Almost all the striking garment workers in about 30 factories in Tai Seng and Manhattarn economic zones in Bavet town, Svay Rieng province of Cambodia have returned to work since May 5, although their demand for US$ 50 bonus has not been met by employers, according to various reports.
The workers went on strike on April 19 after they learned that a $50 bonus was given to their counterparts at A&J factory, which makes bicycles.
According to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the employers of factories at Tai Seng and Manhattan special economic zones never made a promise to provide $50 to workers, and the bonus was paid by A&J factory as its workers achieved the production target for the last 3 months.
The GMAC said on April 25 that the factories would not pay wages and other benefits to workers during their strikes, and urged the Cambodian Government to immediately stop the strike.
In Cambodia, the garment industry is the main foreign exchange earner, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s overall exports. The industry employs more than 300,000 people, with over 90 percent of them being female.
However, in recent months, the Cambodian garment industry has been facing frequent strikes. Last December, six trade unions collectively called for a national strike demanding an increase in the minimum wage to $160 per month from the then existing $80 per month.
Subsequently from February 2014, a new wage structure, offering $100 monthly minimum wage, including a $5 health bonus, was implemented in Cambodian garment factories.
In the first two months of 2014, Cambodia’s garment and textile exports have increased by 5.81 percent year-on-year to $374.93 million, according to the GMAC data.