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Ministry urges better housing and transport for garment workers

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
A man carries an injured garment worker to an ambulance following a crash. KT/Mai Vireak

The Labour Ministry is planning to streamline how garment factory workers commute to work in order to reduce traffic accidents.


The ministry plans on making public transportation services more accessible to garment factory workers and urging enterprises to provide housing nearby factories.

The measures were announced yesterday during a National Social Security Fund meeting with the Working Group on Road Safety and Fainting.

Labour Minister Ith Samheng said the ministry has prioritised the issue of traffic accidents involving garment factory workers.

Mr Samheng said workers should be able to take advantage of public transportation services to get to work.

He also said that company owners should provide housing in factory complexes or nearby.

“When workers have a place to stay nearby their factory, they will no longer need to travel long distances to get from home to work,” Mr Samheng said. “In doing so, they will avoid traffic accidents.”

“Linking public transportation services to factories will allow the facilitation of travel for workers,” he added.

As of today, garment factory workers rely on accident-prone trucks to take them to work.

According to an NSSF report published on Tuesday, last year garment factory workers were involved in 1,710 accidents which resulted in 42 deaths and 1,863 injuries.

It said 40 percent of crashes was due to speeding, 24 percent reckless overtaking, and 17 percent failing to adhere to traffic rules, while 18 percent was attributed to a lack of vehicle maintenance.

In 2017, there were 1,691 traffic accidents that resulted in 33 deaths and 2,193 injuries.

NSSF president Ouk Samvichea said economic growth in the garment and footwear industry has led to new challenges for the government. Mr Samvichea said the government is considering the health of workers.

“I urged the working group to continue outreach to workers and enterprises in order to raise their understanding of this issue,” he said. “Workers need good health and safety at all times.”

Soung Vanna, a garment factory worker from Kandal province, said she travels to work by hitching a ride with her company’s truck.

“I have no home in Phnom Penh, so I must get up early to catch a truck to take me to my work place in Phnom Penh,” Ms Vanna said. “Sometimes I am afraid of getting into an accident because I have heard of a lot of cases.”

“But we have no choice,” she added. “I have to work.”

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