The National Council for Minimum Wage yesterday selected two vice presidents to represent workers and employers as it officially begins discussions on the minimum wage for garment and footwear factory workers in 2020.
The council is made up of representatives of the government, workers unions and employers. Its job is to determine how much salary the workers will receive based on social and economic factors. Labour Minister Ith Samheng is president and he presides over meetings.
Yesterday, the council selected Som Aun, president of the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia, and Nang Sothy, a representative of the Garment Manufacturer’s Association in Cambodia, as vice presidents.
Mr Samheng told reporters after the meeting that each party has 17 members who have equal say in how much garment and footwear factory workers will earn.
“We can say today is a historic moment for the National Council for Minimum Wage because we have started discussing the minimum wage for workers in the garment and footwear sector in 2020,” he said. “This council has three parties: government, unions and GMAC [employers].”
Mr Samheng said unions and employers will provide their data on minimum wage for workers. He said a working group will compile the data provided and analyse it to determine the amount of next year’s wage.
“This was the first meeting and we will have more meetings next time,” he said. “I have set a target to determine what the minimum wage should be before Pchum Ben at the end of September.”
“However, if a party does not agree with the amount, we will continue to negotiate until we have reached a consensus,” Mr Samheng said, noting that the next meeting on minimum wage will take place on September 3.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, on Facebook yesterday said all parties must justify their arguments by providing evidence.
Far Saly, president of the National Trade Unions Coalition, yesterday said reaching a consensus before Pchum Ben will help the Kingdom avoid losing its Everything-but-arms status.
“If the NCMW discusses and makes a decision to determine the minimum wage of garment and footwear workers as soon as possible, it will be good for the European Union because it shows that we have good labour conditions and that we increase wages in Cambodia,” Mr Saly said.
Currently, the minimum wage for garment and footwear factory workers is set at $182 per month. In 2018, it was set at $170.
Keo Mony, a garment factory worker, yesterday said there should be a significant increase for next year.
“I hope that the minimum wage for 2020 will increase more than it did for 2019 because six of our public holidays are to be cut – we would lose $42 per year,” Mr Mony said, noting that the minimum wage next year should be set to $232 per month.