April 30, 2013
By Neou Vannarin
The Cambodia Daily
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday asked some 4,000 garment factory workers for their votes in July’s national elections at a rally in Phnom Penh attended by members of several CPP-aligned unions, according to those in attendance.
Cambodian Union Federation president Chuon Mom Thol said yesterday that he was among the 66 pro-CPP unions whose members attended the rally on Koh Pich, where Mr. Hun Sen took credit for a recent pay rise for garment workers.
According to Mr. Mom Thol, the prime minister “said he made the higher minimum wage so that both parties [employers and employees] are happy. He said the government could not make it higher or it will bankrupt the garment factories and workers would lose their jobs.”
Several unions last month reluctantly accepted an increase in monthly garment factory wages from $61 to $73 with an additional $7 health and living benefit, well below the $120 they were hoping for.
“When Prime Minister Hun Sen asked, ‘Who will vote for the CPP?'” Mr. Mom Thol recalled, “all the people raised their hands and cheered for him.”
Two other CPP-aligned union leaders confirmed the number of workers who attended the rally but declined to comment.
Chea Mony, president of the opposition-aligned Free Trade Union, did not attend and said he was not invited.
He said the raise was won by the hard work of the workers and labor unions, not the prime minister, and ought to be higher still.
“We are not happy with the $80 a month because it is not enough for workers,” he said.
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