New report finds prevailing wages in Uttar Pradesh, India 45 percent below a living wage

Textile manufacturing in India © Scott Welker, GoodWeave
Textile manufacturing in India © Scott Welker, GoodWeave
The Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) has released a new living wage benchmark report that looks at living wages in rural Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh, India.

A new living wage benchmark report issued by the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) has found that prevailing wages in the carpet sector in rural Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh, India, fall nearly 36 to 45 percent  below the minimum amount necessary to provide a minimally decent living for the typical family of 5 with 1.546 workers. The carpet industry is an important source of employment and income in rural Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the most deprived states in India. UP lags behind in economic growth due to a small manufacturing sector, structural deficiencies in infrastructure, and pressure from a rapidly growing population.

The report considers prevailing wages as context for a living wage in the region, for two types of carpet weaving: knotted and tufted, with wages higher for workers making tufted carpets, than those working with knotted carpets. Wages for carpet workers, who are often part of an informal economy without labour law protections, fall between 20 and 30 percent below the minimum wage for semi-skilled workers.  Wages for the lowest paid carpet weavers would need to increase by 82 percent in order to meet living wage levels. The report also notes that wages for carpet workers fall just above local and World Bank extreme poverty lines, with the average carpet worker for knotted carpets actually earning less than the World Bank poverty line. The report shows that this is not a problem limited to the carpet sector in the area, as average minimum wages for the manufacturing sector in rural India fall 19 percent below the living wage estimate for rural Uttar Pradesh.

The GLWC is an initiative made up of seven sustainability standards working to improve wage levels in certified supply chains and beyond. In the coming years the GLWC will lead to the strengthening of living wage requirements in codes and criteria but the joint effort is focused on a great deal more than the content of standards, since compliance with a certification programme will not raise wages on its own. In partnership with Richard and Martha Anker, the GLWC has developed a state-of-the-art methodology for calculating living wage, is developing a set of country-specific living wage estimates, and is testing them in various sectors and countries.  They will be using all of this work to equip a range of organisations to increase dialogue and take stronger action to increase wages.  The GLWC specifically supports industry-wide collective bargaining efforts, as an ideal forum for these estimates to provide impartial information for negotiation.

The GLWC has also released benchmark reports for Brazil, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Malawi, Bangladesh and South Africa. To access all these reports and learn more about the GLWC please visit www.iseal.org/livingwage

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To access the full India living wage benchmark report, click here.

To view an infographic on the India living wage benchmark report, click here.

To watch a webinar on GLWC’s latest round of living wage studies, click here.