Cambodia has raised the controversial monthly minimum wage for garment workers by 28 per cent, a decision likely to infuriate unions seeking a higher increase and revive calls for strike action. Cambodia deployed armed troops in the capital in September as garment workers held rallies to revive a campaign for higher wages that had helped to stoke a year-long political crisis.
The growth of the garment sector has been a boon for the fledgling economy, providing as many as half a million jobs and generating $5 billion annually, but frequent protests by increasingly assertive unions, complaining about poor wages and bad conditions, have tested the government's patience. At stake, if the campaign leads to prolonged strikes, is the possibility of reduced orders from firms that outsource to Cambodian factories, such as Gap, Nike, H&M and Zara.
Two unions, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union and the Free Trade Union, have said that they didn't agree with the new figure and will hold meetings with their members about what to do next. The government however, feels that with revised wages workers will improve their living conditions, factories will be able to pay and production will increase.