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Minimum wage talks set to roll

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Minister Ith Sam Heng (centre) said the National Council on Minimum Wage (NCMW) will consider all issues related to the minimum wage law. LABOUR MINISTRY

Minimum wage talks set to roll

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training will hold meetings next week on whether the minimum wage for textile, garment, footwear and travel equipment workers will go up in 2021.

Minister Ith Sam Heng said the National Council on Minimum Wage (NCMW) will consider all issues related to the minimum wage law, including Covid-19, labour issues, social and health issues and workers’ incomes.

“I am optimistic that each party understands the global difficulties and the Covid-19 impact on the economy. We are willing to discuss with a sense of shared responsibility in addressing the minimum wage for 2021.

“We have decided to schedule the next meeting of the NCMW on September 9 and will finalise the results on wages for workers in the textile, garment, footwear and travel equipment sector on September 10, before the Pchum Ben festival,” Sam Heng said.

National Trade Union president Fa Saly told The Post on Thursday he expects workers will receive a wage increase.

“The union will meet again on Monday to set a figure. I think the new minimum wage for workers in 2021 is likely to be no less than $195, as last year the minimum wage was only increased by $8,” Saly said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina was also optimistic about wage negotiations for workers.

“The situation this year is different from previous ones due to the Covid-19 crisis and the removal of 20 per cent of the Everything But Arms scheme. Both sides seem to understand the difficult situation workers face,” Sina said.

Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) president Ath Thorn said the reason to increase wages for workers is for families who lost income and work.

“They need to live with a heavier burden than before. Workers previously earned from $230 to $240 per month. But many factories are suspending workers as inflation rises to 3.1 per cent and food prices increase.

“We have high hopes there will be negotiable figures, but in this situation, company representatives have expressed the position that the Covid-19 problem will continue for a long time and they are waiting to hear whether the government can keep investors.

“The employer side has not yet mentioned any figures,” Thorn said. The union representatives have set a wage increase figure for workers in 2021 at $11.59.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said it is studying data before releasing a number.

GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo declined to comment on Thursday saying he will “wait for negotiations to be concluded”.

The government has set a policy to increase the wages of workers in the textile, garment, footwear and travel accessories sectors every year and the minimum wage in Cambodia in 2020 is $190 per month.

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