Minister Announces Garment Wage Negotiations

Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng on Monday announced the start of the annual process for setting the monthly minimum wage for Cambodia’s garment sector, the country’s largest private-sector employer.

According to a statement posted to the minister’s Facebook page, the process will start next month with the government, employers and unions each coming up with a proposed raise, then proceeding to negotiations and—if necessary—ending in October when the tripartite Labor Advisory Committee takes a vote for the winning wage, which will take effect on January 1.

Garment workers leave a factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on early June afternoon. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The sector’s minimum wage is currently $153.

The government established the monthslong process in 2014 after protests for higher wages turned violent and ended with police officers firing live rounds into a Phnom Penh crowd that was pelting them with rocks and petrol bombs.

The rounds killed at least five people.

Since 2014, the government-dominated advisory committee has approved a raise each year, settling on a figure between a lower raise favored by employers and a higher one favored by unions. 

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