The ILO in collaboration with the tripartite partners; Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, Ethiopian Employers’ Confederation and Ethiopian Industry Employers’ Confederation officially launched the programme ‘Advancing Decent Work and Inclusive Industrialization in Ethiopia’ on July 3, 2019.
The programme was launched in the presence of Her Excellency Minister Dr. Erogie Tesfay, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In her opening remark Dr. Ergogie emphasized on the government key development priority of creating employment and Decent Work that brings about increased productivity and competitiveness.
”The government of Ethiopia recognizes that an inclusive and job rich growth through decent work is the backbone for achieving the Growth and Transformation Plan vision of becoming a middle income country by 2025” Dr.Egogie stressed. The Garment and Textile industries are the priority sector in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Government has set out plans to increase its textile and garment exports by US $ 1 billion through its Second Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II). The sector is also expected to create more than 300,000 jobs during the planed period.
“our government is not only looking for attracting investment that can create more jobs but is focused on attracting quality investment that creates decent jobs and significantly change workers life” emphasized Minister Dr. Ergogie.
ILO’s Programme places decent and human-centered approaches as cornerstone of the future of industrialization here in Ethiopia with an initial focus on the Garment and Textile Industry. At the national level, under the leadership of the tripartite partners the project will facilitate dialogue among multiple stakeholders in developing common vision and strategies to make Ethiopia an African hub of socially responsible production of garment for both global and domestic market. The programme will also support the tripartite constituents for fixing minimum wage as well as enhance the capacity of government institution to prevent and resolve labour dispute. At the regional and sectorial level, the project will assist labour administration in strengthening the capacity of its inspectors. At the same time, the programme aims to establish a robust, sustainable and inclusive compliance system. To ensure occupational health and safety, the programme also aims to establish sustainable work place injury prevention, protection and compensation system. At the factory level, the project is providing demand-driven capacity building support to improve factory productivity, working conditions and industrial relations. This includes supervisory, human resource skills and incorporates gender equality and diversity principles to encourage women workers reach leadership positions.
The event also hosted ILO's Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships Mr Moussa Oumarou who also highlighted the importance of inclusive industrialization;
“The huge opportunity of the garment industry in Ethiopia is that it will create sustainable business, offer jobs to the low skilled, to young workers, to women workers and to migrant workers. These are the very people needs to be included when we talk of inclusive and sustainable growth”. He further emphasized on ILO’s commitment to support Ethiopia in the industrialization process. “My participation at this launch is a commitment that as ILO we will bring the very best of our skills and experience to the service of our constituents as they seek to implement the Programme.”
Mr Kassahun Follo, president of Confederation for Ethiopian trade Union highlighted the various challenged workers in the industry face and urged the tripartite constituent to play their role in the ensuring Decent Work for all; “The right to unionize, low wages, housing shortage leading to harassment of employees, occupational safety issues are some of the challenges in the garment sector faces. We need to work together to ensure these challenges are addressed”
Representative from the Ethiopian Industry Employers’ Federation Ato Dawit Moges specified that EIEC is collaborating with government, ILO and other partners to ensure Decent Work and increase Ethiopia’s competitiveness in the global value chain.
Promoting sound industrial relations, strengthening enterprise level practices and building labour inspectorate capacity will be the major objective for the programme during the first phase of the implementation period.