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Ministry urges curb of factory strikes

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour speaks at the forum yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

A senior Labour Ministry official is urging further cooperation for the prevention of strikes and demonstrations among factory workers.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour yesterday during the opening of a business forum with Better Factories Cambodia in Phnom Penh said the government has worked to bring benefits to employers, unions and employees in the garment and footwear industry.

“I would like more cooperation from all stakeholders in order to keep achieving our bond and promote the understanding of rights and obligations, as well as to enhance measures to prevent strikes and demonstrations so that disputes can be solved peacefully,” Mr Sour said.

“We see that in the last three weeks some striking workers blocked roads. The ministry tried its best to explain to them that some strikes are considered illegal by the law,” he added, noting that employers can only comply with the Labour Law and that if the sector failed, workers would be the ones who would be hit the hardest.

“Workers have the right to make demands, but we as the provider must see if what they want can be granted,” Mr Sour said. “I want everyone to cooperate with each other and heed the law.”

He noted that there are now about 6,000 registered unions, including about 1,300 that registered after the Trade Union Law was approved in 2016.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, yesterday said despite the Trade Union Law, unions have yet to be granted full freedoms.

“I do not think the freedom of unions has been any better – we can see that because union leaders are still being accused [of crimes],” Mr Thorn said, referring to his own trials and tribulations in court. “We are outside of prison, but we can still be charged.”

In December, Phnom Penh Municipal Court found union leaders Rong Chhun, Mom Nhim, Mr Thorn, Yang Sophorn and Pav Sina, and former unionist Chea Mony, guilty of instigating violence over their roles in violent protests dating back to 2013.

However, the court suspended the sentences for all six union leaders and also their colleagues.

Meanwhile, Mr Sour said that the business forum aims to expand the general vision for Cambodia’s garment industry.

He said that Better Factory Cambodia has contributed to the betterment of working conditions in the garment and textile sectors.

Mr Sour noted that he is convinced investors will remain confident in Cambodia.

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