H&M CEO to Bangladesh: raise minimum wages

H&M CEO to Bangladesh: raise minimum wages
The head of Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Karl-Johan Persson, on Wednesday urged Bangladesh to allow raises to its minimum wage, the Financial Times said, amid worker unrest following the world's worst single garment industry disaster, which killed more than 1,100 people.

“I want the salaries to be revised yearly, as in most other countries. So we’re definitely willing to pay more but we have to find a good, sustainable way for the workers and for the country as well,” Persson told the FT in an interview.

The chief executive of the world’s second biggest clothing retailer added:

“I would happily sit around a table and talk to all the other big buyers from Bangladesh.”

The minimum wage in Bangladesh has remained below $40 per month since 2010, while inflation has been running at more than 8.0 percent per year, and H&M said in its annual report in March that it had been working on the minimum wage issue with officials in Dhaka for several years.

On Sunday, the government said it had set up a commission to raise the level.

H&M was one of the clothing giants which said on Monday that it would sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety following the disaster at a garment factory that supplied Western retailers.

The agreement, which is due to be formally signed in the coming days, commits retailers to paying for factory repairs and ensuring an efficient system for building and fire safety inspection.

Bangladesh is the world’s second biggest exporter of clothing. Conditions in the country have come under intense scrutiny since a nine-storey building outside the capital collapsed on April 24, killing 1,127 people, most of them garment workers.

AFP/The Local/dl

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