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Cambodian garment unions unite on US$180 demand

6 September, 2016Garment and footwear unions in Cambodia have agreed to demand US$179.60 as the monthly minimum wage for 2017, during a weekend of talks organized by IndustriALL Global Union, FES and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

Seventeen unions, including IndustriALL affiliates, took part in the discussions to determine the new wage demand, which is based on living costs, inflation and social factors.

“I think this number is still not enough yet, but we cannot demand higher than this because of our economic and political situation, and investment is limited,” said Ath Thorn, president of IndustriALL affiliate, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

The unions will take the figure, almost a 30 per cent increase from this year’s wage of US$140, to the Labour Ministry on Friday 9 September for negotiations with the government and employers.

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, said:

“Our Cambodian affiliates are to be congratulated for agreeing a common wage demand to take to the government and employers. Unity is essential to success and IndustriALL will support the unions’ joint action towards a higher minimum wage outcome.”

The garment and footwear industry in Cambodia employs more than 600,000 people and is the country’s biggest export sector.

Further tripartite meetings on the new minimum wage are scheduled for 12 and 26 September.