A Change of Guard

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Friday, 14 December 2012

CAMBODIA: Campaigners pressure retailers on garment wages

Garment workers shield themselves from the sun with leaves as they protest for wage increase in Phnom Penh. (Photo: Reuters)

13 December 2012

Campaigners are ramping up pressure on retailers and importers sourcing apparel from Cambodia to tackle what they describe as the "poverty wages" of the country's garment workers.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is planning to launch street actions and undercover awareness mobs across Europe to encourage H&M, Zara, Levi's and Gap to introduce a living wage in Cambodia.
It said the mobs will take place in at least ten countries across Europe, including Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland and Norway.
The labour rights group wants retailers to publicly support the Cambodian trade union's goal of a US$131 per month minimum wage as a first step towards a proper living wage. It also wants an action plan to ensure suppliers pay their workers accordingly.
Currently, the minimum wage for a garment worker in Cambodia is $61 per month.
"There is an urgent need for a wage hike for the workers producing for European consumers," said Athit Kong, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union (C.CAWDU).
"The retailers have an indisputable role and all big buyers must work together and in true dialogue with independent unions in Cambodia to improve the wages."

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