Latest Garment Export Figures Show Growth

Garment and footwear exports earned $3.92 billion over the first eight months of 2014, up more than 7 percent year-on-year, according to new figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

The latest numbers show a slowdown after year-on-year earnings for the first six months of the year were up 16 percent.

But they still have yet to reflect the dramatic drop the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has been warning of all year, insisting that persistent strikes from unruly unions are driving many clothing brands to place their orders elsewhere.

In September, the association said a recent survey of its members found that many were experiencing falling orders, forcing them to scale back on overtime hours and shut down some of their assembly lines.

The unions accuse the factories of fear-mongering amid tense wage negotiations.

Unions are demanding that the government raise the sector’s current monthly minimum wage of $100 by $77. The factories want a more modest $10 raise.

The government’s Labor Advisory Committee was scheduled to vote on a new minimum wage Friday, but the Labor Ministry postponed the meeting at the last minute to next month.

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