Cambodian garment workers protesting against precarious work on 7 October.

Garment workers will consider whether to strike against the new minimum wage.

Cambodian unions consider strike action

09.10.2015

Independent garment unions in Cambodia will meet on 12 October to consider strike action after being let down by minimum wage negotiations which settled on US$140 a month for 2016.

The 9.4 per cent increase from the current US$128 figure is lower than the garment worker wage in Vietnam, and below unions’ call for US$160 a month.

Ath Thorn, president of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate C.CAWDU, said:

“We are not happy. So on Monday we will be consulting with our general council and colleagues from across the country, as well as other unions in Cambodia, to decide whether or not to strike.”

A tripartite group of trade unions, garment manufacturers and government representatives on Cambodia’s Labour Advisory Committee have spent the last few weeks hammering out a minimum wage proposal, which went to a vote on 8 October. Both independent and non-independent unions made significant progress by uniting behind a figure of US$160 a month during the discussions.

“We are disappointed by the new minimum wage for the garment industry in Cambodia, which is below the expectations of workers who were interviewed in our research before negotiations began,” said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL.

“It illustrates the relevance of our new ACT initiative with global brands, which sets out to increase garment sector wages by building industry level collective bargaining structures.”

Cambodia is a key target country in IndustriALL’s global campaign for living wages, and the organization will be holding its Executive Committee meeting in Phnom Penh in December.