Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Textile factory closures rising this year: GMAC

Textile factory closures rising this year: GMAC

Textile factory closures rising this year: GMAC

PG13-story-1.jpg
PG13-story-1.jpg

Govt, union officials downplay threat to garment sector

AFP

A garment worker sews clothing at a factory in Phnom Penh.

ARISE in garment factory closures could threaten the viability of one of the Kingdom's key economic sectors, a labour official told the Post.

Cheat Khemara, of the Garment Manufacturer's Association of Cambodia (GMAC), said closures so far this year have nearly eclipsed those of 2007.

Kaing Monika, external affairs manager at GMAC, said a total of 25 factories have been shuttered, with 16 new ones coming online - leaving a total net closure of nine, compared to 10 during 2007.

About 2,000 workers have been put out of work due to the closures, according to Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, Cambodia's largest workers group.

Too many trade unions

Kaing Monika said the influence of trade unions have hurt the industry by unsettling potential new investors.

"The country gives too much freedom to the trade unions," he said.

"There are about 1,000 different unions operating in more than 33 factories."

Cheat Khemara said a government policy of not locating factories in large cities has also created problems for some workers.

"The factories need to be located in larger population centres. They agree to cover the costs of transportation or risk losing their most skilled workers," he said.

Fears overblown

Oum Mean, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said, however, that the closures do not pose a threat to the industry.

"Some factories have closed because the number of orders has dropped," he said. "But others are simply relocating."

He added that the nation's economy continues to be  stable.

Chea Mony estimated that in  addition to those workers affected by the closures, some 27,000 have left their jobs for employment elsewhere. Cambodia has about 350,000 garment workers nationwide.

"The factories in Cambodia will never go bankrupt," Chea Mony said. But he did admit there is cause for concern.

"The number of workers has declined because they are less able to make their living on factory wages as inflation continues to rise."

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved