Living Wage

Study compares minimum wages of maquila workers and basic food baskets

An October 2019 study by the Labour Research Team (EIL) reveals that the minimum wages for maquila workers in 3 of 4 Central American garment-producing countries are not sufficient to cover the cost of basic food products, let alone the cost of all basic goods and services needed to support a worker and her family.

2019 Update on Monthly Minimum Wages in Central America

Photo: Feasies

In January 2019, the Labour Research Team (Equipo de Investigaciónes Laborales -- EIL) published its annual report comparing inflation rates and increases in the monthly minimum wages for maquila workers in Central America’s four garment-producing countries. The three-page report provides brief analyses of the political and economic context within which the tripartite minimum wage negotiations took place in each country, highlighting actions of a variety of actors including government, industry, women’s organizations and trade unions.

Bangladesh police clash with protesting garment workers demanding higher wages

Photo: IndudstriALL

A new minimum wage of 8,000 Taka (US$94), which came into effect on December 9, was rejected by workers and their unions asserting that the increase, the first of its kind since 2013, did not cover the rise in prices over the last five years. Bangladeshi unions, including those in the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, have been demanding a monthly minimum wage of 16,000 taka (US$191).

Six Cambodian union leaders unjustly sentenced in a trial riddled with irregularities

On December 11, 2018, six prominent Cambodian union leaders were found guilty of instigating violent protests in December 2013 and January 2014 and ordered to pay a collective fine of approximately US$8,600. The sentence comes just two months after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, under increasing international pressure, publicly urged labour and justice ministers to finalize all court cases against union leaders, a call originally lauded by union leaders.

Brands urged to support a living wage for Bangladeshi garment workers

Public rally in support of the 16,000 taka minimum wage demand (Photo: Taslima Akhter)

Inditex (owner of Zara) has become the first major apparel brand to respond positively to a joint request from the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum, and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) to publicly support Bangladeshi garment workers’ demands for a significant increase in the country’s minimum wage.