Ministry issues warning about Labour Day event

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Workers protest for higher pay during May Day last year. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

The Labour Ministry yesterday said all union groups cleared for public Labour Day celebrations must obey the law, adding that there will be no marches to the National Assembly today.

Labour Minister Ith Samheng said during a Labour Day celebration at the ministry yesterday that though he recognised freedom of assembly and free speech, he did not agree to a request made by one union group for over 2,000 workers to conduct a march.

“I want to take this opportunity to send a message to them that we should solve problems together,” he said, referring to the Cambodia Labour Confederation. “We’re not against their gathering. I suggested to them to respect the authorities and safeguard public order.”

Mr Samheng said he expected Labour Day to be full of celebrations and entertainment, without any marches.

“I want everyone to take this day as a day of entertainment for our workers,” he said. “This day is meant to create solidarity in the labour sectors because we are committed to developing mechanisms to solve problems.”

“So, we don’t need to march in the streets any more.” Mr Samheng added. “I don’t want to see any more workers marching along the streets, but we’re not banning the celebrations.”

Phnom Penh Governor Khoung Sreng on Friday sent a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng to inform him about the request made by CLC for about 2,000 people to march to the National Assembly.

Mr Kheng signed and returned the request with one clause: union groups may gather, but without marching.

CLC president Ath Thorn eventually agreed to the decision made by City Hall and the Labour Ministry for the event to be confined to a park.

Mr Thorn also plans to file two petitions to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the president of the National Assembly, Heng Samrith, to introduce “19 points” addressing the rights of workers being abused.

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