Friday, 11 July 2014

Dear GMAC – How Convenient is That?

“I do not have data on factory profits to draw any clear conclusion on how much more factory owners can share their profits with the workers.” [Non-professional translation from Khmer]

Independent economist Chan Sophal, 27 December 2013

You must be congratulated for doing such a fine job of keeping your profitability under wrap at all times. The ignorance – some say it is bliss – has encourages endless speculations among experts and opinion leaders, some of who are of course batting for your interest. It also helps government officials, or those you call your “angel” employees, to be comfortable being on your side in the current tug-of-wage war. Make sure you take the profit numbers and cash to the grave with you.

All workers and their unions have now is a 2009 economic study by the Cambodia Institute of Development Study (CIDS). It sheds a terrible light on the industry that gives you so much profit. It says your net profit after all expenses (including those for the angel employees) but before the workers remunerations is $285 per worker per month. The worker takes $55 (20%), which leaves $230 (80%) for you. Thus, for the whole industry with 400,000 workers, that would translate into a whopping net profit of $1.104 billion a year. The unions claim the usual net profit for employers elsewhere ranges from 20% to 40%; and holy smoke, you get 80%.

Well, whatever your actual profit may be, it is certainly more than enough to keep your factories flourishing and expanding in the country where you persistently claim there are so many labour problems.

Of course, you can always dismiss the CIDS numbers as being inaccurate, or out-of-date, because only you know the real ones – the ones you must insist to be not so profitable. Many of your supporters will stand by your claim just like the way they accept that the CPP wins the July elections without a need to verify anything. How convenient is that, you lucky soul?



No comments:

Post a Comment