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Ministry extends deadline to propose minimum wage

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Heng Sour speaks at a minimum wage meeting held at a the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on Tuesday. Hean Rangsey

Ministry extends deadline to propose minimum wage

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on Tuesday gave unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) until Friday to decide on their figures for the sector’s minimum wage for next year.

Negotiations on next year’s minimum wage began on Tuesday.

GMAC has previously said it wants the garment worker minimum wage to remain the same.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told reporters after the second meeting of the National Council on Minimum Wage on Tuesday that the delay is to allow all sides to set a figure for negotiations to find a minimum wage acceptable to all.

“Each party should have time to hold meetings to find the figure they will take into the wage negotiations. The government will coordinate talks to find a minimum wage acceptable [to all sides],” said Sour, who is also secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour.

Six tripartite meetings of the National Council on Minimum Wage, which includes workers and employers’ representatives and the Ministry of Labour, will be held from Tuesday until September 25 to reach a final decision, the Ministry of Labour’s schedule states.

There will then be an official decision on the minimum wage by the Minister of Labour.

Som Aun, the vice-chair of the National Council of Minimum Wage representing garment workers, told The Post that the workers’ side was yet to reach an agreement on a figure for negotiations.

The workers’ side, consisting of 17 people, would, through discussions, set a figure to be taken to negotiations within two days, he said.

“We don’t know how much it will be yet. We are waiting for the first meeting between unions, and no union has yet set their figure,” Aun said.

‘Difficult to compete’

GMAC deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said employers did not have the ability to bring to negotiations an increase to the minimum wage.

He said the majority of GMAC members had agreed to keep it at $182 a month.

“We have held regular meetings, and more than 60 per cent of our members have told us that they do not have the ability to increase the minimum wage because it has currently reached a point where it is difficult for them to compete,” Monika said.

The government in 2014 introduced the policy of increasing the minimum wage for workers in the garment sector every year.

This year it stands at $182 per month.

Some unions have said workers could this year receive an increase of between $20 and $27 a month.