Talks on garment worker wages begin

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Each party to the minimum wage talks tabled a different pay rise figure at yesterday’s meeting. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Three minimum wage figures for workers in the garment and textile industry were yesterday tabled by each party of the tripartite technical working group of the government’s Labour Advisory Committee.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour told reporters after the committee’s meeting that each party showed a lot of maturity during the minimum wage negotiations, in which garment sector employers, unions and the government each issued their ideal minimum wage.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said the government suggested a minimum wage of $162.67 during yesterday’s meeting.

“Because the unions and employers came with two different figures, the government has asked us to step back and readjust our expectations before meeting again,” he said.

Mr Thorn said that if the working group could not reach one figure, they will meet each other again on October 3 for one last discussion before sending a report to the Labour Advisory Committee on October 5 for a final decision. Far Saly, president of National Trade Unions Coalition, said yesterday that negotiations have only just begun.

“For me, I want to keep the same figure of $176.25, but we might decrease our figure by about $1 if the employers increase their figure,” he said.

“The representatives from the workers’ trade unions asked for $176.25 per month and the figure from employers was $161 per month,” Mr Sour said.

Mr Sour said that the working group will again meet on Friday. If they cannot agree on one figure, they will hold another meeting early next month.

The minimum wage for the garment textile and footwear industry this year is $153 per month.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the minimum wage would rise to at least $168 per month in 2018.

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