PHNOM PENH, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — The International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) will sign an agreement on Thursday, aiming to abolish child labour in Cambodia’ s garment industry, said a join news statement Tuesday.
“The agreement emphasizes collaboration between BFC and GMAC in the process of identifying and remediating any confirmed cases of child labour,” the statement said.
“When workers under the age of 15 are identified, they are offered access to suitable vocational training institutes and are paid the equivalent of their average monthly factory pay until they reach 15,” it added.
GMAC will ensure financial support for age confirmation and remediation costs from its member factories.
Cambodian Labour Minister Ith Samheng has previously reaffirmed the government’s commitment to combating child labour, including its goals of reducing the incidence of child labour in all sectors across Cambodia from 16.5 percent in 1999 to 8 percent by 2015 and of eliminating the worst forms of child labour completely by 2016.
He also highlighted the importance of collective action in order that the Cambodian garment industry is able to protect the brand name “Made in Cambodia.”
GMAC’s president Van Sou Ieng said GMAC has a zero tolerance policy towards child labour and has been working very closely with Better Factories Cambodia over the past 14 years in this regard.
“This agreement further solidifies our commitment and provides a positive remediation for those underage workers that slip through the crack and are found working in our member factories,” he said.
Jill Tucker, program manager of the BFC program said BFC’s monitoring has noticed a decline in the cases of confirmed child labour in 2014 compared to 2013.
The garment and footwear sector, Cambodia’s largest foreign currency earner, comprises 960 factories with 620,000 workers, according to the ministry of labour.
The sector exported products in equivalent to 4.44 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of this year, accounting for 76 percent of the country’s total export.