Better Work - Ethiopia
Better Work is a comprehensive program that brings together all levels of the apparel industry to improve working conditions and respect of labor rights for workers, while boosting the competitiveness of apparel businesses. As a result of their participation with Better Work, export apparel factories in Ethiopia have improved compliance with labor law including issues of compensation, contracts, occupational safety and health and working time. By enhancing working conditions, Better Work Ethiopia increases the factories’ productivity and profitability.
The garment and textile industries are among the priorities of the Ethiopian Government under the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII). According to the Plan of Action for Job Creation 2020-2025, employment in the textiles and apparel industry was estimated at 798,752 in 2018 and is forecast to grow 86% through 2025, creating more than 683,000 new direct jobs such as sewing and cutting and almost 868,000 new indirect jobs such as sourcing, shipping and handling, transport and catering. However, poor working conditions and low wages, which result in low productivity, high turnover, and absentee rates; weak regulatory institutions; and limited capacity of workers’ and employers’ organizations hinder the proper functioning of the labor market and businesses environment.
The overarching goal of the program is improved respect of workers’ rights, leading to greater income and compensation, safety, equality, voice, and representation. The program also aims to lift industrial productivity and competitiveness to enable a global competitive textile and garment sector; and encourage accountable and transparent government institutions. The program works at national, regional, industry, and factory levels involving different ILO departments and global programs to advance decent work in Ethiopia.
Under the umbrella programme - Advancing Decent Work and Inclusive Industrialization in Ethiopia (SIRAYE), Better Work Ethiopia (BWE) has been implementing factory level interventions to establish a robust, sustainable and inclusive compliance system. This project will complement and strengthen the ongoing BWE effort with a particular focus on gender equality and women empowerment. The overall project goal is to improve the status of women workers in terms of career advancement, work environment, and representation in the textile and garment sector of Ethiopia. Three high level outcomes listed below lead the project in to the overall goal. These are: 1) More women workers advance in their jobs with higher positions and/or salary, 2) Workplaces provide a safer and less discriminatory environment for women, and 3) Women workers’ representation is augmented on labour issues in the workplace.
Better Work Ethiopia is currently operating in 47 factories, benefiting 53,883 workers.