Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour is soon going to announce the new minimum wage for the country’s garment workers.
A Ministry’s working group comprising government officials, representatives of labour union and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has outlined three different schemes to raise the monthly minimum salary of employees in the apparel industry from the current US$ 80 per month, including a US$ 5 health allowance, to US$ 160 per month over the next five-year period.
While one of the schemes suggests adding US$ 16 annually for five years, another suggests increasing the minimum wage to US$ 160 from next year. The third suggestion is to raise the minimum wage each year based on various factors including the performance of the economy and inflation, reports The Phnom Penh Post.
Some labour unions are in favour of sudden wage hike, as it would greatly improve the lives of workers, whereas some other unions and the GMAC are seeking smaller increments, as a sudden pay rise would devastate many garment enterprises.
Earlier in March this year, the minimum wage was raised by US$ 19 per month from the previous minimum wage of US$ 61 per month.
In 2012, Cambodia exported apparels worth US$ 4.61 billion, registering a growth of nine percent compared to exports of US$ 4.24 billion made in 2011.
From January to September this year, for which figures are available, Cambodia’s apparel exports grew by a sharp 22 percent year-on-year to US$ 4.1 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce data.
The garment sector is the main foreign exchange earner for Cambodia, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s overall exports. It employs over 300,000 workers, with more than 90 percent of them being female.