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A living wage for all garment workers

A living wage is a human right, for all people all over the world. I say it's time to pay a living wage to all garment workers.


I want the women and men who stitch my clothes to earn enough to feed their family, pay their rent and live a decent life.

However, for many of them, reality is different. Every day, garment workers all over the world head to the factory where they have to work long hours to make ends meet and are barely able to buy the most basic things of life.

I want this to change. A living wage is a human right, for all people all over the world.

I say it's time to pay a living wage to all garment workers. I support the call for action and urge brands and policy decision makers to:

  • Publicly recognize that a living wage is a fundamental right for all workers.
  • Accept their responsibilities for the implementation of a living wage for garment workers.
  • Set concrete and measurable steps towards ensuring garment workers get paid a living wage.

Pay Garment workers a living wage What is a living wage?

A living wage, means that the wage a worker earns in a standard working week (never exceeding 48 hours) is enough to provide for them and their family's basic needs - including housing, education and healthcare as well as some discretionary income for when the unexpected happens. 

The Asia Floor Wage has calculated what a living wage should be for workers across the region. These calculations show the difference between the minimum wage in many countries and a living wage.

Why the minimum wage is not enough

In a situation that is repeated across the region, the negotiated minimum wage in Cambodia (128 USD) continues to fall far short of the calculated living wage.

In the Cambodian garment industry, over 80% of workers are women, aged 18-35. Many of these have children and families to provide for. With escalating living costs in housing, food, clothing, education, transport and healthcare, the minimum wage simply isn’t enough. In fact, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance calculate that a living wage in Cambodia is 396 USD / month (2014).

Globally recognised as a basic right

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has defined a living wage as a basic human right under their conventions and recommendations to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 23. (ILO Conventions 95 and 131, ILO Recommendations 131 and 135).

Wages and benefits paid for a standard working should meet at least legal or industry minimum wage standards and always be sufficient to meet basic needs of workers and their families and to provide discretionary income.