Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tripartite talks over minimum wage start

Tripartite talks over minimum wage start

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Garment workers leave their factory after work in Dangkor district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in July. Hong Menea

Tripartite talks over minimum wage start

Tripartite discussions on the 2022 minimum wage for workers in the garment, textile and footwear sectors were set to begin on September 14. According to industry observers, the employers are planning to offer $183.40, as opposed to $214.20 requested by trade unions.

The National Council on Minimum Wage (NCMW) kicked off the negotiations earlier this year. Workers in the garment and footwear sectors are currently receiving a minimum wage of $192 per month.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on September 14 that each side has so far maintained its position and both have brought scientific research and economic data to the table to bolster their arguments.

The NCMW scheduled September 21 and 28 for further discussions with the goal of having both sides agree to a final figure.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon said workers would maintain their demands for an increase of $22.20, or 11.6 per cent, to the minimum wage over the previous year’s figure.

According to Thon, the employers are adamant that the minimum wage of 2022 should actually decrease rather than increase due to pandemic-related economic factors.

He noted that the labour ministry’s study of the issue found that the minimum wage should stay the same.

Garment Manufacturing Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Kaing Monika said the current crisis posed by Covid-19 is the most important factor for all parties to take into account and should especially serve to temper the unions’ expectations.

Monika said many countries have delayed discussions on their wages as they wait and see how the fluid economic situation develops. Vietnam suspended their wage discussions last year and this year delayed them again until 2022.

“Our minimum wage is already higher than that of Vietnam’s most industrialised localities. Bear in mind that we need to compete for investors, not only in the garment and footwear sectors, but also for other value-added sectors we wish to bring to Cambodia,” he said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), expressed concerns that workers and their families will face more difficulties if the minimum wage does not increase at all or only by a small amount.

He said workers and their families will suffer hardships and struggle to pay their daily expenses in addition to paying their debts and dealing with interruptions to their employment due to the pandemic.

“It is clear that if workers’ wages don’t increase in line with inflation, they will have to reduce their daily expenses because of the higher costs of goods and that will ultimately affect their health and wellbeing,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’