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Labour talks held at ministry

Labour talks held at ministry

REPRESENTATIVES for garment workers, factory owners and the government agreed to a framework and deadline for negotiations over worker benefits yesterday at a meeting of the Labour Advisory Committee at the Ministry of Labour.

Union leaders called for numerous benefits that would add an additional US$38 to the monthly minimum wage set at $61 in July.

The labour proposal included several monthly allowances  for transportation, cost of living, work attendance, lunch meals and a seniority bonus, according to Tharo Khun, a programme officer at the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, who attended the meeting as an observer.

But Minister of Labour Vong Soth, who chairs the LAC, recommended that the two sides limit discussion to three items, according to participants.

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said the negotiations would revolve around “existing allowances”.

“The existing allowances are, firstly, attendance bonus, secondly, seniority bonus, and thirdly, meal allowance for overtime work,” said Loo.

“We decided to select three points for workers’ benefits, including 2,500 riel for food for overtime work, $2 for seniority and $10 for incentive [regular attendance] wage which will be discussed in December,” Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said yesterday.

“And the other three points will be discussed next time”, he added.

The LAC also determined that talks should be completed within three months so that any changes could go into effect on March 1 next year.

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