The ILO promotes the setting of adequate wages that consider both the needs of workers and their families, and economic factors. The setting of adequate wages is an essential mechanism to enable decent living standards and incomes for women and men workers and their families, while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of enterprises which create the jobs for these workers.
Low wages and excessive overtime are still among some of the biggest challenges workers face in the apparel and footwear industry worldwide. Concerns about compensation represent a significant issue across our country programmes, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current economic downturn, and are also related to factory disputes, which might result in strikes and unannounced work stoppages, severely affecting production. Since its inception, Better Work has relentlessly worked to support fair, transparent and timely wage payments for all workers in the garment sector.
There are several elements of this thematic priority that are essential to ensure decent work for all, such as strengthening data to inform evidence-based wage setting mechanisms, including through wage negotiation in collective bargaining agreements; measures to promote equal pay for work of equal value between men and women; and wage protection measures which ensure the predictable, timely, complete and transparent payment of wages.
Better Work has demonstrated how better compliance with minimum wage and overtime payments can lead to an increase in take-home pay for workers along with a decrease in their working hours, following a few years of engagement with the programme. This impact increases overtime in parallel with a factory’s years of participation in the Better Work programme.