Research identifies reasons for low garment sector wages

Research identifies reasons for low garment sector wages

GENEVA – Competitive pressures, low national minimum wages and a lack of cooperation by suppliers are three of the many reasons identified by new research for keeping garment worker wages depressed in global textile supply chains. Under the auspices of the ILO, researchers interviewed 14 apparel retailers and concluded that there are a range of deeply-ingrained and institutional factors which make it difficult to raise wages among garment workers – even if there is a great willingness to do so among buyers and brands.

Led by Mark Starmanns of BSD Consulting Switzerland, the research identified six core reasons why garment workers remain depressed – and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future. First and foremost, suggested the research, paying living wages in the supply chain is „not an issue of high priority,“ for brands and retailers. Says the paper: „The companies provided three main arguments why paying living wages was a low priority for them. First, increasing wages outside the national wage system is no comprehensive solution. Companies are more generally opposed to paying higher wages in their supply chain because they regard it as an ‚isolated solution‘ and not a good long-term solution. These companies argue that instead of raising wages through the value chain, an institutional solution at the national level is needed.“
 
This text was written by Brett Mathews and appeared on 3.7.2017 in Ecotextile News. This text sums up in a very good way a research project BSD Consulting conducted for the ILO.The full text was reprinted with permission on the GET CHANGED Blog here.

In sum, this research indicates that many companies have not come far in integrating living wages, even if they ought to do so by the FWF. However, the FAIR SHARE project BSD Consulting conducted between 2015 and 2017 with Continental Clothing Ltd. shows that companies that are willing to implement living wages can actually do so. And the FAIR SHARE project showed that increasing the workers’ wages by 50% does not even cost very much, only 7 Euro Cents per T-Shirt.

Insight on the FAIR SHARE project.