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Unions urge workers to cast ballots

Or Sreypich / Khmer Times Share:
Garment workers join their colleagues during lunch. KT/Mai Vireak

Unions representing thousands of workers have urged garment workers to vote in the national election on Sunday after the Labour Ministry approved three days of paid leave for them.

National Trade Union Confederation president Far Saly yesterday said that garment workers should not miss voting day because the ministry approved the time off.

“The time off for garment workers is really important to choose a leader that can lead the country into a developed one and can give workers benefits such as salary increases,” he said.

Phom Thearat, a garment worker in Phnom Penh, said she would vote in her home town in Kampong Cham province.

“I will go because my vote could choose the leader that I want. It is really important,” she said.

She had heard about the ministry’s order for workers to have three days off but was still waiting for an announcement from her company, she noted.

NTUC president Far Saly. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Ol Vanna said she used to work as a garment worker for nearly ten years, but workers never got three paid days off to vote in the past.

“This is the first time that the company has not cut the workers’ wages when they go to vote,” she said. “It is good for them.”

Speaking at a local union meeting last month, National Union Councils president Som Aun also encouraged garment workers to take part in the election and appealed to unions to check that factory owners obeyed the law on paid time off.

In June, the Labour Ministry issued an order that all enterprise owners should allow employees three days off from July 28 to 30 to make it easier for them to travel home to cast ballots.

The order was followed by a similar one by the Education Ministry for students, instructing schools to give them time off to also travel home to vote.

Both moves were made after Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested that issuing the orders would make it easier for workers and students to partake in the national election.

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