[Worker sowing at home. India, 2009. © Ankur Ahuja/ Clean Clothes Campaign.]
One of the root causes of poverty wages in the industry is the power of global buyers to constantly relocate production in search of ever lower prices and better terms of trade. This power is used to exert a downward pressure on wages and conditions – labour being one of the few ‘production costs’ or ‘inputs’ that can be squeezed.
The basic idea of the Asia Floor Wage is to put a ‘floor’ under this, thereby preventing this competition from forcing wages below poverty levels and making sure gains are more equitably shared along the supply chain. The Asia Floor Wage alliance have formulated a unified, regional demand for a minimum living wage which is decent and fair and which can be standardised and compared between countries. This regional collective bargaining strategy will unite workers and their allies from different Asian countries behind one wage demand.
The goal is to attain this standardised minimum living wage for workers across Asia through negotiations between garment industry employers and workers’ representative organisations, and with the mediation and support of governments, inter-governmental organisations and social movements.
The report constructed by the Asia Floor Wage organisation is available here.
Source: Asian Floor Wage