Earlier this week, workers in Cambodia’s garment industry walked off their jobs over stagnant wages and the exploitative business practices of their employers. Sixty thousand began the strike Monday. Twice as many Tuesday. By Wednesday, labor leaders were estimating that 210,000 workers had walked out of 95 factories in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. By Thursday morning, a meeting was set to renegotiate wages.
Approximately 346,000 people are employed in the nation’s garment sector— making sports shoes and clothes—and the industry is the country’s third largest. Ninety percent of Cambodia’s garment workers are female, and less than three percent of them ever make it to management. Girls are sent from the provinces to work in the factories by families who can’t make ends meet farming. Their income directly supports, according to the UN, 1.6 million of the nation’s 14 million people.
Author Anne Elizabeth Moore argues that if the international business community can’t support the workers of Cambodia’s garment sector, maybe international young women can.
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