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Unions come down $5 as employers raise $0.5 in minimum wage talks

Labour Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour explains the voting procedure yesterday in Phnom Penh ahead of a vote on next year’s garment sector minimum wage.
Labour Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour explains the voting procedure yesterday in Phnom Penh ahead of a vote on next year’s garment sector minimum wage. Pha Lina

Unions come down $5 as employers raise $0.5 in minimum wage talks

The Labour Advisory Committee’s subcommittee yesterday submitted its final wage proposals for a vote on Thursday, with unions substantially decreasing their minimum wage demand by $5, and employer representatives again proposing only a $0.5 hike in their wage offer.

As of the last meeting on Friday, the unions had brought down their wage proposal to $175 and employers increased theirs to $161.5, with the government setting their benchmark at $162.67.

Yesterday, unions came down to $170, employers went up to $162 and the government revised its figure to $165. The three proposals will be voted on by the Labour Advisory Committee on Thursday, setting next year’s minimum wage for the garment and footwear sectors.

Heng Sour, Labour Ministry spokesman and chair of the meeting, said the proposals were promising, adding that he had spoken with unionists about the prospect of getting brands and foreign buyers to pay higher prices for their products.

“They committed to push and convince the brands to increase the prices,” he said. “Unions also promise to mobilise the US and EU to push the brands to buy more products and continue orders.”

Som Aun, president of the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia, said the unions all decided to take a sharp cut in the wage proposal to enable a better chance at reaching a compromise with the employers.

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