The Cambodian Labour Confederation plans to petition the government to raise the minimum wage for workers in the tourism and service sectors to at least $300 per month.
Its president Ath Thorn yesterday said that the petition will be sent to Labour Minister Ith Samheng.
He said his union had conducted a small survey among about 300 workers working in both sectors and found that they could not make ends meet on their current wages.
“After our meetings with unionists and workers in the tourism and service sectors, we plan to demand for a minimum wage of at least $300 per month for them,” Mr Thorn said, adding that the workers spent a lot on food, accommodation and other expenses.
He said that the CLC survey on the cost of living found that workers in the tourism sector spend at least $300.5 per month while their average income is $224 per month.
“According to our survey, their income is less than their spending. Their monthly wages are between $80 and $130 per month but workers in the big hotels can earn more than $200 through tips,” Mr Thorn noted. “But those in budget hotels or guesthouses rarely get tips or are given very small ones.”
He said that the union also found out that many workers in the tourism and service sectors still faced problems at work and some of their employers do not follow the labour law.
Mr Thorn said that unionists and workers are preparing the petition and seeking the signatures from as many workers in the Kingdom as possible before the CLC sends it to the ministry later this year.
“We have been waiting for two years for the ministry to respond to requests for increased wages for other workers besides those in the garment and footwear industry,” he noted. “That’s why we are starting this petition for tourism and service sector workers.”
“We have already sent a petition requesting the ministry to set a minimum wage for construction workers but it has yet to respond,” Mr Thorn added.
Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour yesterday said that in order to extend the minimum wage to any other sector, the ministry and government has to study International Labour Organisation guidelines and obtain feedback from stakeholders, including the private sector and unions
“Having a minimum wage in each sector requires an impact study, working out the mechanisms for implementation as well as ensuring that the amount set for a sector will not negatively affect any party and in turn upset Cambodia’s core economic growth,” he said.