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Garment unions say strike threat is on table

Garment workers receive treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after fainting last year due to poor working conditions.
Garment workers receive treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after fainting last year due to poor working conditions. Vireak Mai

Garment unions say strike threat is on table

A coalition of garment industry unions reiterated warnings yesterday that they will launch nationwide strikes calling for better conditions if Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng refuses to negotiate on previous demands.

Pav Sina, of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said that the minister hadn’t responded to a letter sent by nine unions on October 21 detailing 13 demands for reform.

The letter came after a round of wage talks that saw base pay in the sector bumped to $140 a month, $20 less than unions had sought.

“We will wait and see whether they agree with our request, but it has been very quiet until now,” he said, noting that the coalition will meet again this week to discuss sending a second letter, which could be followed by nationwide demonstrations.

Among the demands are a ban on short-term contracts; the dismissal of what are perceived as politically-motivated court cases against union leaders; and the establishment of a national minimum wage for other sectors.

A ministry spokesman could not be reached.

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