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Cambodian garment factory workers strike for higher pay
18
Dec '15
Faced by a workers' strike for higher wages, garment factory owners in Cambodia have asked the government to help stop the strike, claiming that the labour action was damaging the investment climate for the industry which is the country's main source of exports.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia made the appeal after workers in eastern Svay Rieng province went on strike on December 16 to boost their monthly wage to $148. The factory owners said the strikers caused injuries and serious property damage, but it did not cut much ice with the provincial governor who said the damage was minor and limited to one factory, according to an agency report.

Governor Chieng Om said the strike ended on December 17 when workers agreed to wait for the government's response. He said the number of strikers was less than the 30,000 claimed by union leaders.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the factory owners said violent strikes "severely affect the investors' feeling and their long-term investment vision."

They said that on December 17, all production in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone where the main strike action occurred was "completely stopped, causing millions of dollars in losses." However, Chieng Om said most factories were not shut by the strikers, but were closed for the sake of security, with workers just going home.

Wages are a volatile issue in Cambodia, where about 700,000 people are employed in more than 700 garment and shoe factories. In 2014, Cambodia shipped about $6 billion worth of products to the US and Europe. Unions sought an increase in the minimum monthly wage to $160 in 2015, but most settled for $140. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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