Cambodian wage increase not enough: labour confederation

CLC president Ath Thun speaks to the media. (Supplied photo via Khmer Times)

The Cambodian Labour Confederation said garment workers need a monthly wage of $224 to survive, a steep rise from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s proposed increase to $168.

The CLC presented its findings on the cost of living for the average garment worker. After interviewing 300 workers from 30 factories in Phnom Penh, and Kampong Speu, Takeo and Kendal provinces, over a period of three months, the CLC decided the minimum wage should be raised to $224 per month.

CLC president Ath Thun said the average amount spent per month was $195. The extra $29 could be used as savings or emergency money, according to a report in .

“Even though the prime minister promised a minimum wage for workers of $168, the union has found our figures through actual research,” he said. “We have officially put forward the figure of $224 for negotiation.”

CLC researcher Meng Navy said on average workers spend $82 on food and $113 on rent, electricity, water, school, medicine and clothes. So they need at least $195 per month to live.

“After we interviewed the workers we discovered they must spend a lot on food and other needs in their house and families,” Ms Navy said. “So they really need a wage that can finance their expenditures.”

President of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers Pav Sina said the negotiation process would be good, because the Prime Minister had released a starting figure already.

“The Prime Minister said the minimum wage for workers in 2018 will be at least $168 with some other benefits, so I think the process of negotiation will be good this year,” he said.

Recently, Mr Hun Sen promised garment workers a minimum wage hike, free bus rides, health insurance and 120 percent of their salary during three month maternity leaves.

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