Cambodia's GMAC tells all factories to stop production amid strike

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 26, 2013
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The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) on Thursday asked all its members to temporarily stop production operations this week due to concerns over security and safety after thousands of workers walked out of work in protest against the 19 percent wage hike in the garment sector for 2014, according to a statement.

"GMAC Executives strongly suggest all members to stop operation for a whole of this week and let the workers stay home,"said the GMAC's statement sent to its members by an e-mail.

"If the workers are working in the factories, some bad elements of the demonstrators will go around and destroy your factories gates and properties in order to force the workers out to join the demonstration to demand the wage of 160 U.S. dollars,"it said. "It is safer if there are no workers in the factories."

The statement said GMAC is working with the government on how to deal with the situation.

GMAC secretariat official Lay Sok Heng confirmed with Xinhua on Thursday that the suspension was made just for a short time due to bad situation.

The GMAC's statement came after thousands of garment workers in various factories have gone on strike since Wednesday, a day after the government decided to raise a monthly minimum wage for a garment worker to 95 U.S. dollars from April onwards from the current 80 U.S. dollars, but the pro-opposition trade unions said the increase is too low to accept.

On Thursday, thousands of workers from various factories marched to the capital's Freedom Park to demand the government and the GMAC to double their wage from 2014.

"We demand the garment manufacturers to raise a worker's monthly wage to 160 U.S. dollars from 2014," Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, which represents about 200,000 workers, said in a statement on Tuesday. "If the demand is not met, we will stage a large-scale strike in the near future."

However, pro-government's trade unions said that the 19 percent wage hike in the garment sector for 2014 is reasonable.

"The Cambodian Council of National Unions (CCNU), which represents nearly 400,000 garment workers, welcomed the government ' s decision," Som Aun, CCNU's president, said in a statement on Wednesday. "The wage hike is in line with the current economic situation."

Garment industry is the country's largest foreign currency earner, accounting for about 80 percent of the country's overall exports. The sector comprises about 500 factories with some 510, 600 workers.

The country exported garment products in equivalent to 5 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of this year, up 22 percent year-on-year, according to a report of the commerce ministry. Endi

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