IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) dismiss today’s decision by the Cambodian government to set a minimum wage of US$128 a month for the garment sector as inadequate.
Since January, when the government sent troops into the streets to quell protests over the then-poverty wage of US$100, local and global trade unions, international brands and governments made clear that the garment industry cannot be sustainable where workers’ wages are set below or on the margins of poverty. The government’s decision, while slightly higher than the labour advisory committee’s recommendation of US$123, represents yet another squandered opportunity.
“A living wage is not only necessary for workers to live with dignity but it is also essential for the sustainability of the garment industry. That is why leading international apparel brands have indicated their support for a fair living wage,” explained Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL. “We intend to hold the brands to their word and will continue working with them on a mechanism that will extend higher wages to workers in their supplier factories.”
Speaking in Brisbane ahead of the G20 summit, UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “Cambodian garment workers need a pay rise. Supply chains will be examined here at the G20 and we will make clear our disappointment with Cambodia.”
Additionally, the global unions are deeply concerned with recent drafts of the Trade Union Law, which represent a major step in the wrong direction.
“Though the ILO has for years called on the government to issue a law consistent with ILO conventions, the government has done just the opposite. In its current form, the law would have a devastating impact on independent trade unions,” explained ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “Worse, the government added vague language that would give it sweeping powers to suspend trade unions for engaging in strikes or other ‘acts damaging to the interests of the Kingdom of Cambodia’. This is unacceptable.”
For more information please contact:
Leonie Guguen, Communications Officer, IndustriALL Global Union
Switchboard: 00 41 22 308 50 50