Cambodia garment unions push for minimum wage rise

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Phnom Penh (dpa) — Negotiations on raising the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of workers in Cambodia’s vital garment sector were set to begin in the capital Friday.

The meeting of the 28-member Labour Advisory Committee – comprising union leaders, manufacturers, and members of the Ministry of Labour – will consider increasing the minimum wage by at least 30 dollars a month.

The minimum wage is currently set at 128 dollars a month, and unions are divided over whether to ask for a raise of 158, 166 or 178 dollars.

Three groups will each be submitting their own proposal, according to the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

A wage rise would impact some 700,000 garment workers, the majority of whom are women, according to Better Factories Cambodia, a programme of the International Labour Organization that overseas manufacturers.

Worth over 5 billion dollars, the garment sector is Cambodia’s largest legal industry, accounting for some 80 per cent of its exports. It is also the only sector in Cambodia with a minimum wage.

A number of international brands source from Cambodian factories, including Adidas, Puma, Armani, H&M, and Gap.

Cambodia’s last minimum wage rise was approved in November 2014, with the Ministry of Labour raising the floor from 100 to 128 dollars.

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