17 February, 2014On 19 February, IndustriALL Global Union, the ITUC and a number of global brands will meet with the Cambodian government to discuss the situation in the country’s garment industry following police violence that left four workers dead.
The violent end to the strike of Cambodian garment workers, rallying for an increased minimum wage in January, left four people dead, 39 injured and 23 workers imprisoned. Recently two workers were released. Of the remaining 21 detainees, 16 are on hunger strike.
IndustriALL Global Union and the ITUC will be joined by brands including H&M and Puma in the talks with the Cambodian government in Phnom Penh on Wednesday 19 February.
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina says:
It is encouraging that the government has agreed to meet with us and some of the major brands for constructive dialogue. It is in the interest of all to find a path towards a sustainable garment industry with living wages and freedom of association in Cambodia.
In a rapid response, IndustriALL, UNI, the ITUC and brands joined forces in sending a letter to the Cambodian government demanding an investigation into the violence, as well as a sustainable process for reaching a new minimum wage.
Earlier in February, representatives from IndustriALL, UNI and the ITUC held constructive dialogue in a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva with a senior diplomat from the Cambodian Embassy. At the same time, members of IndustriALL and UNI were vociferous in their demands when delivering a letter to the Cambodian mission in the city calling for the release of the jailed workers and a path towards a minimum living wage.
The world has seen solidarity actions supporting the plight of garment workers in Cambodia, following a call by IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the ITUC to protest outside Cambodian embassies earlier this month.
Cambodia’s garment industry is growing rapidly and now employs more than 500,000 workers with textiles making up 80% of the country’s exports. Cambodia’s low wages and government incentives for businesses have seen a boom in the textile industry worth some 5 billion US dollars per year, while living standards for workers have not improved.