Cambodian garment and footwear industry unions and businesses have yet to agree a rise in the minimum wage for factory workers despite four rounds of talks, an International Labour Organization (ILO) representative observing the discussions told just-style.

Manufacturers have agreed to a wage hike of US$11 per month on top of the current minimum pay of US$61 - one of the lowest in Asia. But workers are insisting on an increase to US$100, having come down from an earlier demand of US$120.

Despite the gap, ILO said negotiations are moving positively. "Both parties have agreed that the workers' minimum wage is still low and needs to be increased," said Serey Vathanak Yim, ILO's trade unions and social justice Cambodia project manager.

The latest round of talks was held last week, with Yim adding: "I encourage the parties to continue their effective dialogue as part of promoting industrial harmony."

General secretary of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), Sokny Say, said the workers' demand was based on the high costs of living, inflation, the number of dependents and industry wages in neighbouring countries.

She said workers "might consider industrial union action if their demand was not met."

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary general Ken Loo said "negotiations are ongoing" although he admitted there has been no breakthrough.

The Cambodian garment industry employs more than 300,000 workers and its garment exports are the kingdom's largest foreign currency earner.