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IndustriALL pushes for living wage for Cambodian workers
Dec '15
Courtesy: IndustriALL
Courtesy: IndustriALL
IndustriALL recently hosted a panel debate on living wage action, collective bargaining and organizing in Cambodia and other Asian countries. The debate in Phnom Penh brought together Heng Sour, chief of cabinet of the Minister of Labour, Ken Loo, GMAC general secretary, Jonah Wigerhall, H&M sustainability country manager, and trade union representatives from Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia., it said in a press release

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said that the organization is carrying out a global fight for the right to join a union and to bargain collectively.

“It is not always easy, but trade unions in Cambodia have been active in organizing; according to some sources membership in the garment sector is a high as 60 per cent.

“But the minimum wage in Cambodia is still not a living wage, and that goes for Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and other countries in the region. And as long as that is the case, our fight continues”

Chief of Cabinet Heng Sour was supportive of workers' need for higher wages, but said, “The Cambodian government can't act alone. We need to work with the brands and investors to make sure there is no exploitation of cheap labour in any Asian countries.”

H&M's Jonah Wigerhall supported the new approach and said that the Swedish clothing retailer is engaged globally on improving wages.

IndustriALL's eight affiliated unions in Cambodia are urging the government to consider their demands and to engage in dialogue.

“We need a higher minimum wage; research from IndustriALL shows that $140 is not a living wage,” said Rath Minea, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate NIFTUC. “

Minea also spoke of garment workers' living conditions in Cambodia, which are often extremely basic and crowded, and where harassment is rife.

“I hope that Cambodian workers will enjoy a living wage and a decent life one day.”

Jyrki Raina expressed IndustriALL's support for its Cambodian affiliates saying, “The garment workers in Cambodia have demands and they are mobilizing for them. IndustriALL supports their fight for a living wage and will continue to work with the brands towards a new industry level bargaining mechanism. The government, brands and their suppliers all need to take their share of responsibility. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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