In the latest bid for an increase in garment-industry wages, Free Trade Union (FTU) president Chea Mony yesterday called on the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to come to the table and discuss a $120-per-month minimum wage.
A few days after Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun — Mony’s former ally — called for wages to be lifted to $150 a month, the FTU leader put forward a similar case, using huge profits and higher wages in neighbouring countries as justification.
“In order to improve their living situation, I suggest you [GMAC] organise a meeting to negotiate providing garment and shoe workers a $120-per- month full-time wage and $115 for probation workers,” Mony wrote in the letter, dated yesterday.
Chhun led a protest of more than 300 workers on Sunday in which he demanded that the minimum wage be increased from $61 to $150, prompting Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng to invite stakeholders to discuss the issue.
Mony announced in June that the Free Trade Union was withdrawing from the CCU.
At the time, Mony alleged Chhun had accused him several times of being “weak” in his position, an allegation Chhun denied.
It was coincidence that Mony’s bid for a $120 wage came just after Chhun’s push for $150, the FTU boss said yesterday.
“This doesn’t mean I’m in competition with any other unions to raise my popularity. This is a suitable wage that GMAC can provide its workers,” Mony said.
GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said his association regularly sat down with stakeholders to discuss wage increases.
“I wouldn’t read too much into [Mony’s letter]. It’s normal modus operandi.
“But we’ve had no official notice conveying instructions [from Sam Heng]. We’ll await that meeting to be organised,” Loo said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at firstname.lastname@example.org
With assistance from Shane Worrell