The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2.
Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure. The remaining five voted opted for $213, most of them trade union representatives.
The wage has increased from the $200 set in 2023. Last year’s figure included a $2 contribution from then Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The National Council for Minimum Wage said that the vote came after 20 separate negotiations failed to find a unanimous agreement. It said the government and employers representatives had agreed on the figure of $202, while worker’s unions demanded $213.
In a September 28 audio message, Prime Minister Hun Manet confirmed that based on the votes and the Kingdom’s minimum wage law, the NCMW will set $202 as the 2024 minimum wage.
“I have followed the minimum wage discussions closely from the start. The improvement of the livelihoods of the people, including garment workers, is the highest priority of the government. Based on practical allowances, I decided to add $2 to the result of the vote. Therefore, the new 2024 minimum wage is $204 a month,” he said.
Manet instructed the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to inform workers of the minimum wage. Along with the increase, he said he would continue to urge all state institutions to examine measureswhich could reduce the cost of living of the workers.
“I will lead a November meeting with the private sector to fine-tune investment climate and business conduct in Cambodia to increase competition and attract investment capital, which would create new jobs for people,” he added.
He thanked all of the participants, especially the representatives of the workers and employers, and complimented their efforts to decide this year’s minimum wage.
A labour ministry statement announced that the new wage begin in January 2024, with $204 for full-time workers, and $202 for those in a probation period.
The ministry said that with other bonuses and allowances, each worker will earn between $221 and $232 per month.
“[We] will also work with other state institutions to reduce the burdens and expenses of workers,” it added.
Kim Chan Samnang, a union representative, said he and the other members of the union side felt okay with the result. He said the figure was determined following evaluation of seven indicators, with special consideration on competition from neighbouring countries.
Vich Seng Van, a worker at a factory in Cheung Prey district of Kampong Cham province, said that while it is good to get an increase, the amount is small for her. She had hoped it would increase by $10 or $20.
“An increase of less than $10 is small, because it is only based on the minimum wage, without taking into account the overtime work we do to earn more income. Also the price of many goods is increasing,” she added.
She conceded that she accepted the figure because she believes that the government continues to pay close attention to the well-being of workers.