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Dominican unions map out living wage action plan

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18 September, 2014Union leaders in the Dominican Republic agreed an action plan to increase wages in a workshop organized by IndustriALL Global Union in Santo Domingo last week.

Despite the country being ranked as an upper middle income economy, the purchasing power of workers has plummeted by 27 per cent over the past ten years. Minimum wages are now among the lowest in Latin America – second only to Mexico – having been overtaken by poorer countries such as Haiti and Bolivia.

Some thirty leaders from IndustriALL’s seven affiliated unions, along with Batay Ouvriye from neighbouring Haiti, came together as part of a global living wage project supported by the FES.

At the heart of the action plan agreed by the unions is a push to overhaul the ineffective existing wage setting mechanism. The objective is to secure an increase aimed at recuperating lost purchasing power, followed by indexation in line with inflation.

The FTZ sector unions also agreed to examine the issue of targets and production pay in the garment export sector and to campaign to stamp out the under-reporting of social security. 

In addition, the participants learned about progress made in Haiti to force garment suppliers to pay the minimum wage and improved piece rates, and agreed to share information about wages and conditions in Dominican-owned factories operating on both sides of the border.