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Striking garment workers strength rises on third day
16
Sep '10
Thousands of garment workers in Cambodia are observing a nation-wide strike since Monday which entered in its third day on September 15. Meanwhile, the worker's unions threatened that they may keep the strike going on for weeks together, unless the employers succumb to their demand for wage rise.

There was a wide gap between the estimates of both the employers and unionists, as to the number of workers who participated in the strike, however, both the parties were of the opinion that, the ratio of striking workers had increased, since the strike commenced on Monday.

Whereas, unions claim that, as against 60,000 workers on Monday, over 190,000 workers from 90 factories participated in the strike on Wednesday, according to the Garment Manufacturers' Association in Cambodia (GMAC) estimates, the figure hovered around just 30,000.

In the whole series of recent walkouts in Asian countries, this one is the most recent, wherein; the workers are claiming a considerable share of the country's economic progress. There are over 345,000 workers engaged in the garment sector in the country.

Worker's unions resolved to observe a strike, post a declaration of the new minimum wage for garment workers, fixed under an agreement between the government and the industry, whereby it was fixed at $61 per month. Here, the unions while claiming that the amount is not enough to meet their basic expenses on food, housing and conveyance, have posed a demand to raise it to $93 a month.

A unionist said that, the number of workers joining in the strike was quite above their expectations, which means that, workers are finding it difficult to make their ends meet, with such a meagre salary.

The workers union have warned that the protest may be continued for weeks together. They also said that, if the industry heads do not reply to their demands by September 18, they would meet and talk, with their leaders and prolong the industrial action, for a minimum one month.

However, the GMAC officials said that, there are many workers who are willing to work but they are either not being allowed to do so, or have voluntarily opted to keep away from work under the threat of beating. It is distressing that the police is not initiating any action against such forced prevention.

Meanwhile, the industrial heads have sounded a caution that if the strike prolongs, this may adversely affect their production capacity and would also lead to a decline in orders flowing in from their overseas buyers, which could have a serious impact on the investing community.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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