Suspended Garment Workers to Receive Second Allowance Payout

Garment workers suspended due to the pandemic and global economic crisis will receive a second allowance, but a union leader claims it is not enough to keep them afloat
Factory workers leave work on foot in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Factory workers leave work on foot in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has given allowances for the second time to 8,762 garment sector workers who were suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic crisis.

The Ministry said in a statement on May 6 that cash will be transferred to 26 factories in Phnom Penh, as well as Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Sihanouk, Svay Reing and Kampong Cham provinces.

The allowances 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 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 10 days to collect it after receiving a phone message.

“In case the workers who work in these 26 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.

Pav Sina, President of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), thinks that today there are some factories that continue to be closed or suspended.

However, the situation has improved during the covid period, as some factories have suspended the majority of operations but continue some parts of operations.

He added that regarding the allowance, some workers complained that they faced challenges claiming the cash and that it is inadequate to support their living costs considering inflation.

“Their salary does not yet support their living expenses, so if we look at those who are suspend, they are more affected as they don’t have a job to do and rely on part of their allowance,” Sina told Kiripost.

“With $200 minimum wage, they have a hard time living, so when they have no job for a month and earn only $70, is that enough? However, we see what the government has done for workers​,” he added.

Sina also suggests that while the global economic crisis has seen some countries decline and reduce orders, companies should find goods or luggage locally to provide some work to workers.

“Some of the workers are not happy while they are suspended when others have work to do. So, we would like, if possible, to try and share the work among all of them to escape for sure.”