Following an annual tripartite consultation process, the minimum wage for the Cambodian garment sector has been increased to US$170 for 2018. The new minimum wage will benefit the more than 600,000 garment workers in the industry.
For the first time, IndustriALL's Cambodian affiliates took a strong and united position into the Labor Advisory Committee consultations to demand an increase to US$176.25. The tripartite process resulted in unanimous support for a new minimum wage of US$165, which was subsequently increased by an additional US$5 by the prime minister, as has been done in previous years. The Labor Minister’s notification issued on October 5 declared that the USD170 will take effect from 1st January 2018.
The union claim for the minimum wage was based on a report commissioned by IndustriALL, FES and the Solidarity Center on Minimum wage Setting and Adjustment in Cambodia’s Garment and Footwear sector, through the Center for Policy Studies. The report presented to the unions followed the 7-point criteria to set the minimum wage in Cambodia.
Based on this report, a meeting lead by IndustriALL affiliates in Cambodia on 24 September unanimously agreed to propose US$176.25 in the Labor Advisory Committee, the tripartite body composed of representatives from unions, employers and government.
Ath Thorn, President of IndustriALL affiliate Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions (CCAWDU) says:
The Union was united in proposing US$176.25 which was based on a consensus building meeting held on 24th September 2017. The union held firm together until the final figure was decided. It is a victory for the workers in Cambodia. We are happy that this time, the Unions were united in one voice. This is good for the trade union movement and the industry.
Chuon Monthol, President of IndustriALL affiliate Cambodian Union Federation (CUF) says:
The garment brands need to increase their orders in Cambodia. The government is making progress by increasing the wages, improving maternity protection and other improvements to conditions for workers, but this cannot be sustained without stable orders from the brands. The unions are united, but we need a stable garment industry in Cambodia.
Jenny Holdcroft, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union says:
This is a welcome increase to the minimum wage which moves Cambodia further towards a living wage for garment workers. There is still a long way to go, and we look forward to implementing the ACT process in Cambodia as a further means to increase wages through industry-wide collective bargaining linked to brand purchasing practices.