Six retail associations from North America have called for resumption of negotiations on the minimum wage in the Cambodian garment industry.
The retail bodies—American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), Retail Council of Canada (RCC), U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF) and the National Retail Federation (NRF)—have written an open letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), and the presidents of six trade unions, namely, C.CAWDU, FTU, NIFTUC, CCU, CUMW, CATU, calling for immediate end to violence and for immediate resumption of negotiations on the minimum wage.
“We call on all stakeholders in the current situation regarding Cambodia’s minimum wage to immediately cease all violence and all other forms of hostility. Further, we call on all stakeholders to immediately return to negotiations to permanently resolve the situation,” the six US and Canadian retail and fashion industry associations whose member companies account for over 90 percent of the imports of garments and footwear into the United States and Canada, said in the statement.
The bodies said the US and Canadian retail and fashion industry is committed to ensuring that all the products that they produce, source and sell are manufactured under lawful and humane conditions. “As part of this commitment, we are committed to promoting the safety and security of workers in our supply chains,” they said.
The letter urges all stakeholders in Cambodian garment industry to: immediately end all violence and all other forms of hostility; immediately return to good faith negotiations to permanently resolve the situation; and endorse, develop, and implement as soon as possible a regularly-scheduled wage review mechanism.
The associations feel that such steps would promote both the short and long-term health and stability of the Cambodian garment industry, and would also enable the Cambodian garment industry to maintain the strong relationships it has with the member companies of the six North American retail bodies.
Last month, garment workers in Cambodia resorted to strike after the Government increased the minimum wage for 2014 to US$ 95 per month, including health benefits from the existing $80 per month, much below the $160 per month minimum wage demanded by workers’ unions.
Later on, the Government upwardly revised the minimum wage for 2014 to $100 and asked workers to return to work.