Unions had been hoping for a similar show of support from Cambodian workers who rallied earlier this year. (Photo credit: LICHADO)

Unions had been hoping for a similar show of support from Cambodian workers who rallied earlier this year. (Photo credit: LICHADO)

A planned strike by thousands of garment workers in Cambodia appears to have fizzled out after most returned to work days before the end of a proposed five-day stay-at-home stoppage.

According to local media reports, the country's 600,000 garment and footwear workers largely ignored calls from unions to take part in the dispute for higher wages, with all but a handful returning to work yesterday (21 April).

This week's action was scheduled to replace a four-day protest postponed from March, and was due to take place from 17-22 April.

Cambodian unions are demanding an increase in the minimum wage from $100 to US$160 per month. They are also calling for the release of 21 workers imprisoned during a government crackdown on earlier protests in January, which also led to the deaths of four people.

Commenting on the issue last month, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said minimum wage negotiations have now been completed for 2014, and that the government has set up a committee to look at wages for the year ahead.