ILO pushes decent work agenda

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Tun Sophorn, country coordinator for ILO, delivers a speech. KT/Tep Sony

The International Labour Organisation is urging all stakeholders in the Kingdom to ensure that citizens have access to decent employment by 2023.

The goal was stated during a workshop on the Cambodia Decent Work Country Programme 2019-2023 in Phnom Penh yesterday, where 150 people from unions, rights groups and the government discussed issues related to quality employment.

Tun Sophorn, country coordinator for the International Labour Organisation, yesterday said Cambodia has made great progress in reducing unemployment, but the amount of employers offering decent work is still limited.

“Decent work refers to having a well-paying job that can support yourselves and your families. It is the main thing that we have to focus on in terms of [improving] job quality,” Mr Sophorn said. “We want to see more progress, including more social security protection, better minimum wages for workers in all sectors and inclusion when laws concerning decent work are being drafted.”

“The monitoring process to see whether or not work is decent is still lacking. For example, workers in small-medium enterprises and those in the informal sector do not have decent wages, good working hours, and health and work insurance,” he added. “So when these become main priorities, they too can have decent work.”

According to a Labour Ministry report, jobs were created for 4.8 million citizens last year, including for 1.2 million who are overseas.

The DWCP for Cambodia focuses on three areas: Promoting employment and sustainable enterprise development; strengthening and expanding social protection, including occupational safety and health; improving industrial relations and rights at work.

Ath Thorn, chairman of the National Trade Union Council and president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, yesterday said that according to the ILO, if workers had decent work, they would have enough income to support their family, time for breaks, less pressure from their employers and more protections.

Mr Thorn said employers in Cambodia need to be able to provide these things.

“During the past few years, we have pushed for three out of four of these requirements…but employment is still not good enough because rights are still not addressed and there are many unemployed youths,” he said. “Decent work in our country is not good.”

Mr Thorn noted that some unionists do not yet clearly understand what constitutes as decent work, making it hard for them to push for pro-decent work policies.

“We invited more than 150 workers associations so they know more about decent work and they can draft a plan on what they want to achieve in the next five years,” he said. “I hope this workshop will help unionists push for more decent work.”

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