Advisory Group Begins Minimum Wage Talks

A new group that will advise the committee that advises the government on the minimum wage in the country’s garment sector began talking numbers Tuesday following a meeting Monday that laid out a code of conduct for the negotiations.

The closed-door talks Tuesday included nine representatives each from the unions, factories and government, and are aimed at reaching an agreement on a new wage raise before it goes to a vote by the Labor Advisory Committee next month.

The new group includes representatives from unions that led nationwide garment sector strikes in December that temporarily crippled the industry. Factories have said a $10 raise to the $100 minimum wage would be doable, while most of the unions want at least $35 more.

“Both sides agreed to find higher wages than before, but as for the number, we would like to keep it secret,” Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said of Tuesday’s meeting.

Mr. Sour said those present agreed that $120 a month represented the poverty line for workers with a family.

“Both sides agreed on a [minimum wage] similar to the poverty line,” he said.

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