Maarten van Klaveren (2016) Wages in Context in the Garment Industry in Asia. Amsterdam: WageIndicator Foundation, April.

The WageIndicator Foundation has recently published Wages in Context in the Garment Industry in Asia, a report written by Maarten van Klaveren, senior researcher at the AIAS. The report is based on a study for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands, and acts as an input for the Asian Living Wage Conference (ALWC) in Pakistan in May 2016. The ALWC aims to engage Asian garment-producing countries in initiatives to implement Living Wages. The report provides overviews on labour law, minimum wage setting and minimum wage levels pertaining to the garment industry in nine Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam); on wage levels of garment workers; on the cost of living and related Living Wage levels in these countries, and on the hurdles for realizing real wage increases for garment workers. The Ministry asked the WageIndicator Foundation to draft this report because the Foundation has a track record in collecting information about wage levels and cost-of-living levels for many countries, and because it maintains a global network of experts in the fields of labour law and minimum wages. Besides Maarten van Klaveren some 20 members of the worldwide WageIndicator team contributed.

A first chapter details the data collection methods and the findings of the WageIndicator Cost-of-Living Survey. Jointly with an expert survey, the Cost-of-Living survey was a major source as it was the basis for calculating the Living Wages. An introduction covers the worldwide garment industry, and the growth of garment exports from and garment employment in the nine countries. Next, nine chapters provide country overviews. A concluding chapter summarizes the opinions of surveyed experts concerning hurdles and instruments for bringing living wages closer. It also places wages in context, comparing the distances between the wage levels calculated for the nine countries, notably minimum wages, garment wages and Living Wages.

The report, as well as summary handouts on the nine countries, can be downloaded from:

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