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Workers, Factories Agree to Salary Increase

Union workers and garment factory managers agreed in principle Monday to a wage increase, averting a proposed strike at scores of factories.

Unions had threatened to strike if salaries were not increased $5, to $55 per month, in the face of rising prices, but officials said Wednesday they had agreed to a $6 per month raise.

The "allowance" would not a raise in the minimum wage, but was an extraordinary measure given the current costs of living, officials said.

Workers and management are expected to meet Friday to officially agree to the deal.

"The salary increase to $60 per month from the government to the workers makes me very happy, although it is a small increase compared to the high prices in Cambodia," said Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union. "But the increase in salary will reduce the impact of the cost of living."

At least one worker, however, said the increase would to little in the face of Cambodia's rising prices.

"I think that it's not enough to increase to salary to $6 per month, because right now we receive $50, and if we increase $6 more, this is a small amount," said Man Channa, a garment worker at the PCCS factory. "We cannot compare this with the high prices in Cambodia, and our living conditions still have problems, with water, house fees and food."