Fair Wear Foundation launched the second generation of the FWF Wage Ladder. This innovative online tool helps brands, factories and unions to make real progress towards living wages for garment workers.
The Wage Ladder allows the wages paid at any garment factory to be compared against a range of wage benchmarks using easy-to-understand-graphics, making negotiations between brands and factories much more productive. The update adds a number of new features. FWF and its members can now compare wages between men and women and between different departments, both on a country and region level.
A unique new feature in the 2.0. version enables FWF to analyse trends and to better measure progress in garment factories – for example, establishing whether wages have increased between audits. “We will be able to track change in a factory overtime”, says FWF-director Erica van Doorn. This will allow a clear assessment of the impact of Living Wage improvement efforts.”
Minimum wages vs living wages
“The Wage ladder is a first step to bridge the gap between minimum wages and living wages”, says Erica van Doorn. “It’s not a solution in itself; the millions of garment workers worldwide will not be paid a living wage tomorrow. But the Wage Ladder makes clear that the industry does not need to wait for an international standard to be developed. You can start moving wages ‘up the ladder’ today.”
The garment industry has great potential to lift millions of workers worldwide out of poverty. In most low-cost production countries, however, legal minimum wages are still too low for workers to meet basic needs, like food, shelter, and health care. Progress has often stalled in discussions about what, exactly, constitutes a living wage. In an effort to open new avenues for progress towards living wages, FWF developed the innovative Wage Ladder in 2011 with the support of CNV Internationaal.
FWF has made a limited public version of its renewed Wage Ladder available. The Wage Ladder is currently being used by over 500 companies, in both the garment and other sectors, worldwide.