Unions to Push for 100% Wage Increase in 2014

Representatives of 22 labor unions agreed Wednesday to put forward a proposal to double the minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment industry when the government raises the monthly wage next year.

Following a meeting at the Cambodia office of the international trade union federation IndustriAll, union leaders said they would stand together behind an increase from $80 to $160, not including overtime pay or other benefits.

The Ministry of Labor announced on Monday that the government plans to raise the minimum wage to $160 by 2018, but asked union leaders and employers to discuss how wages should be raised over the next five years to reach this figure.

Seang Yaut, a legal officer representing the Cambodian Coalition of Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said that the figure from the unions reflected the actual cost of living for garment factory workers.

Kimchan Samnang, deputy secretary-general of the Cambodian Labor Union Federation, said that the proposal would be tabled at a meeting of the Labor Advisory Council—a group composed of unions, employers and the government—scheduled for December 24.

Factory owners held their own meeting on Sunday and proposed a plan to raise wages to $130 by 2018, with incremental raises each year.

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