Cambodia hikes minimum wages by 20%

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Cambodia fainting
More than 2,000 workers fainted in 2012 in Cambodia’s textile factories due to bad working conditions

The Cambodian government has raised the monthly minimum wage for garment and footwear workers by 20 per cent after a series of strikes in the industry.

Effective May 1, 2013, workers will now receive $75 instead of $61 per month plus an additional $5 health allowance, the government said.

However, trade union leaders said the raise was insufficient as they had demanded $100 per month for the about 650,000 workers who make clothes for companies such as Levi Strauss, H&M and Walmart, as well as sport shoes for Nike.

The union said it will continue the strikes. They said they already went down from their original demand of $120 monthly pay.

In addition to minimum wage demands, workers have called on their employers to improve factory working conditions, including toilet facilities.

Earlier in March, Cambodian workers from a factory that manufactures clothing for Walmart and H&M won a $200,000 settlement they say was owed to them in back wages after they went on hunger strike.

Labor disputes are a continuous problem in Cambodia, and the International Labor Organisation named Cambodia one of the five worst countries facing repression of freedom of association in 2012 because of anti-union laws.

Working conditions in factories where fashion for Western markets is produced are often inferior in terms of long working hours, health and hygiene. After mass faintings in 2012 in several textile factories with over 2,000 workers passing out, the trade union demanded immediate improvement.

They said that the faintings were caused by fumes from paint on factory walls, chemical substances found in garment materials, food poisoning, pesticides, overtime work, smells and fumes from other materials, and other poor working conditions.

H&M said it is supporting the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) programme since 2005, which combines assessments of working conditions with advisory and training services.

“H&M can help address the problems, as well as helping to overcome Cambodia’s often confrontational industrial relations, and work towards providing a better future for workers, factories and consumers alike,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO-BFC programme.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

More than 2,000 workers fainted in 2012 in Cambodia’s textile factories due to bad working conditions

The Cambodian government has raised the monthly minimum wage for garment and footwear workers by 20 per cent after a series of strikes in the industry.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cambodia fainting
More than 2,000 workers fainted in 2012 in Cambodia’s textile factories due to bad working conditions

The Cambodian government has raised the monthly minimum wage for garment and footwear workers by 20 per cent after a series of strikes in the industry.

Effective May 1, 2013, workers will now receive $75 instead of $61 per month plus an additional $5 health allowance, the government said.

However, trade union leaders said the raise was insufficient as they had demanded $100 per month for the about 650,000 workers who make clothes for companies such as Levi Strauss, H&M and Walmart, as well as sport shoes for Nike.

The union said it will continue the strikes. They said they already went down from their original demand of $120 monthly pay.

In addition to minimum wage demands, workers have called on their employers to improve factory working conditions, including toilet facilities.

Earlier in March, Cambodian workers from a factory that manufactures clothing for Walmart and H&M won a $200,000 settlement they say was owed to them in back wages after they went on hunger strike.

Labor disputes are a continuous problem in Cambodia, and the International Labor Organisation named Cambodia one of the five worst countries facing repression of freedom of association in 2012 because of anti-union laws.

Working conditions in factories where fashion for Western markets is produced are often inferior in terms of long working hours, health and hygiene. After mass faintings in 2012 in several textile factories with over 2,000 workers passing out, the trade union demanded immediate improvement.

They said that the faintings were caused by fumes from paint on factory walls, chemical substances found in garment materials, food poisoning, pesticides, overtime work, smells and fumes from other materials, and other poor working conditions.

H&M said it is supporting the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) programme since 2005, which combines assessments of working conditions with advisory and training services.

“H&M can help address the problems, as well as helping to overcome Cambodia’s often confrontational industrial relations, and work towards providing a better future for workers, factories and consumers alike,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO-BFC programme.

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