Swedish brand Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is set to adjust the prices of its clothing manufactured in Bangladesh to counterbalance the rise in worker wages in the country. Following weeks of protests from garment workers advocating for a more substantial increase in their monthly wages, the Bangladesh government announced a 56 per cent hike in minimum wages for workers to 12,500 taka, effective from December 2024.
Initially, garment manufacturers in Bangladesh expressed concerns that such a wage increase could impact their profit margins for orders. H&M's decision to adjust prices is seen as a proactive measure to ensure fair wages for workers, according to Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert. He anticipates other brands may follow suit in implementing similar measures.
As the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garments after China, Bangladesh currently employs 4 million garment workers, and the industry contributed one-tenth of the country's GDP in 2022. The move by H&M reflects the broader challenges and adjustments faced by the garment industry in response to evolving labor conditions and demands for fair wages.