Cambodia’s minimum wage hike not enough for workers’ basic needs

Western buyers of Cambodian apparel and footwear goods have been urged to prod suppliers towards paying a living wage to factory workers.
By: | October 11, 2021

At the end of September, the Cambodian government raised the minimum wage for its textile, garment and footwear workers by US$2 from the current US$192 per month effective from January next year.

The Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) – an independent body which monitors members’ supply chains in accordance with an ethical code – however, has said the recent hike of the minimum wage is not enough for workers to meet their basic needs.

The body said, “Minimum wages are a floor, not a ceiling. ETI would expect responsible brands to work with their suppliers and local unions to establish a clear plan to progress all wages towards a living wage. Even in an emerging economy like that of Cambodia’s, US$194 does not enable a worker to meet their basic needs, let alone fully support their family and build resilience for the future.

“While this is an agreed minimum wage, we call on all responsible brands to demonstrate that they value the workers in their supply chain by ensuring that the factories from which they source pay a wage workers can live on.

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“Local union leaders stated that they hope the minimum wage can be increased next year when the pandemic is over. ETI supports this call and advises all responsible brands to leverage their relationships with suppliers and factories to make this hope a reality,” according to the ETI.