Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wage talk warning from gov’t

Wage talk warning from gov’t

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour talks during a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh, where he threatened legal action against academics and professions for using terminology incorrectly.
Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour talks during a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh, where he threatened legal action against academics and professions for using terminology incorrectly. Hong Menea

Wage talk warning from gov’t

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour yesterday threatened legal action against those confusing the concepts of “minimum” and “living” wages, as he outlined the method and schedule for upcoming minimum wage talks for the garment sector.

In an apparent swipe at recent research showing garment workers’ median monthly spending came to $207 – which was jumped on by some independent unions as a possible minimum wage proposal – Sour warned “academics and professionals” would face repercussions if their “wrong use” of terminology led to “social problems”.

“You all have to be responsible for every issue which occurs by the confusion that you intentionally created,” Sour said at the press conference.

Yesterday, William Conklin, director of labour rights group the Solidarity Centre, defended the report by the DC Institute, saying it did not suggest a living or minimum wage, but profiled spending habits to help inform unions’ bargaining position.

“It was not a proposal,” Conklin said. Garment unions have yet to agree on their proposed increase to the current $128 minimum wage for next year ahead of tripartite talks with employers and the government on Friday.

Today, 16 unions – both independent and government-aligned – will try again to agree on a figure, said Fa Saly, president of the National Trade Union Confederation, adding the members were split three ways between $158, $162 and $178.

“If we cannot [reach consensus], we will do a secret vote,” Fa Saly said.

Friday’s discussions, supervised by the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC), will be followed by a LAC technical working group on Monday. The government wants a final figure decided by October, Sour said.

If an agreement isn’t reached between the three parties, another tripartite session will be held next month, he said, adding that if that proves unsuccessful, a vote will be held.

Sour said the wage negotiations will be based on five principles and seven criteria covering workers’ needs as well as industry productivity and competitiveness.

On one end, was the “poverty line”, according to his presentation.

This calculated that with an average family of 5.1 people in Phnom Penh, whose living costs, adjusted for inflation, were estimated at $300, each worker, based on figures of 2.5 breadwinners per household, would need about $120 a month.

For the provinces, the “required wage” shrunk to $82.

Meanwhile, looking at productivity, Sour presented the textile, garment and footwear industry’s “value added” – its gross total output minus intermediate inputs, based on National Institute of Statistics data.

Of this “value added” – which has risen from $26 million in 1993 to a projected $1.7 billion last year – the figures indicated a growing share was going to wages and pension fund payments, from 31 per cent in 2007 to 58.2 per cent last year.

The trend is in line with a regular argument by manufactures that rising wages were not matched by increasing productivity.


  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • 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

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • 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

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be