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Lifting of WTO's MFA hurts Cambodian apparel workers
May '12
The abolition of the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) multi-fibre agreement (MFA) on textile trade quotas has worsened the condition of workers in Cambodian and Sri Lankan garment and textile sectors, according to a World Bank report on the textile industry.

The 2005 liberalization of WTO's quota rules have especially affected women workers, according to the report.

The report states the intensified global competition, particularly with China, led to a fall in apparel prices, which drove wages downwards in Sri Lankan and Cambodian clothing sectors.

In Cambodia, pay and mandatory or unpaid overtime work situation worsened in apparel export sector after the quotas were phased out, the report mentions.

Similarly, on a different yardstick comparing pay to food prices, working conditions declined in Sri Lanka during the post-MFA period, the study says.

The report notes that majority of workers in both Cambodian and Sri Lankan textile and garment sectors are women. It states that the wage difference between female and male workers further increased during the post quotas phase-out period.

After the 2005 MFA abolition, the female-male wage gap in Cambodia rose from 12 percent in 2004 to 13.3 percent in 2008. However, the gap again reduced to 11.5 percent in 2009.

In Sri Lanka, women workers in the apparel sector were paid 40 percent less than their male counterparts in 2002. This difference widened to 55 percent in 2006 and reduced to 44 percent in 2008, according to the report.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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