Prime Minister Hun Sen has allocated about $40 million per year from next year after the garment and footwear industry workers’ minimum wage increased to $170 per month.
Mr Hun Sen posted on Facebook on Sunday that from 2018, garment workers would receive more than $200 per month when benefits were added to the new $170 minimum wage.
He said the employers had offered $165 but the government added another $5. The additional money would come from changes to the withholding of tax and fees from exports.
“The government has prepared the budget of about $40 million annually to add to your wages,” he told the workers.
He said that in 1997, the garment workers’ wage was only $40 per month, but today they had $153 per month and when other benefits were included, they would receive $200 or more.
However, Far Saly, president of National Trade Unions Coalition, said yesterday that the government should not spend a lot of money adding to workers’ wages or benefits because the employers have the ability to pay.
“I think it is not difficult for the companies to spend this money,” he said. “I asked some company owners and they said that they would still be able to proceed with their business.
“But if the minimum wage is higher than this, it will affect small factories and sub-contractors who do not have the ability to pay high wages.”