Most garment and shoe factory workers in Cambodia returned to work on January 2 after a nationwide week-long strike that forced many factories to close across Cambodia.

According to Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour, 500 out of the 900 garment factories have reopened, with 80 percent of their workers back at work.

The garment sector in Cambodia employs some 600,000 labourers and earns as much as 5 billion USD from exports each year.

In response to the strikers’ demand to double the minimum wage, the Cambodian government decided on December 31 to raise the minimum wage in the garment sector to 100 USD per month from the current 80 USD.

However, the strike is still going on at some factories in Phnom Penh , Kongpong Speu, Kongpong Chnang and Kandal.

In a related development, Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Conference of Unions, said six member trade unions have gave a three-day ultimatum to the government and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to restart talks on its demand to double the minimum wage.

However, an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen said the strike, incited by the opposition CNRP, were an attempt to destroy the country and worker’s livelihoods and drive investors away from Cambodia.-VNA