Fraying fabric

US$150 a month. 30 hours of overtime.

Chhim is a native of Svay Rieng province that borders Vietnam. In 2011, he moved to Phnom Penh in search for work and joined a Korean garment manufacturer that manufactures for Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, American Eagle Outfitters, Wal-Mart and Victoria’s Secret.

Due to the low minimum wages, Chhim and several thousand other garment workers in Phnom Penh staged a demonstration. The government agreed to increase the minimum wages to $100, from $80, but still far short of the $160 that was demanded for 2014. This sector has some of the lowest industrial wages in the region.

As a result of this demonstration, Chhim, and many others were beaten by the military and jailed for five months.

- adapted from Forbes Asia, September 2014

I have been in the supply chain arena for a number of years. Stories such as those of Chhim usually become a topic of discussion in my classes to bring forth what large organisations want us to see (the product) and what we should really be looking at (the supply chain).

Pearl of wisdom: There is more here than meets the eye.

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