Fair Wear has joined the national initiative and multi-stakeholders’ platform as a signatory for the Declaration of a Living Wage in North Macedonia. This initiative is led by the local labour rights organisation, Glasen Tekstilec, and is shaped to raise awareness of the need to institutionalise the category of living wage in the country.
Despite a living wage being a human right acknowledged by the EU and other international standards, it is not currently a recognised benchmark or category in North Macedonia. Instead, the country operates with a legal minimum wage. Though discussions on living wage as a category have been raised through Fair Wear’s work in the country in recent years, local stakeholders have as yet not been carrying this forward.
Glasen Tekstilec is a local labour rights organisation. It was formed in 2017 by textile workers and activists as a voluntary, non-profit, non-governmental association working to protect workers’ human and labour rights in North Macedonia. Fair Wear and Glasen Tekstilec have been working closely together on improving labour rights in the textile sector in North Macedonia for the last four years.
During Glasen Tekstilec’s annual event, “Tekstilijada 2022”, on 7th October, the platform for a living wage was promoted and officially signed by 15 local and international stakeholders. The Minister of Labour and Social Policy, trade unions, employers’ associations, and other governmental institutions attended the event.
The signatory platform is made up of trade unions, employers’ associations, and other NGOs and civil society organisations. The main objective is to use the declaration to lobby and advocate for the government to work on a living wage as a benchmark in local law and as an official statistical indicator to measure the standard of living across the country.
The signatories of this platform call on:
- Respecting and protecting the importance of a living wage as a human right for workers in North Macedonia because Macedonian workers deserve wages that will allow them to have a decent life.
- Introducing the living wage category as a fundamental parameter (indicator) to measure the decency of life within the official national statistics.
- Introducing the living wage category in the Law on Labour Relations in order to harmonise the minimum price of labour costs with the actual costs of living and the decent needs of workers.
- Respect for trade union positions and requirements when adopting legal solutions in labour-related state policies.
- International companies sourcing from North Macedonia to undertake public, concrete and measurable steps and to ensure the payment of a living wage for workers along the entire supply chain, down to the smallest suppliers and subcontractors; At the same time to apply fair prices in their business relationships with their suppliers and subcontractors, in a determined reasonable time frame.
- Stopping the “race to the bottom” approach, in which our country competes with other countries in the region in reducing labour and social rights in order to attract foreign capital.
- Adopting a social pact, as well as a strategy for economic development that will enable decent life for workers, and environmental and social sustainability.
The organisations supporting this initiative can sign the declaration online.