Labor Minister Announces $128 Minimum Wage

The Ministry of Labor set the new monthly minimum wage for the country’s garment workers at $128 Wednesday, following months of fraught negotiations between the government, unions and factory owners.

Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng announced the new wage Wednesday afternoon, hours after the ministry’s 28-member Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) — made up of government, union and factory representatives — voted for a new wage of $123.

“The minimum wage for employees working in the garment and footwear sector in 2015 is officially set at $128 per month,” the minister said in a signed government decree.

The three figures under consideration by the LAC on Wednesday were $110, proposed by factory owners; $123, the government’s proposal; and $140, proposed by the unions. Sixteen members voted for $123, two members voted for $140 and seven voted for $110.

During negotiations in recent weeks, the government said the minimum wage in the crucial garment sector should be above the official “poverty line” in Phnom Penh, which it put at $120 per month.

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