to create jobs and boost export revenues attracting foreign investments. The federal government embarked on the development of industrial parks in 2011, building 10 industrial parks. Settled on 400ht of land, Hawassa Industrial Park was the first and the largest of these parks, employing close to 30,000 people. The companies operating in the park generated 114 million dollars in export revenues, with the United States and Europe buying the most.
Compared to many other countries, the workers are paid meagre wages, leading labour union organisers to push employers for better pay.
Elfnesh Tadele, a mother of one, has worked at TAL Apparel for the last five years. Her monthly salary stands at 1,300 Br, or 27 dollars at official exchange rates. It is a far lower wage compared to over 120 dollars workers in Kenya's apparel industry earn.
“My expectation from the labour union is to negotiate on behalf of workers and increase their salaries,” she told Fortune.
If employers do not cave in, leaders will form labour unions without their consent, warns Angesom Gebreyohannes, president of the Federation, representing 54,000 members.
However, the number of companies that have consented to the formation of labour unions jumped last month from two to 15, employing 22,705 workers. Workers for Hong Kong-based TAL Apparel, which began operation in 2017 and currently exports dress shirts to the US, are among the employees who have formed and joined labour unions.
PUBLISHED ON Oct 30,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1122]
Radar | Sep 18,2021
Fortune News | Jun 15,2019
Agenda | Jul 17,2022
Radar | Sep 11,2020
Fortune News | Apr 29,2023
Radar | Dec 21,2019
Fortune News | Apr 26,2019
Radar | Dec 21,2019
Fortune News | Oct 21,2023
Fortune News | Apr 22,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Dec 2 , 2023
The symphony of traffic noise in Addis Abeba is not just a sign of life, but a siren...
Nov 25 , 2023
Ethiopia's quest to develop a functioning capital market is a demanding yet not unach...
Nov 18 , 2023
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made a fervent call for landlocked Ethiopia to ga...
Nov 11 , 2023
In November last year, a ray of hope pierced the gloomy skies of Ethiopia as the Pret...
I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. It is my go to source for information. I enjoy interacting with text messages and browsing t...
Over the weekend, I attended a wedding where my husband was one of the protocols. Despite the typical joy...
Or see contact page