Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment wage talks fall apart

Garment wage talks fall apart

Garment workers protest against big name brands at Canadia Industrial Park last month
Garment workers protest against big name brands at Canadia Industrial Park last month. They held placards demanding a salary of $177 a month. Hong Menea

Garment wage talks fall apart

The tripartite working group set up to negotiate and advise the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) on next year’s minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment sector has stopped meeting after reaching a stalemate.

Made up of 27 members – nine each from employers, the government and unions – the group ended talks after a meeting last night, when employer representatives refused to budge from a monthly wage of $110 per month, said panel member Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

“Employers had no intention to increase wages to more than $110," Sina said. “The Labour Ministry said it could not be below $120," which is Cambodia’s poverty line.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary general Ken Loo refused to comment.

Formation of the working group was announced by Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng on October 14. Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour previously said the group would have no time limit, and would have to continue negotiating until reaching a consensus.

Sour could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The stalemate is not surprising, said Community Legal Education Center consultant Joel Preston, adding that the government had already formed enough committees and has enough information to decide 2015’s minimum wage.

“It’s just another example; we hear the government saying one thing, then the results are different,” Preston said. “We want to see dialogue, but we want to see results.”

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union vice president Kong Athit said the group will send their report of each party’s suggested wage to the ministry.

All but one union agreed to accept $140. Over five meetings – the group was scheduled to meet each working day between October 20 and 30 – Cambodian Alliance Trade Union (CATU) president Yang Sophorn scoffed at settling for less than $177.

“I want all unions to keep the same stance, because it can show the employers that we are still strong,” Sophorn said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of