Disparity in wages
It has been observed that the minimum wage has been increasing all over the world mainly due to economical and humanitarian causes. The textile and apparel sector is a labour intensive industry, and the issue of wages rises off and on. India was the regional leader for 2018 pay rises with a 10 percent increase, while Sri Lanka was at 8.6 percent and Indonesia at 8.5 percent. The minimum wage for textile workers in Cambodia increased to $140 from 1 January 2016, mainly pushed by labour unions to improve workers low living standards, while India increased its textile minimum wages in 2016 to stay in alignment with the nation’s inflation rate and consumer price index.
Data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Importer and Exporter of Textiles and Apparel (CCCT) also shows that the increasing minimum wage for textile workers in China is currently almost twice as high as the minimum wage in Philippine or Indonesia, triggering concerns that China may lose its position as the textile and apparel industry leader in the world.
Even in Bangladesh, minimum wages have increased modestly from US$ 65 a month to US$ 70 a month, after retailers and buyers had to face international pressure following the death of over eleven hundred workers in the Rana Plaza factory fire.
Cambodia is expected to hike minimum monthly wages by at least 11 percent, reaching US$170 from 153. Even Myanmar officials have announced that the daily minimum wage would rise between 4,000 and 4,800 kyat ($2.92$3.51) based on regions, which would mean a 10-30 percent increase from the previous wage of 3,600 kyat ($2.63), depending on areas where workers live.
Similar to Myanmar, in Vietnam too, the increases varies according to four major areas, with 6.13 percent as the minimum figure, valid for major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and 6.97 percent the maximum. An average increase of 6.5 percent in the minimum monthly wage was rolled out across Vietnam as of January 1, 2018. With wage bands tiered across the country, this will see employees’ monthly pay affected on a sliding scale.
While some report suggest that wages have increased, according to the ILO’S Global Wage Report 2016/17, wage growth around the world has decelerated since 2012, falling from 2.5 percent 1.7 percent in 2015, its lowest level in four years. If China- where wage growth was faster than elsewhere- is not included, growth in global wages drops from 1.6 percent to 0.9 percent.