Cambodia's garment employers, union leaders in stalemate over pay rise talks

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-19 16:25:38

The fourth round of negotiations between Cambodia's garment and footwear factory owners and trade union leaders for a monthly minimum wage increase for workers remained locked in stalemate on Tuesday.

"The meeting still ended up without result after a two-hour talk this morning," Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, who represented workers in the negotiation, told Xinhua over the phone.

He said the talk was made between the employers represented by Nang Sothy, co-chair of the Government-Private Working Group on Industrial Relations and 10 representatives of the kingdom's trade unions under the coordination by officials from the ministries of labor and social affairs.

The trade unions still stayed firm to demand a monthly minimum wage of $100 for a worker, while the employers remained firm to increase only $9 to the existing wage of $61, he said.

"We don't lower our demand and they don't increase their offer, so there is no result at all," he said, warning that if their demand is not met, the last resort will be a mass protest.

Vong Sovann, deputy secretary general of the Committee for the Settlement of Strike and Demonstration at the Ministry of Social Affairs, who coordinated the meeting, said that he would send the report of the meeting to Minister of Social Affairs Ith Samheng for decision-making and hoped that there would be another negotiation soon in order to break through the deadlock.

The garment industry is the country's largest foreign exchange earner. The sector comprises more than 300 factories, employing some 335,400 workers, 91 percent of them are female.

The country exported garment and textile products in equivalent to $4.6 billion last year, up 8 percent year-on-year, according to a report of the commerce ministry.

The United States and European countries are the major buyers, and other clients are Canada, Japan, South Korea and China.

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