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Tribunal asks Cambodian garment makers to hike wages
Feb '12
Leading apparel factories in Cambodia have been asked to immediately raise salary of garment workers from current US$ 61 per month, by a panel of international as well as local judges.

The "People's Tribunal" of judges representing a labour advocacy group - Asian Floor Wage Alliance, which is functional across the region, has also asked global clothing brands to invest more in improving working conditions of workers in Cambodian garment factories.

More than 300,000 workers are employed in the garment industry of Cambodia, one of the world's poorest countries. It is afflicted by problems like pay disputes, illness among workers and mass fainting, which are believed to be resulting from sweat-shop like working conditions.

While delivering a judgement, the judges said garment workers in the Kingdom endure severe hardships, which marks a systematic contravention of their fundamental right to lead a decent human life. The judges stressed on the need for execution of the living wage concept and they added that it cannot be delayed any further.

The decision of the law-executers, which came as a part of first of its kind trial-like event in Phnom Penh, the capital city of the Kingdom, are not binding, but these certainly can have some bearing on Cambodia's garment industry, which supplies to leading brands like Gap and Hennes & Mauritz.

Garment industry in Cambodia stood to be the biggest foreign exchange earning industry during last year with earnings of US$ 4.2 billion. However, the country, whose one-third population survives on US$ one per day, is still plagued by agitation and strikes by garment workers.

Garment workers, representatives of a number of brands like Puma and Adidas that outsource work to Cambodia and trade unionists, all took part in the tribunal proceedings.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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