Search

 

Cablegate: Cambodian Unions and Garment Factories Agree On

VZCZCXRO0571
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHJO RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #2211 3550120
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210120Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7734
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXI/LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 002211

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/IL, EB/TPP
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR DAVID BISBEE
COMMERCE FOR ITA/OTEXA
LABOR FOR ILAB--CHRIS WATSON AND JONA LAI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ECON KTEX CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIAN UNIONS AND GARMENT FACTORIES AGREE ON
NEW BENEFITS

REF: PHNOM PENH 2084 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) A coalition of seven garment unions dropped its
threat to hold a general strike after they reached a
tentative deal with the Garment Manufacturers Association of
Cambodia (GMAC). The agreement reached on December 19 --
which is not being disclosed publicly and is subject to
agreement by GMAC members -- offers increased seniority
bonuses to long-serving garment workers. Currently, garment
workers receive a USD 2 per month bonus after their first
year of employment at the same factory, and receive an
additional USD 1 per month bonus for each subsequent years.
However, after five years of employment, the seniority bonus
levels off at USD 5 per month regardless of the number of
years worked. The proposed deal would extend the additional
USD 1 per year of service formula to workers who have between
6 and 10 years of employment with the same company.

2. (SBU) Union leaders also asked for an additional USD 1
per month attendance bonus, though GMAC Director Van Sou Ieng
thought it very unlikely that his members would agree to
this. This proposed bonus would affect all garment workers
and act as a quasi-wage increase across the board. GMAC had
been very clear following the announcement of the minimum
wage that it would not return to the negotiating table and
discuss wages -- something the FTU and other unions wanted to
do. GMAC said that seniority issues and other benefits could
be discussed, but refused to reopen discussions revolving
around the minimum wage.

3. (SBU) This latest proposed deal, if accepted by GMAC
members, is the best the unions could hope for following
their poor handling of the minimum wage negotiations with
GMAC. After six weeks involving four rounds of intense but
slow-moving negotiations between GMAC and a coalition of 17
garment sector unions, the government preempted further
discussions and announced an increase in the minimum wage
from USD 45 to 50 per month. Although endorsed by
pro-government union federations, this move was seen as
embarrassing for the union movement as a whole, and
independent and pro-opposition union leaders have been
attempting to extract additional concessions from GMAC partly
in an effort to save face. Increasing the seniority bonus
would also provide wage increases to long-serving workers who
likely already earn more than the minimum wage.

4. (SBU) Although the unions claim that this latest
agreement (while still tentative) with GMAC was instrumental
in forestalling a planned strike earlier this week, the
unions did not have full backing of their membership to
support a general strike. The strike was slated to take
place on December 18, but an Embassy straw poll of member
unions on December 7 indicated that many were not in
agreement. Free Trade Union (FTU) President Chea Mony has
also told us privately that he faced pressure from some FTU
members and leaders to back away from his threatened general
strike. Although the tentative deal with GMAC is not
everything the FTU might want, it likely represents the best
deal that can be obtained and will give the trade federation
something to take back to its members.
MUSSOMELI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>