Garment factories in Cambodia are finally starting to ensure a basic conditions for their workers. This was made possible after they were publicly highlighted and had no choice but to clean up their act in areas like: payments for sick leave, wage deductions and safety issues. Eventually, the database, which makes public the names of the worst-performing factories for the first time since 2005, will cover nearly 500 factories across the country.
Also added to the database are labor unions that carry out illegal strikes. Stringent conditions have been imposed on unions for calling a strike. Recent negative publicity surrounding the country’s $5 billion garment sector, which employs about half a million Cambodians, has reduced the number of orders coming in from global brands. So, Cambodian companies have no option but to strictly adhere to compliance issues.
Since the 1990s, Cambodia’s garment industry has established itself as central to the nation’s economy. The garment industry is concentrated in and around the capital city, Phnom Penh, with a smaller number of factories scattered throughout the provinces.
An estimated 85 per cent of garment factories are foreign controlled, mostly by Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean and Malaysian investors, who moved to the country to take advantage of the low-cost labor market and the country’s quota-free access to US and EU markets.