A group of garment factory workers has decided to hold a general strike for five days next week, following a meeting with managers on Monday that did not bring about a wage increase.
Workers voted to strike despite assurances from the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia for more talks in November and into next year.
Workers want an increase to their wage, which was bumped up to $61 per month for regular pay plus bonuses in July. Manufacturers say they cannot negotiate a further increase.
The general strike, which will hit Cambodia's main economic earner, is scheduled for Sept. 13 through Sept. 18.
“The decision was unanimous,” said Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, following a meeting Wednesday with members. “We won't have it any other way if no negotiation happens beforehand.”
GMAC representatives had promised more negotiations for possible health benefits and bonuses for working longevity to be held in later meetings.
“But our members do not agree, and they want to strike,” Ath Thun said.
Um Mean, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Labor, declined to comment on the decision, saying only, “This is their responsibility to strike.”
“We think this is a threat to our garment factories,” said Cheat Khemara, who is in charge of conflict resolution at GMAC. “He must be responsible for any inconvenience to workers during the strike.”