Cambodian government moves to make minimum wage harder to get for workers
Campaigning for living wages and a social security system for all is part of the daily fight against inequality facing workers in Cambodia.
After Cambodia’s garment workers won their campaign for minimum wages in 2016, workers and their unions in other industries across the country have been campaigning for similar conditions.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA has reported that while discussions are underway between the government, employers and unions for minimum wages for all other workers, Cambodian unions remain deeply concerned about the impact of recent government laws on their ability to achieve a living wage for the country’s workers.
The Cambodian government has recently put in place laws which would see unions fined should they be critical of the process currently underway between the government and employers.
In 2016 new laws were also introduced in Cambodia placing age, residency and literacy requirements on prospective union leaders and heavy fines for anyone who “create[d] obstacles or put… illegal pressure on discussions to determine the minimum wage” or who “incite[d] activities against the declaration of the minimum wage”.
Garment workers won a new minimum wage in 2016 – now at US$153 a month but the campaign for all other workers has not yet been won.
Women workers make up 40% of the Cambodian construction yet continue to be paid less than their male counterparts.
Men working in construction are paid US$150.00 per month while women – doing equal work – are paid US$112.50.
Sar Mora, President of Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation (CFSWF) said close to no research exists on a living wage for workers outside of the garment industry, while Sok Kin, Vice President of Building And Wood Workers Trade Union Of Cambodia (BWTUC), said local unions were working to amend the draft laws but needed support and pressure from the global union movement in order for Cambodian workers to win their campaign.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Paul Giles said APHEDA was currently working with Cambodian unions to support their campaign for living wages and a just social security system but needed support in doing so.
“APHEDA’s work in Cambodia is critical for research and campaigning resources for the country’s workers and it is something we can support with even the smallest of donations.
“The working conditions we might take for granted here in Australia are ones which are yet to be realised for Cambodian workers, and through our support of APHEDA’s campaign, we can play a small part in helping to make them a reality."
Donations of $2 and over to APHEDA’ s Overseas Project Fund Account are tax deductible and can be made here.