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Wage wait: Unionists not impressed with promise

Labour leaders sniffed at the government’s stated commitment yesterday to hike the wage in the garment industry to $160 – by 2018.

On the final day of a three-day congress for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said in a speech that in three years the government intends to impose a roughly $160 minimum monthly wage for garment workers.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen said that … the salary will be increased to … more than $160 per month for the garment workers by 2018,” he said.

The Ministry of Labour set this year’s wage at $128 in November in what was seen as the final figure for 2015 following events of January 3 last year, when military police shot dead at least five people demanding an immediate bump to $160.

“I think in 2018, the minimum wage for garment workers should be higher than $160, because the economy will grow,” said Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance Trade Union (CATU), echoing the views of other leaders.

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, said new wage negotiations will commence in July, “so we will take a look on the request of the unions’ side, employers and also the government”.

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