A new report by eight international trade unions and non-government organisations details the brutal government repression Cambodian garment workers were subjected to. It said the workers' demand to raise the minimum wage were reasonable.
Entitled A Week that Shook Cambodia: A Fact-Finding Report on the General Strike and Violent Crackdown in Cambodia (Dec 2013-Jan 2014), it was released on February 22 by Asia Monitor Resource Centre; Asian Labour Study Group; Asian Human Rights Commission; Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines; Korean Confederation of Trade Union; Korean House for International Solidarity; Oxfam Solidarity Belgium; and Serve People Association, Taiwan.
The report noted: “The garment industry has been the chief engine of the Cambodian economy for the past two decades ... However, garment workers still account for a large part of the country’s working poor.”
It said: “The demand of Cambodian workers to lift the minimum wage to US$160 [a month]is fair and reasonable, as their real wages have been stagnant despite their tremendous contribution to Cambodia’s economic growth. The ineffective response of the Labour Advisory Committee in meeting this demand has compelled the majority of workers to strike and protest.
“The disproportionate use of force by the government to suppress these legitimate protests demonstrate that the government is more concerned with protecting the interests and profits of the employers of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia than protecting the workers’ rights to a decent living wage, freedom of association and other basic human rights.”
You can download the report here.