LIFE ON $3 A DAY: GARMENT WORKERS AND CAMBODIA’S STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (January 14, 2014) (AJWS)
“It’s a warm morning in early December, and Win is showing me what life in Phnom Penh on $80 a month looks like.
That’s less than $3 a day, and it’s the minimum wage for garment workers in Cambodia. For Win, it means living in a tiny cement room that fits a wooden pallet about the size of a queen bed, a sink area for cooking and not much else. Most garment workers share these spaces, where four to six people live. Like Win, most of them begin working in the factories as teenagers, around age 15 or 16.”
“In addition to the squalid housing, many of the women suffer from a host of challenges in the factories: long hours; short labor contracts that weaken job security; sick leave that’s almost impossible to take because it requires clinic visits no one can afford; bosses who make threats for unfair reasons, like a woman opting not to work overtime; heat and fabric-conditioning chemicals that have led some women to pass out or get sick; and loud machines that can cause hearing damage.”
“Right up until their (brief) maternity leave, pregnant garment workers are typically working—and likely on their feet—from about 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, then 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.”