Cambodian garment workers commence strike for a living wage

Today, thousands of garment workers in Cambodia will stay at home as part of a new series of actions to demand of a living wage.

The stay at home strike is supported by 18 Cambodian unions and international campaign groups such as Clean Clothes Campaign, and will last for seven days. Workers are calling on major clothing buyers like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Next, Tesco, Puma, Levi's, GAP and Adidas to take immediate action to ensure an increase in the minimum wage.

Cambodian workers and their unions are demanding an increase in the minimum wage to USD 160 per month. After unions called for a national strike on December 24th, 2013 the police and military responded with violence on January 2nd and 3rd, killing at least 4 people and injuring almost 40.

Athit Kong from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union (CCAWDU) calls on the brands to resume good faith wage negotiations:

“Diplomatic pressure from brands is not enough any more. It is high time brands take their responsibility and use their buying power to take concrete steps and tackle the issue which lies at the heart of our protests: a living wage.”

In 'Crackdown in Cambodia', a recently published report by the the US based Worker Rights Consortium, the labour rights monitoring organisation reveals how garment workers in Cambodia have been confronted with growing repression of their human and labour rights. State authorities have banned public gatherings completely and still continue to hold 21 workers in detention. The workers have reportedly been beaten after being seized by authorities and security forces continue to put down any sign of worker protest.

Clean Clothes Campaign is supporting the workers in their demand of:

  • A minimum wage of USD160 per month for garment and other workers

  • The release of the remaining 21 prisoners arrested in the early January crackdowns on garment worker strikes and the dropping of charges against all 23 charged.

  • To stop the persecution and targeting of unions and workers, including legal actions against unions by GMAC, the Cambodian Garment Manufactures Organisation, – which represents the suppliers of mayor buyers like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Next, Tesco, Puma, Levi's GAP and adidas.

  • Respect the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining and resumption of good faith minimum wage negotiations