Clothing industry halts operations owing to strikes

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) issued a statement in late December, informing all stakeholders that the industry was unable to continue operations.

“Since December 25, six trade unions have staged illegal and violent actions including destroying factory property, inciting workers to strike and forcing workers to stop their work, as well as their apparent impunity by the Ministry of Labor have left us with no other option but to close,” the statement said.

The garment sector, the country’s largest foreign currency earner, comprises around 500 factories employing some 510,600 workers. The industry earned US$5bn in the first 11 months of 2013.

The six labour unions, reportedly with the pro-opposition tendency, have led tens of thousands of clothing workers to go on strikes after the government decided to raise a monthly minimum wage in the garment sector from US$80 to US$95, but those trade unions disagreed with the new wage rose and demanded the government force GMAC to double worker’s wage to US$160 this year.

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