On Friday the 17th of June, Cividep India will be hosting a gathering of trade unions, civil society organizations, supplier representatives, brands and researchers in Bangalore. The Roundtable Meeting is organized in the back-ground of the publication of the ‘Mind the Gap’ report on living wage by Future in Our Hands, Norway and Cividep India, with the aim of understanding the ‘state of play’ on living wage in the garment supply chain.
To explain the context, it is widely recognized that wages in the garment industry is woefully low and that workers struggle to fulfill their basic needs out of the wage earnings. Though minimum wages fixed statutorily help ensure a floor level, this falls below what is required to lead a decent life. Absence of collectively bargained agreements in the sector shuts the door against negotiated determination of wages. Many attribute the recent outpouring of the fury of garment workers in Bangalore to their inability to save any money for contingencies due to low wages.
The Indian Constitution recognizes the right of workers for a living wage. The International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1919 underlined the need for workers to earn a living wage. Though there is renewed momentum nationally and internationally to pay a living wage for workers, a generally accepted definition is absent. There is no agreed methodology to measure it either, leading to little progress in payment of a living wage.
The Roundtable Meet is an effort to understand the problems and encourage free exchange of ideas, thereby giving way to a wholesome discussion. Updates to follow post the event.