PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) today releases its 28th Synthesis Report on Working Conditions in Cambodia’s Garment Sector, which assesses compliance with Cambodian Labour Law and international labour standards in exporting garment factories.
Notable among the findings is a significant increase (17%) in the number of factories paying workers the attendance bonus of $7 per month, health bonus of $5 per month, and other mandatory wage supplements. However, there are notable decreases in compliance in other areas such as the requirement to pay proper maternity leave benefits. Compared with the previous Synthesis Report six months ago, there has been an 11% drop in compliance with this requirement, to 54% full or partial compliance.
“90% of Cambodia’s garment industry workers are women with an average age of 24 years. With a large number of pregnant workers and new mothers in the sector, the deterioration of compliance in this area is worrisome and must be addressed,” said Jill Tucker, Chief Technical Advisor of ILO-Better Factories Cambodia.
A statement accompanying the report from BFC’s Project Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), and trade unions notes that “There has been little significant improvement in compliance in areas related to the causes of group fainting…with many of these areas still below 50% in compliance.”
These areas include acceptable heat levels (38% with no change from the previous report), sufficient soap and water available near the toilets (54% previously 48%) and although the report shows that overtime is mostly worked on a voluntary basis, overtime is only confined to the legal limit of two hours per day in 14% of factories (a decrease of 2% from the previous report).
There is no one cause for the factory fainting incidents. Contributing factors include poor worker nutrition, excessive overtime, high heat levels, poor ventilation, and mass psychogenic illness (MPI). BFC, supported by GMAC, buyers and factories is conducting several behavior change campaign
activities to combat fainting. These include a television comedy show on fainting-related themes, the One Change Campaign (a campaign urging factory management to make one change from a predetermined list of changes), a helpful hints calendar for workers, and the Experts by Experience initiative (a group of 8 garment workers who will become spokespeople for their peers).
The 28th Synthesis Report reflects compliance data from monitoring reports completed between November 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012. During this six-month period, Better Factories Cambodia produced monitoring reports for 136 of the 320 factories registered with the program. The 28th Synthesis Report contains a range of information drawn from these reports, including information on factory size across the industry, as well as comparative data on compliance with fundamental rights and selected working conditions to facilitate tracking of compliance levels over time.
• There are 320 factories employing 356,609 workers, up from 300 factories employing 345,364 in the previous reporting period.
• Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that the Cambodian garment export value grew 15% for the first quarter of 2012 to over US$1 billion for the quarter.
• During the report period, 27 strikes took place in the garment sector, double the number in the same period last year.
For full details on BFC’s anti-fainting activities or to download the 28th Synthesis Report on Working Conditions in Cambodia’s garment sector in Khmer, English or Chinese, visit www.betterfactories.org.
For more information, please contact:Whole Press Release
Mr. Bun Ying
Tel: (855) 23 212 847