Cambodia wage talks are expected to take place in August

Cambodia wage talks are expected to take place in August

Cambodia's Ministry of Labor is understood to have instructed employers and unions in the country's garment and footwear sector to begin preparations for the next round of minimum wage talks. 

Initial talks are expected to be held in August, according to The Cambodia Daily, with a final round of negotiations involving factory owners, unions and the government set for October. Any new minimum wage would take effect from 1 January 2017.

According to the Ministry, all parties involved in the negotiations will have to conduct surveys on social criteria such as family status, rate of inflation and cost of living, as well as economic criteria such as productivity, competitiveness, the labour market situation and profit rate.

The garment and footwear industry is Cambodia's largest foreign currency earner, with 1,007 factories and around 754,000 workers. The sector's exports continued to see strong growth during 2015, albeit it at a slower rate than the year before, with footwear far outpacing clothing.

The most recent Cambodian Garment and Footwear Sector Bulletin released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) showed that a rise in wages has not dented trade. Not only did minimum wages increase from US$128 to $140 at the beginning of the year, but workers' average monthly wages jumped 20.7% to $175 in 2015, up from $145 the year before.

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Labour rights groups and unions, however, have expressed frustrations that the $140 wage falls short of the $177 they consider to be a fair minimum wage. The country has suffered spates of mass faintings, which have been linked to malnutrition, high targets and long working hours, as a consequence of low wages.

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