Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GMAC requests sit-down on proposed pay changes

GMAC requests sit-down on proposed pay changes

Over 70 garment workers block Phnom Penh’s National Road 2 in a protest to resolve their complaints against their company. Photo supplied
Over 70 garment workers block Phnom Penh’s National Road 2 in a protest to resolve their complaints against their company. Photo supplied

GMAC requests sit-down on proposed pay changes

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has requested a meeting with the Ministry of Labour for employers to air concerns about a proposed bi-monthly payment schedule for workers floated by Minister Ith Sam Heng this month as a way to protect workers in the event of factories going bankrupt.

GMAC, in a letter dated February 23, asks Sam Heng to allow for discussion and to provide time for employers to get ready before enforcing Article 116 of the Labour Law, which already technically requires labourers to be paid at least twice a month.

The article of the law hasn’t been enforced in the past, but the change in enforcement was mentioned during a speech by Sam Heng, along with a proposal for incrementally paying end-of-contract severance pay to help reduce the risk of garment workers being abandoned without pay when companies suddenly close.

Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general for GMAC, said the ministry hasn’t approached GMAC regarding this issue, though they believe the change will be carried out. “The ministry is taking the issue very seriously,” he said. “We want to make it clear that we don’t have any problems with the law . . . but we just need time.”

Monika said that GMAC recognises the obligation of paying workers at least twice a month, but given that it is also in the midst of a required shift to electronic payments, it would be difficult to implement the new payment schedules without adequate time, Monika said. “Our payroll system is cash-based.”

Not only would employers need more human resources in accounting, but workers would need to be educated about electronic payments, Monika said.

“We need to start by educating the workers,” he said. “They want to see cash . . . They don’t trust [the electronic payment].”

Chan Nan, a factory worker, said she would like to get paid via direct deposit, but it’s difficult for her because she doesn’t know how to read.

As of yesterday, GMAC had not received a response. Ministry spokesman Heng Sour couldn’t be reached.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said he doesn’t object to the changes in the salary schedule, although this particular change would have no effect in protecting workers if a company owner flees without paying their salaries. “The best action would be for the ministry to urge companies to [establish] a budget in the bank for workers [in the event] the factory closes or the employer escapes,” he said.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: All 10 Asean countries to receive Rainsy arrest warrants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states will receive warrants for the arrest of Sam Rainsy. The warrants have already been sent to Laos and Thailand. He was speaking at a joint press conference at

  • Human rights report biased, says Cambodia

    Cambodia has accused the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday of having “undermined the principle of objectivity”. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN said the Office of the

  • Kingdom okays 2,400MW power purchase from Laos

    A cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided that the government will purchase 2,400MW of electricity from Laos. A briefing document uploaded by government spokesman Phay Siphan to his Facebook page confirmed this. It said Cambodia will buy exclusive power from two coal-fired power plants in Laos –

  • The need to establish research universities in Cambodia

    In an era of the globalisation and internationalisation of higher education, it is difficult, if not impossible, to disregard the regional and global trend toward building world-class universities. Many governments in Asia and Africa are making significant efforts to establish research-intensive universities to catch up