Cambodian opposition-aligned trade unions call for strike after Lunar New Year

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 9, 2014
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Representatives of 18 opposition-aligned trade unions and associations on Wednesday called a weeklong strike scheduled for April 17-22.

Dozens of union activists handed out leaflets to workers in front of the Canadia Industrial Park on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday during a lunch break.

According to the leaflets, the strike organizers demanded a 160 U.S. dollars minimum wage for garment workers and the release of 21 detainees who were arrested in early January during violent protests.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, spoke to reporters that the 18 unions and associations were urging workers to go on strike following Lunar New Year holidays from April 14 to 16.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the opposition-aligned trade unions represented over 100,000 out of 600,000 workers in about 900 garment and shoe factories in the kingdom.

A 23-year-old garment worker at the Canadia Industrial Park said he might not join the strike for fear of job loss.

"Of course, we want higher wage, but job stability is more important," said Nuch. "If I have no job, I have no money to support my family."

Current monthly minimum wage for garment workers is 100 U.S. dollars, up from 80 U.S. dollars last year.

Garment industry, the kingdom's largest foreign exchange earner, generated some 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenue last year.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said recently that the wage hike demand is too high to afford, warning that unions that incite strikes for higher wages must take responsibilities for potential closures of factories.

He said the current wages for Cambodian garment workers are higher than those of Laos, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar. Endi

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