Citing demand for setting up of minimum wage limit from the major garment brands and labor unions, the Ministry of Labour and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have joined hands to reform the current system of setting the minimum wage in the garment sector, in the coming months. The reform process will begin with a public seminar to be held on April 24 and 25, which will mark the first tripartite meeting between the government, factory owners and union leaders.
Though the workers threatened to boycott work through a nationwide strike demanding $160 dollars monthly wage following Khmer New Year, the Labor Ministry had taken no initiative to restart negotiations over the minimum wage. Now it will work with the ILO to reform the minimum wage setting system, however it is not considering an immediate revision of the monthly wage.
Last month, 30 international garment brands wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon calling for a more inclusive process for setting the minimum wage. The Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), tasked with setting the minimum wage, has come under intense criticism from workers’ unions for failing represent workers.
Despite a government-backed study conducted last year that estimated a living wage for garment workers at more than 155 dollars, the LAC on December 24 settled on a 95 dollars minimum wage, which was later raised to 100 dollars on December 31, 2013.