What Price a Living Wage? Implementation Issues in the Quest for Decent Wages in the Global Apparel Sector

Doug Miller, Peter Williams, 2009

Name of publisher/editor

Global Social Policy

Geographic area




Summary & key words

This article sets out to examine ways in which a living wage might be implemented in the global apparel sector. We argue that an increase in the unit labour cost element of the free on board price paid by brands by a factor equivalent to the difference between the existing wage and a nationally determined living wage figure would not impact in any serious way upon retailer/brand-owner's (or supplier's) bottom line. However, the existence of fragmented and outsourced manufacturing, accompanied by aggressive buying practices, militates against `aspirational' code provisions in this area. Limited progress is possible only through substantial brand collaboration, an acceptance of collective bargaining through trade unions in supplier factories and, longer term, moves by brands and retailers to own and control their own manufacturing capacity.


Subject (Categories)

economic social