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Rent hike delayed, reduced after protest

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
The rooms which house the garment workers. KT/Tep Sony

Authorities in Por Senchey district’s Chom Chao I commune yesterday met with landlords of rooms being rented to garment workers within Canadia Industrial Park and convinced them to reduce expected rent hikes following a protest by hundreds of workers on Sunday.

On Sunday night, after learning that their landlords would be increasing rent by $10, hundreds of workers protested following the end of their shifts.

There are nearly 1,000 rooms in the area, and rent ranges from $35 to $55 per month, depending on the size of the room and its facilities.

Kong Vong, Chom Chao I commune chief, yesterday said he met with the landlords and they agreed to delay the increase by three months and also reduce it to $5.

“We tried our best to negotiate with the landlords over this increase and they discounted the price and delayed the hike for three months,” he said.

Mr Vong said the landlord also informed officials that rent will no longer be increased at all for those living in the cheapest accommodations, noting that the hike will only apply to those who have more space and private bathrooms.

Hean Sivlai, a renter, said workers are glad the hike has been reduced and changed to apply only to the more expensive units.

“We hope the landlord will not increase the price again in the future because workers do not have the ability to pay such prices on our low wages,” he said. “We also have to eat.”

The minimum wage for garment factory workers increases annually. Earlier this year, unions, government officials and employers agreed that the minimum wage for textile, garment and footwear industry workers should be $182 per month for 2019.

Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said on Monday that although wages have been bumped up annually for garment workers, they are still living in poverty with such low wages.

“Their wages are not enough,” she said. “Some workers work hard, and sometimes they work overtime to get more money.”

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