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Workers Meet MPs Over Salaries

Factory laborers met with their parliamentary representatives Sunday to discuss in a public forum the chance of better salaries to offset the rising costs of goods.

The group of more than 500 union leaders and garment factory workers met Ho Naun, of the Cambodian People's Party; Khieu San, of Funcinpec; and Ho Vann, of the Sam Rainsy Party in Ang Snuol district, Kandal province.

Srey Oun, a garment factory worker, asked them to consider the problems of inflation, low salaries and, especially, pressure from garment factory owners.

"I'll make a proposal about the salary," she said. "It is only $50 a month. It is not enough to respond to the price in the market at the present time…So I propose to have at least $80 per month."

Kao Poeun, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said authorities did not consider the law when making decisions.

Pov Vorn, president of the Association of Democracy and Independent Economy, said there was an impact to motorcycle taxi drivers and street vendors, especially those who have recently been ousted from Phnom Penh's riverfront.

"The order police, especially those who work in the market, they cannot stop the Land Cruisers," he said. "They can only stop the motorbikes and the trailer-motos. Please, your excellencies, take it seriously as your interest, because [the drivers and vendors] are your voice for voting."

The National Assembly members promised to take the forum's concerns to the next legislative session, and to call government leaders before them for questioning.

The forum was part of an ongoing program put on by the National Democratic Institute.