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Second tripartite wage meet sees no progress

Garment industry officials attend a meeting at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh yesterday to negotiate the minimum wage.
Garment industry officials attend a meeting at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh yesterday to negotiate the minimum wage. Lay Samean

Second tripartite wage meet sees no progress

The Labour Ministry will hold another tripartite meeting for wage negotiations on Wednesday after yesterday’s meeting produced no results, as both employers and unions held firm on their demands.

Though the second meeting between the government, employer representatives and trade unions ended in a stalemate, officials were still upbeat about bridging the more than $30 gap between the unions’ and employers’ wage demands.

“We will meet and have more discussions to find a solution on September 28,” said ministry spokesman Heng Sour. “I will also meet with the two sides to try and make the gap smaller.”

Sour added that the three parties would then vote on a wage figure that would be sent to the Labour Advisory Council (LAC) for a final decision.

Going into the discussions earlier this month, employer representatives had proposed a $144.20 wage for 2017, later increasing it to $146.37 during a bilateral meeting with unions. To reciprocate, unions agreed to drop their $179.60 demand by some $2 to $177.59.

Yang Sophorn, of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said she hoped that all three groups could forward individual requests to the LAC rather than just one figure. She said unions were reluctant to drop their proposal below $177.

Kaing Monika, of employers’ group the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said it was hard to find a consensus, adding that it was “impossible” to agree to anything higher than $146 a month.

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