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Minimum wage vote looms for key sector

A garment worker folds items of apparel after performing final quality checks at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in 2014.
A garment worker folds items of apparel after performing final quality checks at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in 2014. Vireak Mai

Minimum wage vote looms for key sector

The government’s wage-setting body, the Labour Advisory Council (LAC), will Thursday afternoon discuss – and quite possibly rule on – a wage proposal emerging from today’s final tripartite meeting of garment industry stakeholders.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour confirmed that the LAC meeting had been scheduled, but did not divulge if the body would vote on 2017’s minimum wage ahead of the upcoming Pchum Ben holidays, as it did last year.

“The technical working group will meet this morning and each party will adopt its final positions,” he said of today’s negotiations.

The 28-member LAC has a similar structure to that of the working group, pulling half of its members from the government and seven each from trade unions and employer representatives.

Last year, the LAC voted on a $135 minimum wage, which was then upped an additional $5 by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Prominent union leaders Ath Thorn and Yang Sophorn said they expected the LAC to vote on a final figure on Thursday.

“I am not sure what figure we will decide on [today]. But we will try and send all three wage proposals to the LAC,” said Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation.

Unions will go into today’s negotiations seeking $177.59 a month. Factory owners are pushing for $144.37, while the ministry has put forth a proposed wage of $148.20.

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