Right to a fair wage

Published: Sunday | December 15, 2013 Comments 0


One of the fundamental human rights is the right to just remuneration that ensures an existence worthy of human dignity.

The preamble to the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) identifies the provision of an adequate living wage as one of the conditions for universal and lasting peace based on social justice," says ILO senior economist, Patrick Belser.

"Although there is no universally accepted amount that defines such remuneration, it can be described as a wage from full-time work that allows people to lead a decent life considered acceptable by society," he adds.

These ideals were crafted in 1919, yet nearly a hundred years later, millions of 'working poor' are struggling to make ends meet.

In the developing world, in particular, many workers consider that they never really had an adequate living wage.

The pattern of economic growth in recent years in developing and emerging economies has not translated into 'decent work' for all - work that meets people's aspirations in their working lives, providing them with a decent income.


Even in advanced economies, where average income is much higher, the aspiration of an adequate living wage is not always fulfilled.

Many people lost their jobs or income during the global economic crisis, and when they found new jobs, they were earning less than before. This trend has contributed to growing inequality in many countries.

Now that the recovery has begun - albeit slowly - many of those who are earning a decent wage are fearful of losing it.

They are treading a fine line which, if they are thrown off balance, might push them into poverty.

Studies have shown that paying employees a fair wage can benefit both employees and employers. It motivates staff to work more and better, and contributes to create peace in the workplace and higher productivity.

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