Generating Skills to Compete

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PHNOM PENH March 16: (Khmer Times) – CAMFEBA has declared that for Cambodian business entities to expand and prosper, it is imperative that education and training systems meet the productivity and innovations needs of business.
CAMFEBA added that  BETWEEN 300,000 and 400,000 workforce were entering the labor market each year.
“Translating this demographic advantage into an economic advantage requires robust training education and training systems to be in place,” it said in its report for “Business Vision 2020.”
It adds that while employment growth in the economy will continue as the government implements plans to expand and diversify the economy by promoting industries such
as ICT and rice processing, a survey reveals that over 75 per cent of firms feel that skills shortages are negatively impacting firm’s growth trajectories.
Jobs generated by Cambodia’s our economy need to be filled by Cambodians, yet while, firms are able to find local workers to fill positions in light industries, such as manufacturing, positions requiring higher skills are frequently staffed by expatriate staff.
“Addressing this issue is especially important in light of further ASEAN integration: the survey found that nearly half of enterprises are concerned about the free flow of skilled labor throughout the region.”
CAMFEBA – Cambodian Federation of Employers & Business Associations, adds that their survey also fins that more than half of interviewed in the survey feel that the level of vocation education and training do not meet the expectation of the firms.
It strongly  believes that full and genuine social dialogue based on responsible cooperation rather than  confrontation is an  important tool  in  sustainable enterprises. 
“Developing a positive, collaborative working  environment can help improve  productive and innovation, while greater workplace stability benefits employers  and workers alike.
It pointed out that tensions  in the  industrial relations (IR) environment hinder  investment and  undermine the  garment industry’s reputation for  adhering to  international labor  standards.  
The turmoil  in workplace  relations  that  has  been  present for  much  of 2013  and  into  2014 underscore  the   urgent   need   to  develop   Cambodia’s   nascent   system   of  social  dialogue   and workplace  relations.  
“It will take time to embed responsible and effective social dialogue practices and build solid systems and this remains a responsibility of all actors,” CAMFEBA says.

It adds that it strongly believes that a social dialogue process, such as a wage negotiation, when based on a firm empirical footing, can lead to higher quality and sustainable outcomes.
A former garment factory owner, T.K. Lee said that maybe it is time Cambodia looks at collective bargaining as a process of negotiations between employers and a group of employees through a single union for each industry rather than many unions for the same industry.
“This collective agreement is aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions. The interests of the employees are commonly presented by representatives of a trade union to which the employees belong. 
The collective agreements reached by these negotiations usually set out wage scales, working hours, training, health and safety, overtime, grievance mechanisms, and rights to participate in workplace or company affairs.”
The key, he adds is that the union (a single union for the garment sector for example)  may negotiate with a single employer (who is typically representing a company’s shareholders) or may negotiate with a group of businesses,  but not many unions negotiating with different agendas, especially if they are politicized.

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