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Officers offered training to deal with strikes

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Police officers join the training session yesterday in Kandal province. MOL

More than 100 police officers are receiving training to deal with strikes and peaceful demonstrations to ensure fundamental freedoms are respected.

The Labour Ministry and relevant authorities yesterday began the two-day training at the Police Academy of Cambodia in Kandal province.

Som Chamnan, an undersecretary of state at the Labour Ministry, yesterday said that the right to strike and demonstrate was enshrined by the constitution.

“In real implementation, we have observed that most of the strikes occur when workers and employers are unable to find a resolution to labour disputes in their workplaces or establishments,” Mr Chamnan said.

He said that in some cases, strikes turned violent which required authorities to intervene.

Garment workers protest the Trade Union Law outside the National Assembly. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Mr Chamnan said that 120 officers were given training about the right to strike and hold peaceful demonstrations to ensure fundamental freedom is respected as defined in the constitution.

“This is to provide more knowledge about the rights of workers to gather, such as the right to hold strikes and demonstrations peacefully,” he said. “Improving law enforcement is to ensure that freedom of expression through peaceful demonstrations is exercised in a non-threatening and non-violent environment.”

From January to August this year, 5,117 unions were registered with the Labour Ministry.

Mr Chamnan said the number of labour disputes went down thanks to effective settlements, as 35 strikes occurred for past eight months this year.

Pav Sina, president of Collective Union of Movement of Workers, yesterday said that the number of strikes and demonstrations has fallen this year due to the strict Trade Union Law.

“I see that there are two big reasons for a decrease: the Trade Union Law and political factors,” Mr Sina said.

Mr Sina said that the Trade Union Law restricts the freedoms of workers and unions to hold strikes and demonstrations.

“Another factor is politics which has caused the number of strikes to go down. We are concerned that authorities will deem strikes as politically motivated” Mr Sina said. “That’s why we have seen the number of strikes fall, but working conditions in the factories have not improved yet.”

Mr Sina said that the Labour Ministry should provide the same training to other stakeholders, including workers, unions and employers.

“I think the ministry should provide the same training to workers and unions so that they know more clearly about their rights to hold strikes,” he said.

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