This report was commissioned by International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Ethical Fashion Initiative, a program designed to assist artisans. It examines the concept of a “fair wage” in the context of the cost of living and the prevailing wage scale within in Haiti. It concludes with a recommended wage scale for the artisan sector.
The consultant has determined a “fair wage” for Haitian artisans is US $2.00 – $5.00 for urban based apprentices, $8.00 – $12.00 for mid-level artisan, and $15.00 – $20.00 for a master per day. This conclusion is based on examination and research of the prevailing competitive wage market and alternative entrepreneurial opportunities in urban Port-au-Prince.
As the following report argues, a fair wage should be couched in an understanding of prevailing livelihood strategies in developing countries and specifically in Haiti. Haiti is unique in the degree to which the population is dependent on 1) the informal economy, 2) what is called in anthropological parlance an “internal marketing system” and, not least of all, 3) production and social security organized around the household. It behoves us to take stock in how these features articulate with employment opportunities in Haiti and exercise caution in our well-intended endeavour to assist Haitian working class people that we do not do more harm than good by helping to price impoverished Haitians out of the international labour market.