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Cambodian garment factory workers killed in strike over low wages

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Cambodian garment factory workers killed in strike over low wages

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At least three people were killed in Cambodia on Friday when police opened fire on textile factory workers.

Human rights workers said security forces were armed with rifles and pistols. They shot at demonstrators who threw rocks, bottles and petrol bombs outside a factory in the capital, Phnom Penh.

The workers are demanding a pay increase as part of a nationwide strike.

The government has offered to raise the minimum wage from 58 euros a month to the equivalent of 70 euros a month. Unions have rejected that.

Many big brands outsource clothing and footwear manufacturing to Cambodia, because of cheap labour costs.

Garment manufacturing is Cambodia’s biggest foreign currency earner, a major employer and a vital source of income for many rural families who complain they can barely survive on the wages that are lower than neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.

Jeans made in Cambodia usually sell in Europe and the United States for a higher price per pair than the workers’ 58 euros a month income.