RFP: Consultant to COnduct Research on Living Wage


OXFAM: who are we?

Oxfam is a leading aid, development and campaigning not-for-profit organisation
with a world-wide reputation for excellence and over 60 years’ experience
working in Indonesia. Our purpose is to work with others to overcome suffering
and find lasting solutions to poverty.
Currently we are looking for Consultant
to Conduct Research on Living Wage (Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang/Yogyakarta)


Freedom of association and the right to
collective bargaining are key ‘enabling rights’. This means that when
these rights are respected, workers can use them to ensure that other labour
standards, including a living wage, are upheld. A living wage must always
be a negotiated figure.

A living wage, by definition, means that
a working person must be able to support themselves and their family. The
notion of living wage is well embedded in the international human right
discourse. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article
23(3) states:

“Everyone who works has
the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and
his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary,
by other means of social protection.”

However, despite this clear definition of
the right to a living wage, for most of the  garment workers the reality
is a life first and foremost of poverty.

Legal minimum wages in garment-producing
countries all over the world fall short of a living wage, meaning garment
workers are unable to provide the most basic needs for themselves and their
families. The gap between the legal minimum wage and a living wage is ever
growing. Yet the daily challenges for an income-poor worker are not limited
to money constraints. If a worker’s salary for a standard working week
is not enough to cover the basic needs for them and their family, they
face other poverty related problems, such as low calorific intake, limited
access to adequate health services, lack of social security, poor housing,
limited access to education and limited participation in cultural and political

For many years, the garment industry has
justified the shift of production to impoverished economies by highlighting
the employment opportunities that the industry brings, and underlining
that women in particular benefit from the jobs the garment industry provides.
It is indeed true that the vast majority of Indonesian workers in garment
factories in Indonesia are women, and their jobs are a lifeline for millions
of people and their families – even if this lifeline is often very thin
and fragile.

However, mounting evidence from on the ground
shows that jobs in garment factories do not offer workers the economic
advancement promised by globalisation, and many who enter the system become
trapped in poverty. Workers, especially women (who make up 80% of the workforce
in the garment industry), do not get a fair share of the value they generate
in the supply chain and are not paid a wage they can live from, let alone
enough to save and start to break the cycle of poverty. They are trapped
in a vicious circle of low wages, excessive overtime, unfavourable debt
schemes and extreme dependency, which makes them vulnerable as employees.

What is a living wage?

The right to a living wage is established
in several ILO declarations and conventions:

•        Constitution
of the ILO, 1919: Preamble of the Charter

•        Declaration
of Philadelphia, International Labour Conference, 1944

•        ILO
Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, 2008

•        Convention
131 and 156 (indirectly) and Recommendations 131 and 135 (indirectly)

The defines a living wage as follows:

“Wages and benefits paid for a standard
working week shall meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and
always be sufficient to meet basic needs of workers and their families
and to provide some discretionary income.”

More specifically, a living wage:
•        Applies
to all workers, which means that there is no salary below the living-wage

•        Must
be earned in a standard work week of no more than 48 hours

•        Is
the basic net salary, after taxes and (where applicable) before bonuses,
allowances or overtime

•        Covers
the basic needs of a family of four (two adults, two children)

•        Includes
an additional 10% of the costs for basic needs as discretionary income

1). To support advocating decent work protocol
on wages to discover the challenges, obstacles and opportunities. Based
on this research, then Oxfam can determine the new strategy.

2). Oxfam in Indonesia still could provide
advice, information and advocacy experience on decent work protocol.


The solution to the problem of low wages
will involve a number of key players in supply chains being willing to
work together, namely brands, suppliers, unions (local, national and global),
employer federations and governments. This will require trust and partnership
between all parties being built over time. A willingness to be transparent
also plays a key role. It is vital that brands play their part in initiating
partnerships with corporate and labour stakeholders. Vitally important
in all of this is the engagement of workers and their organisations in
the design and implementation of any projects to increase wages. So often
these partners are overlooked or only briefly consulted.

Also, The United Nations Human Rights Council
unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
(UN Guiding Principles), which clearly state the role and responsibilities
of businesses and states.

The UN Guiding Principles are based on three

1. The state duty to protect human rights
2. The corporate responsibility to respect
human rights

3. Access to remedy

This establishes a principle of shared responsibility
between the state and business, meaning that states have an obligation
to set the legal minimum wage on a subsistence level in order to protect
the human right to a living wage, and business has to respect the human
right to pay wages accordingly.

However, the framework also clearly states
that the responsibility to respect human rights “exists independently
of States’ abilities and/or willingness to fulfil their own human rights
obligations, and does not diminish those obligations. And it exists over
and above compliance with national laws and regulations protecting human

In other words, in cases where the state
fails to protect human rights – such as when the legal minimum wage fails
to meet the minimum subsistence level (living wage) – business still has
an obligation to respect the human right to a living wage and to take advantage
of this state failure.

The UN Guiding Principles establish supply
chain responsibility, which means that a company is responsible for the
human-rights impacts throughout its supply chain, independent of where
the adverse impact occurs (i.e. in their own facilities or with first-tier
suppliers, suppliers of first-tier suppliers or home workers). So while
production of garments is often outsourced, the responsibility remains
with each corporation and cannot be delegated and outsourced down the supply

Principle 13: “The responsibility to respect
human rights requires that business enterprises:

a)        Avoid
causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own
activities, and address such impacts when they occur;

b)        Seek
to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked
to their operations, products or services by their business relationships,
even if they have not contributed to those impacts.”

It seems abundantly clear from this that
the business responsibility to pay a living wage, which is so often disputed
or cast aside as a state responsibility by fashion brands and retailers,
is non-negotiable.

How to apply

If you believe you are the consultant candidate we are looking for please
submit your proposal including CV, professional fee and all out of pocket
expenses to [email protected] and please state Consultant Research
Living Wage
on the subject of your email.

Latest date for application will be on  June
23rd, 2016

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted

We are committed to ensuring diversity
and gender equity within the organization

| twitter: #Oxfam Indonesia

works with others to overcome poverty and suffering

Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering

Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International and a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 612172.Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.A registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC 039042)

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