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Trade unions, GMAC and ministry set for minimum wage negotiation

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Garment workers are fighting for a wage increase, but could face a wage decrease. Collective Union of Movement of Workers

Trade unions, GMAC and ministry set for minimum wage negotiation

Trade unions representing workers have agreed that textile, garment and footwear factory workers should receive a 6.1 per cent monthly wage raise of $11.59 for 2021.

Union leaders gathered to discuss the raise on August 28. Their proposed figure will be negotiated at a meeting of the National Council on Minimum Wage at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on Thursday. The meeting will be attended by representatives of trade unions, garment factory and the labour ministry.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said: “We decided to take an $11.59 figure that we have agreed on. We put this figure up for discussion with associations and garment factories in Cambodia.”

Sina said he met with more than 100 local members of trade unions last week and they all expressed a strong desire to see their wages raised in the coming year.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said the figure was based on three main factors – a two per cent increase to account for annual inflation, two per cent for factory productivity and 1.3 per cent for margins of profit of employers.

“I think that negotiations will not falter because trade unions have already prepared documents,” he said.

He added employers have raised concerns about a wage raise considering the disastrous effects Covid-19 has had on factories.

Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour told The Post on Monday that he expects the negotiations to go smoothly. Sour said it is the right of employees to request a raise, but he gave no indication of the government’s view on the matter.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said the association is still analysing data.

He said each wage raise demand is generally based on the current situation. Given the pandemic, he said it is highly likely that workers will face a wage decrease rather than a raise.

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