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Wrangling over wage may spur new unrest

Wrangling over wage may spur new unrest

Unions representing garment workers have pledged to reignite protests if the minimum wage for the industry is raised to only $115 next year, a sum they say was offered by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia during a meeting on Friday.

The Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) – made up of employers, the government and unions – hopes to agree on a new wage in October.

National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia president Ken Chhenglang said unions had proposed lifting the current $100 wage to $177, but GMAC offered $115 instead, based on the government’s plan to gradually creep to $160 by 2018.

“Of course [protests] will happen, because we cannot accept $115,” she said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina also vowed to lead protests.

But LAC vice chairman and worker representative Chuon Momthol said he believed an agreement could be reached.

“We will try to avoid protests,” he said.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of GMAC, denied that $115 had been put forward.

“We … reminded them as to the decision of the LAC on December 24 [regarding gradual minimum wage increases],” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH

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