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January 18, 2022

Where are the anti-sweatshop nations?

In the world of manufacturing, there are few issues more polarizing than blue-collar wages.

For a fair and reasonable society to run, you’ve got to pay your factory worker a competitive wage. This much we know. What we also know, unfortunately, is that without government intervention, no company in its right mind is going to continue manufacturing in countries like Canada, where labour costs are sky-high compared to the developing world.

So, of course, companies (though not all companies: big ups, Canada Goose) outsource, and they make their goods in places like Vietnam and Peru and wherever else the cost of labour will most pad profit margins.

We know the horrors of sweatshop compensation in those nations, but which countries remain stubborn and continue paying its blue-collar workers most?

According to new data released by the American Department of Labor, Canadian manufacturers are paid well – the most favourable wage in all of North America, in fact – but don’t even rank in the top ten, giving way to a host of European nations.

*Bing: What nations pay blue-collar workers least?

The top ten:

1. Norway – Total hourly compensation ($57.53); pay for time worked (n/a)
2. Switzerland - $53.20; $34.29
3. Belgium - $50.70; $24.01
4. Denmark - $45.48; $34.78
5. Sweden - $43.81; $25.05
6. Germany - $43.76; $25.80
7. Finland - $42.30; $22.35
8. Austria - $41.07; $21.67
9. Netherlands - $40.92; $23.49
10. Australia - $40.60; $28.55
13. Canada - $35.67; $24.23
14. United States - $34.74; $23.22

You’ll note that total compensation doesn’t necessarily denote how much a worker actually takes home in an hourly wage, which speaks plenty about social benefits afforded a country’s blue-collar employees. (Look at Canadian blue-collar workers, who earn even more per hour than Belgium manufacturers but receive total hourly compensation at some $15 less.)

Are Canadian factory workers paid fair? Too much? Too little? You tell us.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...