The Labour Ministry and the Arbitration Council Foundation yesterday attributed a sharp decline in labour dispute cases last year to a Trade Union Law enacted in 2016.
ACF yesterday held a national conference promoting effective governance related to industry relations.
It reported that over the course of 15 years, the council has received a total of 2,650 labour dispute cases involving one million garment workers. The report added that 75 percent of labour disputes were resolved.
In 2017, there were only 50 reported cases, it noted, a drop from 248 cases in 2016 and 338 cases in 2015.
The ACF also said that 87 percent of disputes were related to the garment manufacturing sector and tourism.
Mam Vannak, a Labour Ministry secretary of state, said that the decline can be attributed to the Trade Union Law law passed in 2016.
“We notice that since the Trade Union Law was enacted, employers and employees seem more cooperative in finding solutions,” he said. “So the number of labour disputes sent to the council has declined. This is what we are happy about and it’s a no-headache solution.”
Men Nimmith, ACF executive director, said that the council used to receive hundreds of cases.
“Even if the number of labour dispute cases decline, we still have concerns and we hope that all labour disputes are solved peacefully,” Mr Nimmith said.
Srey Samnang, a factory manager with Yak Jin Cambodia, said that it seems like all sides are now more willing to negotiate after the new law was implemented.
“For some of the cases, employers and employees are more keen on coming to the table to discuss matters first before sending their case to the council,” Mr Samnang said.
Bai Sophea, Khmer Youth Union deputy chief, said that even though the number of disputes have declined, there are many that remain unresolved in different sectors.
“The number of disputes at ACF declined but it doesn’t mean that there are no disputes,” Mr Sophea said. “There are still many disputes in different sectors but most of them get resolved.”
In February, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the country does not need a labour court to solve disputes because current mechanism in place are sufficient.
He said current regulations bring employers and workers together along with a Labour Ministry mediator.
Mr Hun Sen also said that if a court was created specifically to tackle labour issues, the results from the proceedings might favour one party more than the other, whereas the council can reach a solution both parties accept.