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Unions urge Minister to revoke articles

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Ith Samheng. KT/Mai Vireak

A group of unions have sent a letter to Labour Minister Ith Samheng requesting him to revoke three articles in the draft amendment to the Labour Law which they claim damage the interests of workers.

Fourteen union leaders signed the joint request submitted to Mr Samheng last week and urged him to consider revoking Articles 144, 162 and 300.

The unions included the Cambodian Labour Confederation, Collective Union of Movement of Workers, Workers Friendship Union Federation, Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association and the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia.

CLC president Ath Thorn said yesterday that the group is concerned that these articles infringe the rights of Cambodian workers.

“The majority of workers’ unions in the Kingdom have expressed their objection to any creation or amendment of a law that causes them to lose their rights or other benefits,” he said.

Mr Thorn said that the unionists were extremely disappointed with the draft amendment of the Labour Law because it contains sections which will result in loss of benefits to workers.

The Labour Ministry’s draft amendment includes Articles 144, 162 and 300 which cover night-shift and day-shift wages and public holiday policy.

For example, Article 162 states that if a public holiday falls on Sunday, workers will have the following day off but the amendment will remove this benefit.

Last month, Mr Samheng created a working group, composed of representatives of employers, government and workers, tasked with discussing the amendments to articles in the Labour Law.

He said the amendments are crucial because they are being made in response to socio-economic development and improving labour productivity and competitiveness.

“I would like to take this opportunity to make sure that the interests of all workers are not affected,” Mr Samheng said.

Heng Sour, a spokesman for the Labour Ministry, said yesterday that he did not care what others think about the amendments because the ministry is responding to economic conditions.

“We have a tripartite forum, we have a lot of stakeholders and we have studied other countries’ laws. So it is not important how they [others] view the amendments,” he said. “We respond to the Kingdom’s economic conditions and follow the good examples in other countries, our laws and some conventions.”

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia is supporting the amendment of the law and said the move will improve working conditions and competitiveness.

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