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Unions, employer reps barely budge on wage

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour (centre) chairs a minimum wage working group meeting on Friday in Phnom Penh.
Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour (centre) chairs a minimum wage working group meeting on Friday in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Unions, employer reps barely budge on wage

The Labour Advisory Committee’s second meeting on Friday resulted in employer representatives increasing their $161 minimum wage proposal by a mere $0.50, with the unions in turn reducing their demand by $1.25.

The tripartite negotiations – between the government, employer representatives and unions – began last week, with the three sides presenting their wage recommendations for next year. The proposals were $162.67, $161 and $176.25, respectively.

While, employer representatives proposed a $0.50 increase yesterday, unions reduced their demand from $176.25 to $175, though independent unions said the drop was only agreed to by pro-government unionists.

“[We] independent unions did not fully agree with them [pro-government unions] about $175, because we can see that the employers’ side only increased by $0.50,” said Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.

She said all their research showed that next year’s minimum wage for the garment and footwear sector should stand at $176, and was hopeful the wage proposal of the unions would not go any lower.

Representatives of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia could not be reached yesterday. Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour also could not be reached, but took to Facebook to commend the negotiations.

“Both parties continue to interpret the data and change the seven criterion used in determining the minimum wage ethically, maturely and with understanding.”

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