Chapter 1: Political economy of wages
This chapter provides a general overview of the current global picture on wages. Senior experts from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), introduce the main global trends on wages and explain how non-standard forms of employment have impacted the world of work. The chief trade union negotiator for the new minimum wage in South Africa, discusses the political and economic challenges of wage setting, while a member of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD, explains the multiple purposes of collective bargaining. Participants will be invited to introduce themselves and share relevant material in an interactive world map.
Chapter 2: The role of collective bargaining
This chapter focuses on the key role that collective bargaining plays for wage setting. ILO expert Susan Hayter describes the various actors in the bargaining process and how the different negotiation formats have a direct impact on current wage trends and wage-income distribution. Trade unionists from Argentina and Germany introduce different existing bargaining models and a practical case, including the right to strike as the underlying indispensable of any real bargaining process.
Chapter 3: Minimum and living wages
This chapter introduces the concept and history of minimum wages, as well as the existing international labour standards that provide a regulatory framework for minimum wage setting. It also looks at the actual levels of country-level compliance. Experts from South Africa discuss what the policy considerations are when designing minimum wages and the benefits of setting minimum wages in a country with a very unequal wage distribution. Finally, the challenge of compliance with minimum wage regulations will be explored. At the end of the chapter, the peer-review assignment invites you to apply your newly acquired knowledge to a practical case from your country.
Chapter 4: Macroeconomics of wages
This chapter untangles the relationship between wages and economic development. It discusses how wages are shaped by, and impact, different economic regimes, and then goes on to discuss the relationship between wages, inequality and economic policy. These topics are presented by economic experts from Europe and India. The chapter explains these fundamental and important economic concepts in an accessible way.
Chapter 5: Wage setting in an unfair world
Various forms of discrimination contribute towards wage inequality. Experts from Brazil and India introduce discrimination based on gender, race, cast and ethnicity and the how these shape wage levels. Trade unionists from the Global South discuss the challenges of wage setting for migrant workers and workers in precarious employment.
Chapter 6: Workers’ strategies and campaigns for Minimum Wages, Collective Bargaining and Decent Wages
Workers from different parts of the world are undertaking campaigns for living wages to address social inequalities and to ensure decent jobs. This chapter explores examples of such campaigns, such as, the Asian Floor Wage Initiative, the Fight for Fifteen campaign in the United States, the minimum wage campaign in South Africa and the difficulties of negotiating wages in an inflationary environment in Latin America, in order to draw lessons for trade union strategies around the world.