Wages in Context: Analysis of Collective Bargaining Agreements in the Apparel sector

This report is a joint product between WageIndicator and IDH in the framework of IDH’s Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing (WARP) program, with the aim to understand the state of collective bargaining in key apparel-producing countries and inform relevant in-country interventions.

Collective bargaining is defined by ILO Convention 154 as the negotiation between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations, on the one hand, and one or more workers’ organisations, on the other, in order to determine (1) working conditions and terms of employment and (2) regulate relations between employers and workers. The resulting written document from these negotiations is called a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). These agreements can be established either at the company level, involving multiple companies (Multi Company Collective Bargaining Agreements), at the sector level, or even at an inter-professional level, encompassing all workers within a country.

The significance of collective bargaining agreements is recognized worldwide, as well as their importance to improve workers’ wages and working conditions. However, only a few countries maintain comprehensive databases documenting the provisions agreed upon in these agreements. Moreover, even in cases where such databases exist, such as in the UK, New Zealand, and Brazil, they are not standardised or comparable across different countries. Since 2012, the WageIndicator Foundation has been actively collecting and categorising CBAs on a global scale within the WageIndicator Collective Agreements Database.

This report provides insights on labour law and CBAs in a variety of countries, and provides information on the process and wage data needs to support social dialogue and MCCBAs (Multi Company Collective Bargaining Agreements) in key apparel producing countries.

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