Unions To Inform Officials of Garment Strike Plans

Union leaders will today inform labor officials and employers of plans to hold a weeklong garment sector strike next month as part of their campaign for an increase in the minimum wage, union representatives said yesterday.

Ath Thon, chairman of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said unions had collected more than 60,000 thumbprints from workers across the country who support the strike. The unions plan to deliver these, and a notice announcing the Sept 13-18 strike, to the Labor Ministry and Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia today.

Earlier this week, Mr Thon announced that his confederation was planning a week of work stoppages in conjunction with the Cambodian National Confederation to demand a minimum wage between $75 and $93.

On July 8, the Labor Advisory Committee approved a $5 increase to the minimum wage, set to take effect in October.

Mr Thon said this increase was not enough to provide a decent standard of living for workers.

“If the [Labor] Ministry has any evidence to prove that a $5 increase will be enough to meet workers’ living standards, we would consider postponing the strike,” he said.

Morn Nhim, CNC chairwoman, said yesterday that her confederation fully supported the strike plan. She said the unions were determined to persevere with their demands.

“Even if it is hard to achieve, we will try our best,” she said.

However, Chea Mony, chairman of the Free Trade Union—which claims to represent more than 80,000 workers—said he did not believe the strike would be effective.

“[Mr Thon] should have done this before the LAC meeting [in July]. I do not know what Ath Thon’s policies are right now,” he said.

Labor Ministry Secretary of State Oum Mean declined to comment on the planned strike.

In an interview earlier this week, GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo said that workers should abide by the decision made by the LAC.

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