Labour shortage stirred by factors like migration of workers, poor work conditions and good opportunities in other sectors continue to hinder the Cambodian garment industry, according to industry experts.
As reported in The Phnom Penh Post, Ken Loo, Secretary General of the Garment Manufacturer’s Association in Cambodia said apparel units in Phnom Penh are enduring severe labour scarcity.
National Co-ordinator of the International Labour Organization in Cambodia, Sophorn Tun said garment factories do not have enough workers to operate at full capacity to meet production demands. This is because while huge investments are coming to Cambodia, the job market has become diverse as workers get to choose from the various job opportunities in several sectors.
Moreover, several workers, including those from Cambodian garment industry have migrated to Thailand, as that country has recently implemented a hike in minimum wages. This has led to a situation where a number of factories are approaching the National Employment Agency (NEA) to requisite their help in finding workers.
Hay Hunleng, Advisor at NEA, said the clothing companies and factories associated with NEA were seeking around 3,720 workers and NEA has helped them to procure 1,439 workers. However, he said the apparel industry still needs many more workers.
Head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Centre Moeun Tola said factories are advertising vacancies by putting posters on factory walls. As workers continue to shift to another industry or to other countries like Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand, Cambodia’s garment industry cannot expect to boost its productivity. If the productivity remains low, it will ultimately impact the sector’s competitiveness, he said.
Labour dearth faced by the Cambodian apparel industry, which has high export potential, will certainly have an impact on the nation’s economy, David Welsh, Country Director of the American Center for Labor Solidarity, said.
According to the Ministry of Commerce data, Cambodia’s textile and garment exports for the first three quarters of the current year surged to US$ 3.44 billion, 10 percent higher than US$ 3.13 billion worth of exports made during the corresponding period of last year.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India