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Cambodia's garment workers needled by low wages and poor conditions


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Cambodia's garment workers needled by low wages and poor conditions
Growing discontent among workers generating huge profits for scant return threatens to derail Cambodia's garment industry
Sam Campbell in Phnom Penh

PHNOM PENH: -- Khmom, 19, is one of the estimated 400,000 factory workers toiling in Cambodia's garment factories, the country's biggest export earner. She recently lost her job at a factory in the capital, Phnom Penh, after taking time off to look after her two-year old daughter, who clings silently to her shoulder. "The factories don't care about us," she says. "They pay us so little, work us so hard and throw us away when we cannot work for a moment."

Khmom is from Damnak Sdach, a village about 50km from the capital that has no running water or electricity. She was the only one of her five siblings with a job that pays. Her elder brother, the first born, is a Buddhist monk, as is traditional in many Khmer families.

Khmom lives in a single rented room in Phnom Penh's Boeung Trabek commune. Her situation is typical. "My husband is a moto-bai-kong [tuk-tuk] driver and his salary is so little – some days nothing at all," she says. "My parents are uneducated and unable to find paying jobs. There is no work in the countryside, so I have to work in the factories."

This precarious existence – pressure from rural families to remit money while struggling to deal with urban inflation, long shifts in poor conditions, and job insecurity – has resulted in discontent. In May, protests led to the deaths of two workers at a footwear company. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of strikes increased by nearly 170%, according to a July report on working conditions in Cambodia's garment sector produced by Better Factories Cambodia, an International Labour Organisation (ILO) project that monitors and reports on the country's industrial facilities. [read more...]

Full story: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/dec/16/cambodia-garment-workers-low-wages-poor-conditions

-- The Guardian 2013-12-17

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Makes you think when you slip on those new clothes.

Makes you think whether the new clothes came from Bangla Desh....

oh its OK - they say Made In China, so no problem there....

I know most people here only wear clothes which are tagged "Made in the USA" , but some of us just can't afford them.

Edited by bangon04
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Garment owners are not the only ones taking advantage of Local staff;

My GF's 19 year old sister works at a khmer run hotel in Phnom Penh,

her shift starts at 3 pm and ends at 3 am, she gets lodging in a room with others and is paid $80/month with one day off/month

Talk about slavery

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Garment owners are not the only ones taking advantage of Local staff;

My GF's 19 year old sister works at a khmer run hotel in Phnom Penh,

her shift starts at 3 pm and ends at 3 am, she gets lodging in a room with others and is paid $80/month with one day off/month

Talk about slavery

It's not really slavery but a way of life. A restaurant in PP that I know well offers $110/mo, living quarters and food along with the one day off per mo. That actually gives them something to send home.

What is really sad are the packed truckloads of people standing all the way to whatever village they live in, probably getting home with enough time get a little sleep and go back to the factory.

A hotel manager in PP told me that there are quite a number of factory girls who "moonlight" visiting the hotels....now that is sad. The families back in the homeland never question the money that comes home. They know!

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