The results of a survey of 353 garment industry workers released Monday suggest that the workers need a 10 to 43 percent jump in their salaries to reach what would be considered an appropriate living wage.
A five-page summary of the survey’s results indicates garment workers currently earn on average $79 a month. Remove overtime and bonuses from that and the average earnings per month equal $67, the survey found.
The survey, conducted by Twaro—the Asian and Pacific Regional Organization of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation—in conjunction with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and coordinated by the Cambodian Institute of Development Study, found that some 85 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with wages.
Based on the research, the minimum monthly wage required to ensure workers and their families obtain the minimum acceptable living standard is $87. The maximum garment factory workers require is $113 per month, according to the survey.
Nuon Veasna, national project coordinator for the International Labor Organization’s worker education project, said there will be meetings in May where the survey figures will be finalized.
“In a way this is the first real trade union research to determine a living wage,” he said. “The figures in the research are not final yet, so we are not releasing them.”
The survey, conducted from December 2008 to January, claims workers need at least $72 a month just to cover their most basic needs. Respondents said they need to spend on average $1.90 a day on living expenses.
According to National Institute of Statistics figures, on average it costs $3 a day to live in Phnom Penh.
The survey concluded that the respondents “lack money for daily expenditure, lack money to send home and have little money to save for their future.”
Free Trade Union President Chea Mony said by phone Tuesday that he agreed with the survey results, but doubts it will do any good.Z
“I am struggling to get workers’ wages increased as much as I can but I do not believe the government would raise salaries for workers without strikes or demonstrations,” he said.