Garment Workers’ Wages Below Minimum Living Standard: Survey

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.


Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.