Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Not ‘all unions’ agreed to wage demand, FTU says

Not ‘all unions’ agreed to wage demand, FTU says

Garment workers on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard protest for a minimum wage of $177 a month in 2014. With wage talks gearing up this year, the Free Trade Union has disavowed the consensus figure of $179.60, putting forward its own demand of $183.
Garment workers on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard protest for a minimum wage of $177 a month in 2014. With wage talks gearing up this year, the Free Trade Union has disavowed the consensus figure of $179.60, putting forward its own demand of $183. Hong Menea

Not ‘all unions’ agreed to wage demand, FTU says

The Free Trade Union yesterday asked the Labour Ministry to exclude it from a letter sent by 16 other prominent unions demanding a $179.60 minimum wage for 2017, saying they had not signed off on that wage figure.

The letter, sent last Friday following a meeting with the assembled unions, states that “all of the unions now agree” on the roughly $180 monthly wage demand ahead of the upcoming tripartite wage negotiations.

But FTU deputy president Man Seng Hak said yesterday that while his union was part of those discussions, they had not signed on to the final wage demand.

“We reject that letter. Though FTU is among the 17 unions that discussed wages, FTU did not sign it and agree to $179.60,” Seng Hak said. “We demand at least $183 per month.”

The FTU’s letter goes on to complain that despite their not signing the letter due to the disagreement, it was nonetheless submitted to the ministry with their name on it anyway.

However, Ath Thorn, president of Cambodian Labour Confederation, said the letter was sent because a large majority of the unions had agreed to the $179.60 figure, with Seng Hak having left the meeting before the vote was taken.

“He [Seng Hak] left the meeting when we were signing the letter and he did not answer his phone,” Thorn said. “He is doing it alone, so it will not be effective. I don’t care about this because 16 unions have agreed to it.”

Thorn said that during initial discussions, the FTU’s preferred $185 figure was floated, based on a calculation that accounted for 5 per cent inflation. However, after speaking to other experts, the group decided to base it on 3 per cent inflation, which brought the wage figure down to $179.60.

Thorn was yesterday backed up by Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, who said Seng Hak was conspicuously quiet at the meeting and missing towards the latter part of the discussions. He expressed confidence in the $179.60 wage request, saying that unions would be able to back it up during negotiations with the government and employer representatives because it was based on research – unlike the FTU’s figure.

“It will not be an obstacle to our negotiations going forward,” he said. “We have good reasons for our demands.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • Nesat beach: A magnet drawing tourists to the Kingdom’s coastline

    A white sandy beach lined by countless coconut trees awaits travellers off Cambodia’s southwest coast in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district, about 170km from Phnom Penh. Over the past few years Nesat beach – a name inspired by a nearby fishing village – has

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that