(Photography by Heather Stilwell)
We're currently in Cambodia working with artisans protected under Fair Trade. Meanwhile Cambodian garment workers are risking their lives as they demand a minimum monthly wage of $160. Did you know labour costs often makes up a mere 1-3% of the price you pay for a garment that has been produced in Cambodia and other developing countries? The apparel industry accounts for over 80% of the nations exports and last year saw more that 130 strikes as employees demanded a wage fair wages and safe working conditions.
Since security forces killed 4 protestors last month, the government enacted a ban on public gatherings in Phnom Pehn. Despite the ban, workers from 200 factories are set to take part in industrial action on Monday to demand fair wages and the release of 23 unionists and workers imprisoned since the violent crackdowns last month. UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has urged “that the right to strike has for generations been globally recognised as a fundamental tool of unions and workers, and “cannot, and must not” be taken away from them.”
While in Phnom Pehn I had the privilege to meet Heather Stilwell, the inspiring Canadian photographer and journalist behind the video I shared with you last month and I encourage you take 3 minutes to watch the story unfold.