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Minimum wage for all in sight

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Labor Minister Ith Samheng addressing the media’s questions on the national minimum wage. KT/Chor Sokunthea

A new law on a national minimum wage for all workers will come into force by the end of the year, the Labor Minister said, after union and employer representatives met officials to discuss the issue yesterday.  
Ith Samheng said the talks focused on a draft of the law, which will allow for a monthly minimum wage across all industries.
Several sectors already have a minimum wage, such as the garment and textile industry, which pays staff at least $153 each month. Teachers and doctors are paid at least $238 a month.
Mr. Samheng said a National Council on the Minimum Wage will carry out research to provide recommendations on the minimum wage and other benefits. It will represent all three main stakeholders – government, workers and employers.
“This law is good news for workers because their wage will be set. It will also help to reduce strikes,” he said.
The minister said officials will finish the draft law this year. Yesterday’s talks marked the first public workshop on the issue. There will be a second such workshop before the draft is sent to other government ministries, the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly.
Employer representative Nang Sothy welcomed the draft law because it will encourage stability in industries across the country.
“We will check over it and give recommendations to help make sure it is acceptable to everyone,” he said.
Ath Thon, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said the draft law was a positive step forward but amendments wouldbe necessary to balance the needs of employees and employers.
He praised the fact the National Council on the Minimum Wage will be made up of 16 representatives from the Labor Ministry, 16 from unions and 16 from employers.
“It is good that our country is adopting this law while other countries in the region have yet to do so,” he said.
He added that the minimum wage law will be successful if it is founded on constitutional principles, labor law and international conventions, warning the law should not be used to curtail the rights of unions.

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