Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wage hike not high for some

Wage hike not high for some

Wage hike not high for some

Garment workers earning the minimum wage will soon receive a $28 per month raise, but striking employees at a Phnom Penh factory, who earned more than the legal base pay, argue that they should receive a proportional salary hike.

Protests started on Thursday at Du Horse garment factory in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district. When the monthly minimum wage was $100 last year, the lowest paid employees at the factory earned $110. Therefore, strikers reasoned, management should continue paying workers $10 over the $128 minimum put into effect at the start of the year, said Mean Sophyreak, a Du Horse employee.

“For the new minimum wage, the government approved an additional $28 to our wages, so we should receive $138 per month,” said Mean Sophyreak, a member of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which is leading the strike. “But the company announced they would cut $10 from our normal wage before the raise, so we refused.”

However, the approximately 2,000 workers participating in the strike may be selectively interpreting the Ministry of Labour decree in November that announced 2015’s wage hike.

The Labour Ministry’s Labour Advisory Committee initially voted in favour of a $123 base salary in Cambodia’s garment industry on November 12. But, the ministry ultimately added $5 to that, making the minimum $128. There was no mandate for an across-the-board $28 raise.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he saw both sides of the issue.

“[A strike] is a little bit over-reactive,” Tola said yesterday. “For sure, I understand [that to] the worker who already gets $110 … and now gets $128 while [workers who earned $100] get $128, it’s not fair for you.”

Better collective-bargaining systems between unions and factory management could help avoid strikes such as this one, Tola said.

Negotiations are scheduled for today, C.CAWDU legal officer Seang Yoth said. Management at Du Horse and C.CAWDU officials will discuss the wage and other matters.

“We will meet with the employer tomorrow to negotiate the demand,” Yoth said yesterday.

Factory officials could not be reached yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused