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Garment makers compelled in Cambodia as
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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) As outlay in Cambodia's textile industry surges, So is your time unrest, Putting pressure on suppliers to the world's big garment brands to raise wages and improve sometimes grim conditions with the last bastions of lowcost
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Garment workers sit beside law enforcement officers during a protest in front of a factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment processing in Kampong Speu province, West of the main town Phnom Penh June 3, 2013. Sportswear corporate Nike Inc, Clashing with police over their requirements for a pay hike.
The violence came just weeks after over 1,100 workers were killed in the collapse of a building housing garment industries in Bangladesh, Another impoverished Asian nation where massproduced textiles are the largest export earner.
Cambodia is considered one of the better locations in the world for lowcost garment manufacturing with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitoring pay and dealing conditions at many factories.
But strikes and sometimes violent protests have been on the rise as unions emboldened by a shortage of skilled workers press complaints that companies have failed to raise wages enough or improve safety.
Strikes by the nation's more than 300,000 garment workers nearly quadrupled last year to 134, in accordance with the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, area of the industry body. The 48 strikes so far this year have already been more than in the whole of 2010 or 2011.
"availabilit of skilled workers is a problem, says Kaing Monika, A business development manager at the Garment organizations Association of Cambodia (GMAC), the chief industry body.
"Most existing producers are running at full capacity,
Nike was the latest big brand to face protest action at its Cambodiabased suppliers lately, registering with H Hennes and Mauritz AB, supermarkets Stores Inc, Gap inc, And Puma SE amongst others.
The international brands buy garments from local producers and do not have direct control over pay or working conditions. But the major companies have signed to the ILO scheme aimed at ensuring suppliers meet legal demands on wages and work conditions. the government raised it in March to $80, Including a medical care subsidy, But strikers at the Nike factory along workers complain that wage rises have not kept up with costs.
"a lot more hard, We have a lot of outlays with a low wage. perhaps, We just borrow money from other workers, shown 28yearold Mao Pov, One of those on strike at
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the Sabrina Garment manufacturer that supplies Nike as well as privately held Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
inflation in Cambodia was 3 percent in 2012, Which is low for creating nations in Asia, although a few workers complain the price of basic items has risen faster.
Sweden's H by far the secondlargest fashion retailer, Said a general election scheduled to be held in July had caused some instability among workers at plants run by its Cambodian suppliers.
"This being an political election year, The situation in the country was generally more disorderly than usual during early spring, Said speaker Andrea Roos. After minimum wages were grown, "the case on the labour market in Cambodia has been more stable, She defined.
Workers at the Nikelinked plant first went on strike on May 21 favorite factory
had raised their minimum wage. The union on strike says that the and other benefits that were previously paid separately were folded into the new wage, And is stressful another $14 hike.
A spokeswoman for Nike told Reuters last week that compensation at the Cambodian plant was the obligation of the factory, But that Nike was at "Close speak" with all the factory and would "Continue to monitor the situation,
The Southeast Asian nation's textile industry has often been touted as a model for fair production which now have ILO's Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) Programme that has monitored factories there for over a decade.
But union leaders and activists say the programme has masked a deterioration in workers' rights as factory owners have cheated the BFC's lack of enforcement powers and responded to pressure from buyers for ever lower prices.
Factories persistently violate union rights and exceed legal limits on overtime work, A report by Stanford Law School's international reach and international, international,global marketing Human Rights Clinic released in February found. The BFC found evidence of sharply worsening fire safety standards at factories in its most up-to-date report this year.
In might just, Two workers were killed at a factory making shoes for Asics Corp when part of a warehouse fell in on them at a company that was not part of the ILO programme. Thousands of workers have been taken sick in mass fainting incidents in recent years including at the Sabrina factory a phenomenon that has been blamed on a mixture of poor nutrition, Long working hours and poor permit.
"The brands is unable to hide behind the ILO, Said harry Welsh, Country director at Solidarity Center in Phnom Penh, Which promoters for worker rights.
"If the brands are not pressuring factories to ensure, They are not going to improve because everybody is out to make as much money in the industry as they possibly can,
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