US: Apparel groups urge end to Cambodia violence
Six leading trade associations representing North America’s apparel brands and retailers are urging an end to violence in Cambodia’s garment sector and the resumption of minimum wage negotiations.
The six – the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF), National Retail Federation (NRF), Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the US Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) - have sent an open letter to the Cambodian government and industry stakeholders.
In it, they call for an immediate end to violence and protests linked to ongoing disputes over increases to the minimum wage.
“Our industry is committed to ensuring that all the products that they produce, source and sell are manufactured under lawful and humane conditions,” the letter says.
“As part of this commitment, we are committed to promoting the safety and security of workers in our supply chains.”
Stakeholders should, the six say, immediately return to “civil and good faith” negotiations over minimum wage increases, as well as developing a “regular and predictable” wage review mechanism to prevent further unrest.
“These actions will not only promote both the short and long-term health and stability of the Cambodian garment and footwear industries, but these actions will also enable the Cambodian garment and footwear industry to maintain the strong relationships it has with our member companies,” the letter states.
Labour rights organisations are calling on brand owners to pay fair prices to Cambodian factories, and to support workers’ calls for a doubling of the minimum wage from US$80 to $160 immediately.
The calls follow a two-week garment worker strike which ended last week, and protests which ended in the deaths of at least four people when military police opened fire on protesters.
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