Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unions request government to set workers’ minimum wage

Unions request government to set workers’ minimum wage

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Government, employer and union representatives attend a consultation meeting on the draft minimum wage law in Phnom Penh in April. Pha Lina

Unions request government to set workers’ minimum wage

Unions have asked the government to set the minimum wage for the construction and service sectors and to solve the five other major problems facing them, a statement released on International Human Rights Day on Monday said.

In addition to the minimum wage request, the unions appealed to the government to insist that previous employers of illegally dismissed union leaders and activists accept their return and allow them to work.

They also want to see a revision of some articles of the Trade Union Law and seek a review of Announcement 303 on union representatives, dated July 2.

The unions further requested the government to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention 149 on the protection of domestic and migrant workers.

And finally, they requested the implementation of the Law on Domestic Workers.

The president of the Cambodia Informal Economy Reinforced Association, Din Puthy, said the minimum wage of construction and tourism workers and staff at hotels and casinos depends on the owner of the institution.

Therefore, the minimum wage has not yet managed to properly support their livelihood.

He said that if the government set the minimum wage for the construction and service sectors, workers’ livelihoods would improve. In addition, it would help reduce emigration as workers would deem their own country’s wage adequate.

“The minimum wage of workers and staff in the construction and service sectors depends on the owner. We will get the amount that the owner is willing to offer us."

“If the owner is a good person, we might get a high amount. But, if we work for a mean owner, we find it hard to get a wage increase even though we have worked for years,” Puthy said.

The deputy director of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, Khat Lot, said that the minimum wage of all workers cannot properly support their livelihood because the cost of goods is also increasing.

He said besides spending money on goods, workers also have to pay for medical treatment because, when they are sick, having a National Social Security Fund card means they do not get attentive care from some medics.

“They have had to deal with a low minimum wage for some time, but now they are also faced with a smelly factory environment and the food in front of the factories is not good,” he said.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the unions’ intentions were good but it is a cornerstone of management and government thinking too.

He said the government can manage or set wages for huge construction companies but for smaller ones, it might be able to further study the impact and interests of those workers and company owners.

He said in the near future the government will study the problem in order to find a solution for everyone.

“The government, through the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, is considering how to help workers to obtain better benefits while preventing companies from losing too much. We need to ensure that we can help them as well as the factory workers,” Siphan said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • 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

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • PM: Law likely next week

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be approved after the Khmer New Year, though he said there is a slim chance of enforcement given the current