Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New wage not bad to many

New wage not bad to many

After the minimum wage was set on Wednesday, food sellers trade with garment workers leaving M&V Garment factory
After the minimum wage was set on Wednesday, food sellers trade with garment workers leaving M&V Garment factory in Meanchey district, Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

New wage not bad to many

A growing chorus of labour advocates yesterday continued to condemn the government’s decision this week to set the minimum wage in the garment sector at $128 per month, even as many workers seemed ready to accept the new figure and one major factory played down the impact.

After the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) initially proposed a $123 floor wage on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Hun Sen advised an extra $5.

In response, several international unions, including IndustriALL and the International Trade Union Confederation, released a joint statement dismissing the wage, which is $8 above Cambodia’s poverty line. Similarly, advocates such as the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) predicted it could lead to violent demonstrations like ones last year that left at least five people dead.

But on the factory floor, the story isn’t so simple. Although one man said yesterday he wanted $2 more than the new minimum, workers such as Sok Samnang actually welcomed it.

“I just received the information, which surprised me and made me very happy to have a higher wage; I agree to receive $128,” Samnang, a Wing Star Shoes employee, said yesterday, echoing the sentiments of four other workers who spoke to the Post. “I have no reason to join any protests to demand more”.

Unions had demanded the government raise salaries from the current $100 to $140. The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, on the other hand, remained steadfast in its negotiating stance that factories could pay only $110.

Relatively unconcerned with the hike, which is to be implemented on January 1, Grand Twins International garment factory strategy manager David Liu said the company would study its financial impact. However, he added, buyers are likely to adjust prices.

The Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina said it seemed that about 70 to 80 per cent of his members were satisfied with the new wage, though a formal survey was still needed.

Other leaders weren’t so sure.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) vice president Kong Athit said yesterday that his members are to vote today on whether to campaign against the new minimum salary.

“I don’t know exactly what [members] feel,” Athit said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided