The Workers’ Democratic Union (WDU) is planning to propose between $200 and $250 as the minimum wage for workers in the garment and footwear industry and is seeking the support of other unions to negotiate with the government.
Currently, a worker earns $165 per month and in addition, the government pays $5 every month to each worker.
The sector, a major income generator for the country, with about $7.3 billion in export earnings in 2016, hires nearly 700,000 workers.
WDU President Ath Thorn said the union plans to have a formal meeting with its counterparts on August 20 to deliberate on the minimum wage issue.
“We hope the government continues to support workers now that the election is over. We plan to demand between $200 and $250 per month as the minimum wage,” he said
Input from all sides
Last year garment workers received an 11 per cent wage increment.
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training had announced last Thursday that discussions for the 2019 minimum wage for garment and footwear industry workers will kick off this month at various levels.
The tripartite meeting between the government, workers’ unions and employers will take place in September.
The ministry is calling on all stakeholders – the public, workers, employers and vocational training institutions – to provide their input before the negotiations begin.
“Each body needs to consider and evaluate the matter based on social and economic factors. They must take into consideration the family condition of the worker, poverty rate and living expenses.
“They must also look at the economic perspective such as productivity, prevailing inflation rate, the country’s competitiveness, the overall market and the sector’s profitability,” the ministry said.