The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has allocated allowances to 7,696 garment workers who were suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic crisis, as unionists urge strengthening the rule of law at suspended factories.
The Ministry said in a statement on July 31 that the cash will be transferred to 15 factories in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, and Kampong Cham provinces.
The allowances, which are being handed out for the fifth time, will be paid depending on the number of days of contract suspension. A total of $20 will be given to those who have been suspended from seven to 14 days of work, and $40 for those suspended from work from 15 days to one month.
The cash will be transferred via Wing Bank (Cambodia) and workers will have 21 days to collect it after receiving a phone message.
“In case the workers who worked in these 15 factories do not receive a phone message from Wing Bank, please contact [the ministry] for more information, or update their phone number to their factory's administration,” the statement said
Ath Thorn, President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), said allowances are necessary to support living standards, but the allowance is not enough to fund daily needs. In general, some factories should negotiate for more than this.
He added that some factories did not sign sub-contacts, provide workers’ allowance, and failed to send worker’s names to the Ministry. These workers were suspended and have not received their allowances.
“It is good to provide them with an allowance but there are still a lot of garment workers who did not have their names in the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s report,” Thorn said.
Moreover, he suggested that the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training should strengthen legal enforcement with regard to suspensions to avoid any suspensions of more than two months while companies are operating.
“I suggested to parliament and the government to check with Western countries and talk about it in order to get another preferential tax system with keeping generalized system of preferences (GSP) and everything but arms (EBA) to create more jobs and more processing handicrafts by providing them profits.”
Kaing Monika, Deputy Secretary General of the Textile, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods Association of Cambodia (TAFTAC), believes the situation is still not as good as at the beginning of the year, and this may continue until the end of the year.
“The situation has nothing to do with Cambodia’s elections or internal politics but it is caused by global economic problems and is beyond our control,” Monika said.