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

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,