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Study Finds Widespread Food Insecurity Among Factory Workers

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

Cambodian Garment workers buy some cheap food for their lunch in front of the factory in downtown of Phnom Penh, file photo.

Cambodian Garment workers buy some cheap food for their lunch in front of the factory in downtown of Phnom Penh, file photo.

A new study shows that many Cambodian factory workers are not eating enough, leading to seriously poor health and weakness.

In a yearlong study of workers, the ILO and the French Development Agency found that more than 40 percent of garment workers are anemic, while only about one third have access to adequate food.

Of the nearly 4,000 workers surveyed across 10 factories, more than 15 percent were underweight. Two-thirds were “food insecure” and lacked access to sufficient, safe food, the study found.

The study comes as workers are demanding a minimum wage of $177 per month to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, told VOA Khmer that poor eating will mean ill health for workers as they get older. Many spend only about $1 per day on food, which does not provide them enough calories to support themselves, he said.

Chheang Thida, a worker at a factory in Phnom Penh, said that for the last decade she was worked hard and eaten little. On many days, she’ll eat just one egg, she said. “What I’ve received from more than 10 years of work in a factory is illness,” she said.

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