Higher wages in Cambodia

Wages in Cambodia are extremely low, which is why the international textile industry outsources the production of huge quantities of clothing and shoes there. Hundreds of thousands of people now work in this sector. Working conditions are often very poor. Solidar Suisse provides legal and negotiation training so that workers can defend their rights.

Sewing on a piece work basis

Cambodia is one of the largest textile production centres in the world. There is huge pressure for goods to be produced as fast as possible – and workers pay the price. Their wages are low, working hours are long and they rarely enjoy secure employment. Many workers suffer from anaemia caused by malnutrition. Independent unions try to support and organise workers, but this is difficult because organisations’ work is restricted by the state.

workers leaving the premises of a clothing factory workers leaving the premises of a clothing factory

Shift change in a garment factory near Phnom Penh. © Solidar Suisse

More negotiating power for workers

The situation will only improve when workers are able to defend their rights. We cooperate with the independent textile union C.CAWDU and the NGO Central to achieve this. Independent organisations are important, because workers only have a say in national negotiations on wages when large numbers of workers are organised within an independent union.

Minimum wages increased

After long struggles, the minimum wage was increased to $192 per month, almost double the 2014 level. Four collective agreements have been signed in the last two years. And in two factories, more than 10,000 workers now receive their wages also when they are sick.

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