Turkey’s textile, garment and leather sector has become the latest to adopt a global initiative aimed at achieving a living wage.
Unions in Turkey this week pledged their support to the ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) initiative led by IndustriAll Global Union alongside brands and retailers.
At the meeting in Istanbul, participants debated how minimum wage mechanisms have proven to be insufficient in raising wages to a living wage and how ACT will work to establish industry-wide collective bargaining agreements that build upon the minimum wage mechanism, enabling living wages to be achieved through negotiation between unions and manufacturers together.
According to IndustriAll, the legal minimum wage in Turkey for 2018 is gross 2.029,50 TRY (around US$500) and net 1.603,12 TRY (around US$400).
Unions say that in most garment and textile producing countries, including Turkey, workers’ wages are currently set well below a living wage.
In Turkey, the textile, garment and leathers sectors are among the main drivers of the economy as one of the three largest export industries. The country is among the top textile and garment producing countries. Although official figures show around a million workers employed in the sector, various studies report at least double that, due to the unregistered economy.
IndustriAll’s Turkish affiliates proposed several suggestions on where the brands’ purchasing practices have the greatest negative impact on wages and working conditions, including price negotiations, proper labour pricing, predictability, planning, and forecasting.
“We express our heartfelt congratulations to our Turkish textile, garment and leather sector affiliates over their genuine and sincere work towards cooperation among themselves,” said IndustriAll assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft.
“We have already made exemplary successful work in Turkey in using global framework agreements in union organising and developing social dialogue at a number of suppliers. Now it is time to introduce the ACT initiative for better wages in the sector. I am certain that we will manage it.”