Winning a pay rise: union strategies for securing minimum living wages

This new report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) illustrates the key strategies that unions around the world have used to win the introduction of or increases to national minimum wages.

Drawing on the previous evidence from the ITUC campaign The World Needs A Pay Rise, the report includes the practices of unions across eight countries: Argentina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Senegal, and South Africa.

It outlines the tactics deployed by unions to establish, negotiate and adjust adequate minimum wages.

Among the successful strategies outlined in the report are:

  • Public campaigns.
  • Industrial action.
  • Compiling evidence, including on the cost of living, to support their position during national wage negotiations.
  • Using international labour standards to support higher minimum wages.

Over the last decades, wages have not kept pace with rising global GDP and productivity. Rising inflation, due to the current global challenges, is dramatically reducing the real value of workers’ wages and their purchasing power. Unions around the world are at the forefront of efforts for better working conditions, particularly for those workers who are most at risk to be hit by further shocks. ITUC believes that workers deserve a pay rise, and securing adequate minimum wages is the first step towards improved livelihoods and living standards for everyone.

Action paper - Key strategies to win a minimum living wage
Winning a pay rise: union strategies for securing minimum living wages