The tripartite meetings to decide the 2022 garment factory minimum wage will resume today amid stalemated negotiations. Unions have warned of demonstrations if the talks do not result in a resolution.
Labour Ministry Committee for the Resolution of Strikes secretary general Tes Rukhaphal told Khmer Times yesterday that staging street protests during the Covid-19 pandemic will not be possible, should the final negotiations tomorrow between trade unions and employers fail.
The negotiations for minimum wage for the garment industry are regulated by law, and he added that if any of the garment workers want to stage protests they can do so in private, but they cannot come out into the streets.
Cambodian Labor Confederation president Ath Thorn told Khmer Times yesterday that he hoped the increase in wages for garment workers will be accepted by employers, due in part to bad inflation in the country as a whole.
Many garment workers are sharing news on social media about the wage negotiations, and are hoping they will get better payment to support themselves and their families, said Thorn.
Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights Programme manager Khun Tharo said that workers from at least 70 different factories, both in Phnom Penh and other provinces, are ready to go on strike if their expectations are not met.
He added that many garment factories that make products for big brands like Adidas, Nike, or Levis can afford to increase their wages.
National Trade Unions Coalition president Far Saly told Khmer Times that he will join the negotiations again today and will not rule any later protests if they failed to reach an agreement for workers.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said that any garment worker wanting to stage protests in favour of $214 are a minority group of saboteurs led by NGOs and are not reflective of the members of The National Council on Minimum Wage.
The majority of union leaders involved in the tripartite negotiations had agreed on a final figure of $204, said Monika.
“We know that if the negotiations are based on technical criteria and figures that already exist, given the current state of the sector, it is very difficult to make significant changes, and will require more discussion and mutual understanding, said Monika.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.