Garment and footwear manufacturers in Cambodia unanimously agreed on Tuesday to add 11 U.S. dollars to a worker's monthly wage for 2013, but the offer was rejected by trade unions, saying "it is too low to accept."
The manufacturers, represented by Van Sou Ieng, President of Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), announced on Tuesday in a meeting with representatives of trade unions in Cambodia that the employers agreed to increase a worker's minimum salary to 72 U.S. dollars a month, up from the current 61 U.S. dollars.
However, Rong Chhun, president of Cambodian Confederation of Unions, who represented workers in the negotiations, said that the increase was too low to accept as prices of food and fuel are rocketing up, and they severely affects workers' living conditions.
"We still stick to our original demand of the minimum wage of 120 U.S. dollars for a worker a month," he told Xinhua over telephone after the meeting.
Both sides, under the coordination by Minister of Social Affairs Ith Samheng and Labor Minister Vong Sauth, agreed to continue their negotiations on Wednesday in order to seek a point that will be acceptable by the two sides, he said.
Chea Mony, President of Free Trade Union of Workers, which is the kingdom's largest trade union, warned Tuesday that his union will lead a mass protest if their demand of the minimum wage of 120 U.S. dollars is not met.
Garment industry is Cambodia's largest foreign exchange earner. The sector comprises more than 300 factories, employing some 335, 400 workers--91 percent of them are female.
The country exported garment and textile products in equivalent to 4.6 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 8 percent year-on-year, according to a report of the commerce ministry.
The United States and European countries are the major importers, and other clients are Canada, Japan, South Korea and China.