PRIME Minister Hun Sen last week announced a 10 percent cut in
export fees on garments and appealed to workers to stop strikes in
order to avoid more turmoil in the already faltering sector.
"I have decided to reduce the export management fees and other charges by 10 percent to relieve pressure on you," Hun Sen said.
announcement was made Friday during the 14th Government-Private Sector
Forum following a request by Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment
Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC).
GMAC had asked for a cut of 30 percent to assist exporters.
Sen also appealed to workers to stop striking, saying that Vietnam and
China are gaining a competitive advantage over Cambodia in terms of
"I would like to appeal to labour unions that for the
time being, it is not the right time for strikes. It is the time to
take care of your rice pots," he said, adding that strikes would lead
to a drop in orders, the possible closure of factories and rising
"As of October of 2008, there have been 95 strikes - a
48 percent increase compared to the same period last year," said Nang
Sothy, chairman of the forum's industrial relations subcommittee.
Mony, president of the 80,000-member Free Trade Union of Cambodia, said
Sunday that workers do not want to stage strikes, but that they had no
"When workers have a dispute with employers, they can not rely on anyone to help, even the Ministry of Labour," he said.
government has never cared about workers. For instance, 28 garment
factories recently closed and the bosses escaped without paying
workers. So, what can [workers] do if they do not stage the strikes?"
Chea Mony added.
Tens of thousands of workers have already been
laid off as garment orders drop due to decreased demand in the United
States, Cambodia's biggest buyer, and elsewhere.