Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The government decided that employers would pay laid-off garment workers $30 and the government would pay $40 instead of the aggregate 60 per cent of minimum wage as was promised in February. Hong Menea

Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said.

Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories announced temporary closures.

In February, the government decided that factory employers would be required to pay 40 per cent of the wages, while the government would provide the other 20 per cent of the $190 minimum wage.

The workers would receive $114 but they had an obligation to attend skills training organised by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

The prime minister said at a press conference at the Peace Palace on Tuesday that the government had decided that employers would pay only $30 and the government would pay $40 instead. He said doing so was a humanitarian act.

“Factory owners have no ability. So now the state will release $40 while factory employers pay $30. A worker obtains a benefit of $70. Earlier, they thought they would receive more than $100. But the factories are unable to do so and cannot be forced to do so,” Hun Sen said.

He said because the changes lowered their allowances, the workers were not required to fulfil the obligation to attend the course as previously defined.

“Because the problem happened in this way, a worker will obtain only $70. But workers are not required to be trained as before, he said, adding that the training facilities were being closed.

As of April 6, the prime minister announced that more than 100 garment factories had temporarily closed down across the Kingdom due to a lack of raw materials and the fact that buyers had not placed orders on goods.

“If this continues, our workers will lose their jobs. Our choices are different from the European Community. Since the beginning, their ancestors have all been workers, while workers in our country have not yet detached from being farmers.

“Our workers are still connected with their parents. Therefore, we will help those who lost jobs in the industrial sector and in turn they will return to join the labour force in the agricultural sector,” he said.

In doing so, Hun Sen said it is the long-term proposition for Cambodia because the Kingdom does not have adequate resources to give workers money forever.

He said during the current slowdown, Cambodia had to do whatever it takes for workers to return to agricultural occupations.

Mai Chan, a worker at 7NG who was suspended from work two months ago, told The Post on Tuesday that he could not get by on 60 per cent of allowances to pay for his family and the bank, so how will he survive on only $70?

“Previously, I looked for a second job to supplement my income and pay off debts. I am very concerned, but don’t know what to do. I have two children. So, I have to look for more jobs to earn my income because now it is very difficult. I don’t even have enough for food,” he said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said the government’s decision had cost workers their income.

“According to the Labour Law, the employer is duty-bound to look into the problem. But instead, the government is the one taking charge. Some factories had received a lot of benefits, but are now making excuses to get away.

“By asking workers to return to agricultural jobs, they will all pay attention to this sector, but is there enough of a market in agriculture? It is difficult. When people turn to grow crops, produce will be cheaper.

“If they grow them on a family-scale, it won’t be a problem. But if they grow crops to be supplied to the market, they might not be able to compete price-wise,” Sina said.

He urged the government to join the private sector in lowering the price of goods, especially food to help defuse the burden of debts which workers owe banks.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration