Joint Statement on Minimum Wage by Textile, Garment, Footwear and Travel Products and Bag Workers of Cambodia for 2024

September 29, 2023

Read the original statement in Khmer.

We, the unions, representing workers, and national and international civil society organizations working in the field of labor rights and human rights in Cambodia, would like to express our deep disappointment that garment workers will not be receiving a minimum wage of USD $213 per month in 2024. In past tripartite negotiations, independent unions have always drawn up arguments based on the seven criteria set by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. Similarly, stakeholders of the National Minimum Wage Council have acknowledged that declining labor incomes and rising inflation has made workers more vulnerable.

In a recent paper by national and international organizations, as well as independent unions, titled, Declining Incomes, Rising Living Costs, and Spiralling Debt Post-Covid, the findings show that a vast majority of workers have been unable to repay debt incurred during the Covid-19 lockdowns. In addition, the research also showed that workers’ actual income, including overtime income, decreased while the cost of living increased due to inflation. These findings are based on a comparison of surveys conducted by CNV International, the Asia Wage Alliance (AFWA), the Center for Labor Alliances and Human Rights [including the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU) and the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)] in 2022 and 2023. Each study highlights different aspects of the economic hardships of Cambodian garment workers. The synthesis of these findings provides a compelling argument for the need for a substantial minimum wage increase in the Cambodian garment industry. The study also urges stakeholders, including buyer companies, employers and the government, to urgently reform workers’ wages in the textile, garment, footwear and travel products sectors.

Based on the above arguments and references, we, as a union representing workers, request the Royal Government to:

  1. Increase the minimum wage to $213 for the year 2024.
  2. Consider a short-term minimum wage increase between $300 and $500 for the long-term increase.
  3. Increase the diet promotion program for workers by asking the employer to provide lunch or pay $1 per day to the workers.
  4. Demonstrate the rates of profit of employers in a transparent manner through negotiations (or collective bargaining agreements) at the sector level.
  5. Reduce the inflation of food and gasoline prices and effectively enforce rental laws.
  6. Adjust the wage structure, such that bonuses and other benefits are a part of the minimum wage.
  7. Introduce urgent measures to review and consider lowering the national budget to ease debt conditions (deferment of principal and interest payments).
  8. Continue to reduce the price of water and electricity, especially for workers’ rented houses in areas that are not yet connected.
  9. Request the company to provide a free standard vehicle for transporting workers or to add $15 per month for workers’ transportation and accommodation.
  10. Set a minimum wage for workers in other sectors, including in the garment sector.
  11. Request the National Social Security Fund to expand the registration of members and strengthen the quality of social security services. We strongly believe that the Inspections department should inspect and severely fine any company that hides the number of workers it has or fails to register its workers. We also urge the Ministry of Health to take serious action against any doctor or hospital that fails to adhere to medical ethics and professionalism by discriminating against its patients.
  12. Request the National Social Security Fund to register garment workers as citizens over the age of 60 who are eligible to receive health care and pension payments.
  13. Continue to provide equity fund vouchers to informal workers without having to confirm their occupation from the capital-provincial authorities.
  14. Request companies to allow union leaders whose employment has been terminated to return to work and to drop all charges in the courts, resolving past disputes, including the payment of remuneration.
  15. Enforce severe penalties on illegal subcontractors.
  16. Request for cash support of 50% of the base wage from the government through social assistance funds for workers in the garment sector and other sectors if their contracts have been suspended or terminated.


This statement is supported by:

  1. Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
  2. Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’Democratic Union (CCAWDU)
  3. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  4. Federation of Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC)
  5. Federation Union of Free and Independent (FUFI)
  6. Independent Trade Union Federation (INTUFE)
  7. Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC)
  8. Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW)
  9. Federation Union of Labor Influences (FULI)
  10. Cambodia Independent Trade Union Federation (CITUFED)
  11. Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
  12. CNV International