Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unions, government consult on new min wage law

Unions, government consult on new min wage law

Officials at the Ministry of Labour discussed the draft minimum wage law in Phnom Penh late last week. Photo supplied
Officials at the Ministry of Labour discussed the draft minimum wage law in Phnom Penh late last week. Photo supplied

Unions, government consult on new min wage law

The Ministry of Labour met with unions on Friday to gather input on a universal minimum wage law currently being drafted, union representatives and ministry officials confirmed yesterday. “The meeting is a forum for each party to review the draft and provide comments so the law can be more comprehensive,” the ministry said in a statement.

Unions are requesting that the ministry re-examine seven articles in the current draft law related to regional differences in the minimum wage and a hefty fine for organising to raise wages once a minimum wage has been determined, said Chhuon Momthol, head of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions.

“The meeting finished well. [The ministry] took our suggestions and will discuss them further,” Momthol said, adding that the ministry pledged to consult with relevant authorities about whether to adopt the unions’ recommendations.

The draft law aims to broaden the current minimum wage for garment and footwear workers to other sectors, but has been criticised by unionists and labour advocates who say it could restrict workers’ rights to free assembly and expression.

Following the meeting, Far Sally, president of the National Trade Union Coalition, said he was concerned the ministry was creating a universal minimum wage in order to stymie the ability of unions to bargain for higher wages. He also expressed concern that varying the minimum wage in different areas of the country could have adverse effects.

“We must have a national minimum wage,” Sally said. “For example, if the minimum wage is lower in a poor area, employers will move to open their businesses only in the poor areas.”

Meanwhile, William Conklin, country director at labour advocacy NGO Solidarity Center, said a higher minimum wage in urban areas could drive migration to the cities and complicate the enforcement of the wage.

“Having good statistics on cost of living needs to be a priority,” Conklin added. “If you said urban areas are significantly more expensive, then a higher minimum wage rate should be in effect there. But there needs to be empirical evidence.”

In a statement, the ministry pledged to review the unions’ suggestions with relevant experts. Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in