Honduran textile and apparel industry workers received a minimum wage increase of 38.5 percent over the next five years under an agreement between representatives of the workers and employers.
The deal was announced by Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández, who stressed that the agreement, which runs from 2019 through 2023, will allow for greater development of the industry and create certainty to domestic and foreign investors.
Mario Canahuati, president of the Honduran Maquila Association (AHM) representing factory owners, said the contract also provides for social compensation benefits for workers and gives impetus for existing and future investments in facilities.
The workers were represented by the Trade Union Network. The agreed wage increases over the term of the contract call for an 8 percent hike this year, increases of 7.5 percent in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and an 8 percent rise in 2023. According to AHM, the current monthly minimum wage for garment workers in Honduras is $446.
The U.S. imported $2.52 billion worth of apparel and textiles from Honduras for the year through October, a 0.47 percent decline from the year-ago period. According to the CIA World Factbook, Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, has diversified its export base from a heavy reliance on coffee and bananas to include apparel, pushed by its duty-free status as part of the Central America Free Trade Agreement.