Bangladesh: Yunus proposes Garment Industry Transparency Initiative (GITI), `Happy Workers Tag’, global minimum wage

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Berlin’s The Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, on the suggestion of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, will organize a global conference to launch Garment Industry Transparency Initiative (GITI). Prof Yunus suggested this during a preparatory conference last week, at the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin to address the issues raised in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza tragedy.

Prof Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International, worked to create GITI, following the example of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). The approach is set out as a joint approach of governments, factory owners, labor, the retailing companies, and the civil society in both producing and consuming countries.

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GITI does not intend to compete with other efforts, but rather support these and complement their actions. Yunus Centre in Dhaka and the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance are jointly working on the initiative.
Prof Yunus also proposed an international minimum wage for garment workers to be worked out for each country separately, as part of a global effort to solve labor issues in all garment producing nations.
The wage, he said, should be accepted as a compliance issue, and should not be a subject of any price negotiation. International buyers will accept it as part of production cost and make sure price negotiation should not impact on this wage in any country, Yunus said.

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He put forward the idea of creating social businesses to offer “Happy Workers Tags” at an additional cost of minimum 10% on top of the production cost. The money will be used by social businesses to deliver important social and health services for a specific period, to the specific group of workers involved in producing the tagged garments.

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A six-member steering committee co-chaired by Yunus and Eigen was also created at the conference. A formal launch has been set for October 14 in Berlin.

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