Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Familiar wage figure floated by minister

Familiar wage figure floated by minister

A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest in 2013, calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $160.
A garment factory worker holds a placard during a protest in 2013, calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $160. Vireak Mai

Familiar wage figure floated by minister

In the midst of annual minimum wage negotiations, Minister of Labour Ith Samheng used a visit from members of the Southeast Asian Youth Programme to reiterate that the minimum wage for garment workers would reach at least $160 a month by 2018, state media reported.

The ministry is currently holding meetings with unions and employer representatives to determine the minimum wage for 2017. The goal of $160 by 2018 is in line with a government proposal in late 2013 that would have seen the minimum wage rise incrementally each year. But the plan was never adopted, and some unions argue the numbers should be tied to the cost of living.

“I don’t care what amount the government announces, if prices go down, then maybe $160 would be alright, but if prices go up, then it won’t be enough,” said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union. “I think the government and companies need to think about how the workers are surviving.”

William Conklin, of labour rights group Solidarity Center, said incremental increases could be a good idea, but only if the starting point is high enough to meet living expenses.

“Minimum wage has been kept very low for several years, so now they have to make up for lost time,” Conklin said, adding that increasing the baseline would also serve to limit unions’ negotiating space.

The Ministry of Labour could not be reached yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four