Unions argue over wage committee reforms

Meeting for a minimum wage workshop on Tuesday, the country’s independent and government-aligned unions argued over reforms to the Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), the body in charge of setting the minimum wage in the garment sector, which employs some 600,000 workers. The LAC, which is composed of representatives of the government, factory owners, and unions, came under heavy criticism from independent unions in December when it rushed through a new minimum wage of $95, a $15 increase that fell far short of union demands for a $160 monthly wage, leading to nationwide strikes that paralyzed the garment industry and ultimately turned violent. Morm Nhim, president of the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, blamed the ineffectiveness of the LAC on the fact that some of the union representatives worked for the government. “We have seen that the LAC is unjust when raising the minimum wage for the workers because Mr. Chuon Mom Thol is an adviser to the Ministry of Labor and Mr. Sam Aun is an official at the Council of Ministers, so their role would affect any working decision,” Ms. Nhim said. …

Aun Pheap