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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a