Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Familiar wage figure floated by minister

Familiar wage figure floated by minister

A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest in 2013, calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $160.
A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest in 2013, calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $160. Vireak Mai

Familiar wage figure floated by minister

In the midst of annual minimum wage negotiations, Minister of Labour Ith Samheng used a visit from members of the Southeast Asian Youth Programme to reiterate that the minimum wage for garment workers would reach at least $160 a month by 2018, state media reported.

The ministry is currently holding meetings with unions and employer representatives to determine the minimum wage for 2017. The goal of $160 by 2018 is in line with a government proposal in late 2013 that would have seen the minimum wage rise incrementally each year. But the plan was never adopted, and some unions argue the numbers should be tied to the cost of living.

“I don’t care what amount the government announces, if prices go down, then maybe $160 would be alright, but if prices go up, then it won’t be enough,” said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union. “I think the government and companies need to think about how the workers are surviving.”

William Conklin, of labour rights group Solidarity Center, said incremental increases could be a good idea, but only if the starting point is high enough to meet living expenses.

“Minimum wage has been kept very low for several years, so now they have to make up for lost time,” Conklin said, adding that increasing the baseline would also serve to limit unions’ negotiating space.

The Ministry of Labour could not be reached yesterday.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all