PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's government has announced it is raising the minimum wage for the garment industry, the country's biggest export earner.

The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training said Friday that from January next year, the minimum wage will be raised 4.4% to $190 a month from $182. The increase falls short of the $195 a month requested by unions but is higher than the $186 suggested by factory owners.

The clothing and footwear industry is Cambodia's biggest export sector, employing nearly 800,000 people in about 1,000 garment and shoe factories.

Workers in the industry, clustered around the capital, Phnom Penh, and in export processing zones, are an important political force whose loyalties Prime Minister Hun Sen has been trying to woo from his opposition.

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