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Decent Wages Asia

Outline decent Wage Project Asia, Central America
Participants: Trade Unions and Wage Indicator Foundation
November 2011 - 2013

Who does What?

Division of Roles between:

  1. Wage Indicator Foundation &
  2. National Trade Union

Country:

  1. Cambodia
  2. Indonesia
  3. Pakistan - 2011-2012
  4. Sri Lanka - 2011 - 2012

National website:

  1. Cambodia – www.prake.org
  2. Indonesia – www.gajimu.com
  3. Pakistan – www.paycheck.pk
  4. Sri Lanka – www.salary.lk

Wage Indicator Input: Web

Wage Data Surveys

For negotiations a Trade Union needs up-to-date wage information. The Trade Union has its traditional sources of wage information. This project gives extra input from 2 special surveys on wages and working conditions. Both surveys are prepared by Wage Indicator Foundation. One type of survey is posted at the national website, like www.gajimu.com in Indonesia or www.tusalario.org/Costarica in Costa Rica. This special website also, is made available by Wage Indicator Foundation journalist together with journalist in the country. A second survey is on paper. It targets certain occupations, selected in consultation with the Trade Union. This second survey is also the job of Wage Indicator Foundation.

So, the first step the Trade Union takes is to select occupations for which it wants extra wage data. The surveys bring in the extra wage data for these occupations. The Trade Union can use this extra wage data for a better bargain.

Legal Minimum Wages Information

Since the focus of the project is on minimum wage, national information on legal minimum wages is made available by Wage Indicator Foundation. This information gives all available minimum wage information. The Minimum Wage list is posted on the national website by Wage Indicator.

Minimum Wage Compliance Form

A special Minimum Wage Compliance Form is posted on the website by Wage Indicator. With it comes a user guide. Both are ready for print. They help Trade Union officials and individual workers to get the minimum wage if they are underpaid.

National Wage indicator website – like www.gajimu.com or www.tusalario.org/Costarica

The national WageIndicator website plays a central role in the Campaign. On the website Campaign materials are posted and ready for print. Union campaigners therefore may use the website as Campaign library. The website gives:

  1. information on real wages
  2. all about labour law
  3. all about legal minimum wage
  4. the Minimum Wage Compliance Form
  5. stories of successful compliance cases
  6. formats for invitations, agenda’s and attendance sheets for meetings
  7. special, new documents, such as folders and leaflets, developed for the Campaign
  8. links to Campaign related stories in other media

Trade Union Input: Campaign

The basic input of the Trade Union is the Campaign. The style of the Campaign may be new, because of the national Wage Indicator website. But the activities are well known: prepare Campaign materials, set up and carry out the Campaign, use the Campaign results.

Outline of the Campaign

  • Some Campaign materials have been prepared by Wage Indicator Foundation. Like Minimum wage Information, labour law information and the wage report on real wages. These materials are posted at the
  • In the beginning of the Campaign the Trade Union sets dates and places for meetings with its rank and file. The Trade Union puts in an extra effort to make the working poor participate in such meetings. Working poor are very often women and young workers.
  • The Trade Union makes materials for these meetings, such as flyers, folders and agendas – these documents are also posted on the website by Wage Indicator, ready for print.
  • Each agenda has at least the following topics:
    • minimum wage rates
    • minimum wage law
    • minimum wage compliance
    • other labour rights
  • Some of the topics on the agenda are formulated as questions or positions. These are posted on the website by Wage Indicator, printed and handed out at the meetings by the Trade Union. These handouts help to direct the discussions.
  • A (locally) well known Trade Union official leads the debate. This official formulates and writes down the questions or positions used for the handout.
  • A second Trade Union official registers the attendants of meetings. This second official also writes a report, using the formats posted on the website.
  • Every report ends with conclusions and recommendations.
  • These are used by Trade Union officials as input for Trade Union policy.
  • They are also used by Trade Union officials as input for the national seminars (see section on seminars below).
  • Wage Indicator Foundation posts the conclusions and recommendations on the website.
  • The Trade Union organizes other events and manifestations to get people together and make them speak up – as it sees fit.

These Trade Union officials are trained in how to conduct and administer meetings.

Focus on Minimum Wage Compliance

In the Campaign the focus is minimum wage, compliance in particular. Compliance is the obligation to pay the legal minimum wage. Compliance is on the agenda of every meeting. If people are underpaid, how will they get at least the minimum wage? How can the Trade Union help them? Answers to these questions are used for follow up Trade Union actions.

  • Before and during the meetings the Trade Union looks for and registers cases of workers who do not get the legal minimum wage. These cases are described using the Minimum Wage Compliance Form from the website. This Form can be completed online, but also in print.
  • Trade Union describes bad and good practices and write them down.
  • Bad examples are used by Trade Unions officials to trigger the debate during the Campaign meetings (and at national seminars – see below).
  • Bad examples are used by Trade Union officials when they talk to employers, government agencies, councils or commissions dealing with labour market conflicts.
  • Ideally bad cases are turned into good cases. This is the stuff for success stories.
  • Success stories are written and published on the website. They are used for raising awareness amongst the public. This is the job of the Trade Union communications department or official.

This department or Trade Union official is trained in writing stories for web use and publishing them.

Special Attention for national WageIndicator website use:

In the Campaign the website has functions both for the Trade Union and the public.

  1. Function of the website for the Trade Union: First, it serves as the Campaign library and print office. Second, it reports on the Campaign progress. Results are coming in during the Campaign. Good results are published on the website, for reference and as new input for the Campaign. They help to keep up momentum. They help to broaden the impact of the Campaign. Every campaigner can consult and use the documents on the website at any time.
  2. Long lasting function of the website for the Trade Union: At each occasion, such as meetings, events and manifestations, and in magazines or newspapers, draw attention to the website and link to the Salary Survey. Promote the Survey for data collection! Because enough data will make the bargaining position of the Trade Union stronger, both during the Campaign and after it has ended. Simply because more data make more occupations with Salary Checks possible.
  3. Function of the website for the public: First, more data brings more Salary Checks for individual occupations. These Salary Checks are for free. Secondly, the website is at service to the public with the information prepared during the Campaign. The information is on: minimum wages, other labour rights, career information and – of course - the Salary Checks. The website offers this information permanently. It offers this information also target group specific, at the level of individual occupations. The wage information is tailor-made made for situations where people need it most.

Seminars for Policy Making

All results, conclusions and recommendations, and (non-)compliance cases, are presented at a national seminar. This national seminar is organized by the Trade Union, assisted by Wage Indicator Foundation. Such a seminar is planned when enough Campaign results are in and enough (non-)compliance cases are on record.

The Trade Union invites the participants in the seminar. These are officials, activists and experts. Participants will debate:

  1. how minimum wages can be improved at the national level?
  2. how minimum wage setting can be used as a tool for national economic policy?

The conclusions and policy recommendations of the seminar will be posted on the website. The Trade Union will use them for policy making in the tri- and bipartite institutions at the national level in which it participates.

This paper has been prepared for the project: Decent Wages Asia

Duration: 01-10-2010 till 01-10-2013 (3 years)

Co-funded by: CNV, the Dutch Christian Confederation of Trade Unions

Status: Current

Project management: Wage Indicator-Amsterdam (overall management), Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (scientific – desk research, regional management)

Project PartnersCLC Cambodia; KSBSI Indonesia; APTUC Pakistan; NWC Sri Lanka.

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