H&M has been working actively towards establishing a fair living wage in Bangladesh for a number of years

H&M has been working actively towards establishing a fair living wage in Bangladesh for a number of years

The chief executive of H&M, Karl-Johan Persson, has highlighted the need for annual wage revisions in Bangladesh in line with local price inflation.

The comments came during a meeting yesterday (14 October) with the country's Minister of Commerce, Tofail Ahmed.

"We see that costs in society are negating many of the positive effects of increased wages. This is due to the absence of efficient systems of cost control leaving both workers and business owners in a difficult situation," Persson said.

The retailer has for a number of years been working towards establishing a fair living wage in Bangladesh - a key supplier country from which H&M sources products from around 300 factories employing over 600,000 workers.

"To ensure the needs of workers, as well as the continued competitiveness of the Bangladeshi textile industry, further actions are required," Persson added.

"Therefore, a continued wage development through annual revisions based on cost price index is necessary. H&M also encourage the government to address the issue of cost regulation on, for example, rent and basic commodities."

Persson also highlighted the importance of establishing a structure for compensation in case of workplace accidents and greater government attention on the shortage of clean water, which could lead to major health issues as well as a halt to the development of the Bangladeshi textile industry.

"For H&M it is important that the Bangladeshi garment industry is further stabilised, since foreign trade in general and specifically garment production plays a major role in the industrial development of emerging markets," the chief executive said. "Finding a job in the textile industry is an effective and important way to leave poverty for many people, not least for women."

During the two-day visit, Persson also met with BGMEA leaders at the H&M office in Dhaka to discuss issues related to the RMG industry and visited a number of garment factories.

The Commerce Minister praised H&M for the steps it has taken to improve workplace safety in the garment industry.