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Labour law discussions ongoing despite boycott, say ministry

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
The tripartite mechanism working group holds the second discussion on amendments to Labour Law on September 15. Ministry of Labour

The Labour Law amendment discussions have continued to move forward despite Cambodia’s union representatives boycotting the latest amendment meeting, said the Ministry of Labour.

The meeting – held on September 15 at the ministry and led by Labour Minister Ith Samheng – was boycotted by the union representatives after a statement from the union said it would bring ‘many disadvantages’ to Cambodian workers.

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour told Khmer Times yesterday that the Labour Law amendment discussions were held as usual and progress was made.

“The next step is to collect feedback from all parties [at the meeting]. If there is a new point, and if it is necessary, the ministry could meet again,” he said.

The meeting was to discuss Labour Law Article 144, which covers the proposed amendment on the reduction of night-shift wages from 130 percent of the day-rate to 100 percent.

They also discussed Article 162 and the proposed amendment regarding national holidays which fall on a Sunday, which moves to end the ability for workers to take the following Monday off as a holiday.

A statement, released by union representatives on September 14, said: “The move will bring many disadvantages to Cambodian workers, especially the loss of economic benefits.”

Among the union are representatives from the Cambodian Labour Confederation, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions and the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The statement also said: “We would like to appeal to the Ministry of Labour to dismiss the amendment to the Labour Law as we requested in the first and second phase.”

However, a Labour Ministry statement on September 15 said that the adjustment of the night shift wage rate is to create and increase more employment opportunities for the Cambodian people and contribute to the development of the Cambodian economy.

“This amendment does not affect the interests of workers and employees who are working during night shifts occasionally or on a rotated basis, as this point only applies to workers and employees who work during night shifts on a regular basis,” it said.

“The abolition of the next day’s leave for the Sunday holiday is not contrary to international labour conventions. The amendment aims to boost labour productivity and enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness in facilitating investment and national development,” it added.

President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union Ath Thorn said yesterday that the boycott is a sign, telling the ministry and firms to understand the consequences of going against worker and union interests.

“We are still trying to get the ministry to reconsider the amendment of the law which would reduce workers and employee wages from 130 percent to 100 percent,” he said.

Thorn said the unions will still push against the amendment as discussions are still ongoing.

 

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