The Global Living Wage Coalition gathered last week in Santo Domingo, Costa Rica to train researchers from eight countries on the Anker Methodology of calculating Living Wages.
The Global Living Wage Coalition brings together sustainability standards, Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Goodweave, Sustainable Agriculture Network/Rainforest Alliance, Social Accountability International (SAI) and UTZ Certified, with the ISEAL Alliance to work together on the methodology, promotion and implementation of a living wage for workers within the sectors in which they are active.
This event was the third global training on the Anker Methodology and will result in the calculation of eight additional living wage benchmarks in 2015 and the first quarter 2016. SAN proudly hosted the event in Costa Rica.
The workshop offered an opportunity not only for participants to learn how to calculate living wage through proper implementation of the Anker methodology, but also to compare challenges to assessing costs of living globally. They were able to share ideas about how to assure benchmarks of high quality in assessing local conditions, while providing a means to compare living wage needs across countries from a global perspective
Researchers at the training represented Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. They were joined by representatives of UTZ certified and Social Accountability International, as well as by the Global Living Wage Coalition Coordinator. Leading the training were Richard and Martha Anker international specialists on living wages, who have designed and tested the Anker Methodology to estimate living wage levels around the world.
During the five-day training event, Richard and Martha Anker took the researchers through step-by-step implementation of the Methodology they designed. Researchers prepared in advance for the workshop by gathering secondary data on the areas they would benchmark following the training. This allowed them to work through important aspects of the methodology with direct guidance and collaboration. They worked together on aspects of the calculation such as building preliminary model diets, estimating household sizes, and ascertaining the markers of descent housing in their world areas. Researchers will then be able to build on this work after the training, creating a strong base of assumptions and analysis before entering the field to gather primary data.
“What Richard and Martha Anker have created is a methodology to calculate living wages globally that is rigorous and scientific. They have provided a tool to help the world better understand what it means to earn a living wage in real terms of diet and basic living conditions by producing benchmarks that are transparent in their assumptions and comparable worldwide. This week was truly inspiring as we were able to see how bringing top researchers from around the world together to work on this issue not only creates enormous opportunity to better understand living wages, but also provides a wealth of knowledge that enables us to see new ways this information can be applied”, explained the Global Living Wage Coalition Coordinator, Michelle Bhattacharyya.
This training will lead to living wage benchmarks in each of the researcher’s home countries that will be used by the six standards systems that make up the Global Living Wage Coalition, and will be made public for the broader use of others working on issues of Living Wage.
The Living Wage Coalition sees this as the first step in a long-term process and it doesn’t believe the benchmarks will or should supplant collective bargaining rights, but will serve as a replicable tool to support social dialogue between workers and employers and the value chain.