Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union leaders given audience in parliament

Garment workers protest at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Sunday
Garment workers protest at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Sunday, calling for a living wage. Pha Lina

Union leaders given audience in parliament

Union leaders stated their case for a minimum wage increase – and made threats to strike if their demands aren’t met – during an unprecedented meeting with ruling and opposition lawmakers at the National Assembly yesterday.

“It is so good that each party is interested in the problems of the workers,” said Fa Saly, president of National Trade Union Coalition, who spoke with the Post after the sit-down. “However, if the wages of workers increase to only $120 [per month], we cannot accept it, and will go on strike.”

Unions have campaigned for a floor wage raise of $77 from the current $100 monthly minimum. However, specific numbers have been publicly discussed less since the seven union members of the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee agreed to demand $150.

Exact wage levels were discussed during the roughly 90-minute meeting, said Ke Sovanroth, chair of the parliamentary committee that monitors labour issues. “We don’t want the workers to strike,” the opposition lawmaker said. “We will discuss this problem with Minister of Labour [Ith Sam Heng] tomorrow at 9am.”

Yesterday morning’s gathering took place a day after representatives of six unions led about 2,000 union supporters on a march from Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park to the embassies of the United States and European Union, ending at the National Assembly.

While the decision for next year’s floor salary lies with the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee (LAC), not the National Assembly, a larger support base for raised wages could help sway members of the committee to agree upon a number that unions find suitable, said Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center.

“I think the more pressure from stakeholders the better,” Welsh said yesterday, noting that even consensus among LAC unions is a new dynamic. “[This] show of real solidarity among unions of all political stripes … that’s historic in itself.”

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Cambodia's last tile masters: Why a local craft is under threat

Brought over by the French, painted cement tile making has been incorporated into Cambodian design for more than a century, even as the industry has died out in Europe.

Interview: Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father

The story of Loung Ung and her family’s suffering under the Khmer Rouge became known around the world with the success of her autobiographical book, First They Killed My Father.

Setting up a drone for flight. Photo supplied

How Cambodia's first drone company is helping farmers

SM Waypoint claims its unmanned aerial vehicles can help local farm and plantation owners increase their yields.