Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Brands urged to step up



Brands urged to step up

Workers at a garment factory stitch material into clothing
Workers at a garment factory stitch material into clothing in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district last year. Vireak Mai

Brands urged to step up

In an open letter to global apparel brands that buy from factories in Cambodia, the International Labour Organization urges the companies to “play their part” in absorbing the financial strain local garment factories expect from the Kingdom’s new minimum wage.

The January 1 letter estimates that factories in Cambodia will take more than an 18 per cent hit from the Ministry of Labour’s November decision to hike floor salaries from $100 per month to $128 in 2015.

“It is important that all sides work together to ensure Cambodia’s garment industry remains economically viable”, said Maurizio Bussi, the ILO’s country director for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, is quoted as saying in the letter. “We call on the global brands to play their part. We have received encouraging signals that key buyers will honour the pledge they gave the Cambodian Government in September.”

In a September 18 letter to Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon and the heads of three ministries, eight brands – including H&M, Inditex, C&A, N Brown Group plc, Tchibo, Next Retail Ltd, Primark and New Look – pledged to alter their pricing structure to ensure workers earn a living wage.

A 2013 government survey found a living wage in the Kingdom to be between $155 and $177 per month.

As of press time yesterday, none of the brands contacted for this story had replied to emailed questions about whether they would take action to ease financial pressure on the factories that supply them.

The eight European brands that pledged support for their suppliers, and American brands that have implied willingness to do so, are obliged to change pricing structures to ensure factories can pay at least minimum wages, said Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center.

“Those brands that are committed to a living wage can work with their suppliers . . . to make sure their suppliers pay not only the minimum wage, but a living wage,” Welsh said yesterday. “Ultimately, the brands set the costing . . . They really do have the most leverage.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to

  • Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

    Thousands of students in Battambang province missed school while over 1,000 prisoners in Banteay Meanchey province were evacuated because of rain-induced floods in the past few days. Yi Songky, director of the provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, said floods affected 316 schools in Battambang. Over 200