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Workers offered money over material shortage

Sun Mesa / Khmer Times Share:
Local workers in a garment factory. KT/Mai Vireak

The Labour Ministry on Wednesday said that the government offered to pay about 7,000 garment workers who will be suspended this month due to the shortage of raw material from China over Novel Coronavirus.

The Garment Manufacturer’s Association in Cambodia on Tuesday said that more than 60 percent of raw material used in garment and textile factories in the Kingdom are imported from China, with many suppliers temporarily halting production and affecting factories in the country.

“Some factories [in China] will encounter a shortage of raw materials [for export] next week or the week after,” GMAC said. “[Chinese suppliers] will not be able to provide raw materials to factories in Cambodia by the end of February or March.”

In an exclusive interview with Khmer Times on Wednesday, Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that his ministry is working with the Finance Ministry to support factory workers.

“The government will give about $100 to each garment worker per month,” Mr Sour said. “The factories that want to suspend their operations need to pay the workers a certain amount as well. They cannot suspend the workers or cease operation right away without paying [their employees].”

He added that about 90,000 workers at more than 200 factories will be suspended if the supply does not arrive in March.

Mr Sour said that about 7,000 workers will face layoff if the delivery does not materialise and if the shortage drags on, about 90,000 workers will be suspended at the end of March, according to Mr Sour.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said yesterday he is waiting to see if the government keeps its promise.

“I think about 70 to 80 percent of payment to the workers is suitable. But we will wait and see if the government implements it,” Mr Thorn said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said yesterday he supported the government’s initiative.

“I am happy with this solution. Even though the workers could not get full payment, at least they can get some,” he said.

The minimum wage for workers in the textile, garment, and footwear industries has increased to $190 per month this year.

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