- Global Voices - http://globalvoicesonline.org -
Cambodia’s Garment Workers Hold Nationwide Strike for Pay Hike
Written by Mong Palatino On 27 December 2013 @ 17:33 pm | 3 Comments
In Breaking News, Cambodia, Development, East Asia, Economics & Business, English, Labor, Protest, Weblog
The garment sector is a $5 billion dollar  export industry in Cambodia which employs more than 600,000 workers.
Striking workers put roadblocks in Phnom Penh aside from protesting in front of the Ministry of Labor. As strikes continued to grow , factories were told to cease  operations. John Vink reports :
The roadblock in front of the Ministry of Labour was kept all through the day by workers striking for a salary rise.
Another roadblock, in front of the Special Economic Zone in Kambol, some 19 km outside of Phnom Penh, was set up by striking workers after they were pushed back by riot police when trying to enter the SEZ. The SEZ was sealed off with a double layer of containers and fences with barbed wire.
Garment workers protest at Labor Ministry continues peacefully but many express anger at gov't ignoring their economic hardship
— Kevin Doyle (@doyle_kevin) December 27, 2013 
— Ruom Collective (@RuomCollective) December 27, 2013 
Entrance to Ministry of Labor, Phnom Penh pic.twitter.com/LcfzThMRGq 
— Kevin Doyle (@doyle_kevin) December 27, 2013 
Redistributing and optimizing nation's wealth better than $160. Luxury cars, villas or decent living standard for all pic.twitter.com/jWfmllapMx 
— oudomnimith (@oudomnimith) December 27, 2013 
Below is a video  which shows a clash between workers and the police:
If the minimum wage is not raised to $160 immediately, rising food prices and living expenses will make it impossible for garment workers to address their basic needs, and strikes that have pledged the garment sector lately will continue.
The opposition has been holding daily protests at the Phnom Penh Freedom Park to press for the ouster of the incumbent government which has been accused  of manipulating this year’s election results. Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in the past three decades although his party lost  many seats in the recent parliamentary polls.
Many workers have joined  the opposition rally which could further undermine the Hun Sen administration. Labor unions have vowed to continue the protests until their demand is granted by the government.
Meanwhile, factory owners have warned that the ongoing strikes will negatively affect the local economy  and the conditions of workers. They also urged the government to adopt a ‘zero tolerance on illegal strikes.’ This appeal was criticized  by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights which wants to address the ‘root causes of the labor dispute’:
CCHR is concerned that such statements calling for zero-tolerance on illegal strikes will only exacerbate problems within the garment sector. Regardless of the legality of the strike, a zero-tolerance policy will only ignore the root causes of the labor dispute and most likely lead to further violent crack downs against workers and union members.
The current strike has put a spotlight on the plight  of garment workers in Cambodia and in particular the necessity for the government and the garment industry to come up with a better plan on how to improve the welfare of workers.
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/12/27/cambodias-garment-workers-hold-nationwide-strike-for-pay-hike/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://sochua.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/striking-workers-add-critical-force-to-street-protests-for-change/
 participated: http://storify.com/khmerbird/cambodia-protest-27-december-2013?awesm=sfy.co_pLtH&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=t.co&utm_content=storify-pingback
 $15 dollar: http://www.cchrcambodia.org/index_old.php?url=media/media.php&p=news_detail.php&nid=1452&id=5&lang=eng
 $5 billion dollar: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/business/garment-exports-rise-to-more-than-5-billion-49726/
 grow: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=641060379265824&id=410374109001120
 cease: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/factories-advised-to-close-as-wage-strikes-swell-49703/
 reports: http://johnvink.com/news/2013/12/workers-block-roads-add-pressure-on-government/
 December 27, 2013: https://twitter.com/doyle_kevin/statuses/416473246834233344
 #Cambodia: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Cambodia&src=hash
 pic.twitter.com/JW7GOqQb43: http://t.co/JW7GOqQb43
 December 27, 2013: https://twitter.com/RuomCollective/statuses/416464613174038528
 pic.twitter.com/LcfzThMRGq: http://t.co/LcfzThMRGq
 December 27, 2013: https://twitter.com/doyle_kevin/statuses/416509089363935232
 pic.twitter.com/jWfmllapMx: http://t.co/jWfmllapMx
 December 27, 2013: https://twitter.com/oudomnimith/statuses/416519797674110976
 video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152512681849148
 camnews: https://www.facebook.com/camnews.org
 support: http://www.opendevelopmentcambodia.net/news/keep-striking-for-160-rainsy-urges/
 statement: http://www.nationalrescueparty.org/living-wage-for-workers-rights-and-dignity/
 accused: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/09/17/photos-violent-dispersal-of-election-protest-in-cambodia/
 lost: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/09/09/thousands-reject-cambodias-election-results/
 joined: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/striking-garment-factory-workers-join-cnrp-protest-again-49715/
 economy: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/factories-lose-millions
 criticized: http://www.cchrcambodia.org/index_old.php?url=media/media.php&p=press_detail.php&prid=457&id=5&lang=eng
 plight: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/02/02/cambodia-mass-fainting-in-garment-factories/
Licensed Creative Commons Attribution, 2008 Global Voices Online. See attribution policy for details: http://globalvoicesonline.org/about/global-voices-attribution-policy