Union leaders to discuss union law with minister
Labor Minister Ith Samheng agreed to have talks with three union leaders who requested a meeting to discuss amending the Trade Union Law, however he said the law would not change and would still be implemented as it stands.
Mr. Samheng told Khmer Times after an annual congress at the Labor Ministry on Wednesday that he welcomed a meeting with the union leaders.
“I welcome discussions with them, but I just want to tell them that the Trade Union Law must be implemented,” he said.
Last week, three union leaders sent a letter to Mr. Samheng requesting face-to-face discussions about the current implementation of the Trade Union Law to report problems that happened after the law was put into action last May.
The union presidents include Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, and Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance Trade Unions.
The law was heralded by the government as a way of controlling unruly unions accused of impeding public order, and traffic, but has long been criticized by labor unions as having been forced upon them without due process.
Ms. Sophorn told Khmer Times yesterday that she received a letter notifying her of a meeting with Mr. Samheng in March, but it did not mention what day.
“For me, the Trade Union Law still needs amending. We must talk with each other again about this law because it has many problems, especially related to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,” she said.
She added that the law was created by the government to put pressure on unions and to easily find fault with workers.
“This law creates restrictions on unions, which are really honest and help the workers,” said Ms. Sophorn.
The law was first proposed in 2014 amid widespread labor unrest and strikes, largely in the kingdom’s garment sector.
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