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ITGLWF to kick off 'Living Wage' on World Day for Decent Work
Jul '08
The World Day for Decent Work on October 7 will mark the launch of a twin-track campaign by the ITGLWF and its affiliates to link the right to organise and bargain collectively with the demand for a living wage in the sector.

Says ITGLWF General Secretary Neil Kearney: “The ITGLWF's choice of campaign theme for the trade union movement's World Day for Decent Work reflects the fact that one of the key issues of concern to workers in the sector is the level of wages they need to subsist and the hours they need to work in order to earn that wage.

“The campaign will focus on ensuring that unions worldwide have the right to organise and bargain collectively in order to secure a living wage, and that the prices paid by retailers and buyers are sufficient to enable manufacturers to pay the level of wages required to meet basic needs.

“Many countries have a legal minimum wage but in most cases this is well below what is needed for a family's subsistence. The global rise in food prices has made the situation even more desperate. In Bangladesh, for instance, workers in our sector now spend 70% of their wages on rice alone.

“Over the past decade almost all brands and retailers have introduced codes of conduct governing the conditions under which the goods are produced. Most codes now provide for the payment of a living wage but in reality this provision is a dead letter.

“In the lead up to October 7, the ITGLWF is asking affiliates to begin an analysis of the level of wages required to meet basic needs and provide some discretionary income. Affiliates will then be encouraged to include that figure in their wage bargaining at all levels. Even if this goal is not achieved the target will be maintained and widely publicised in an effort to secure popular support”.

The ITGLWF will be encouraging its affiliates to ensure maximum impact in the sector of the World Day for Decent Work, the first global trade union mobilisation of its kind.

International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation

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