Twenty unionists gathered yesterday in front of the Ministry of Labour to request for a meeting with Minister Ith Samheng to discuss select articles of the Trade Union Law amended last month.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said during the gathering the unions seek the revision of 10 articles of the law, including Article 17 on the maintenance of registrations and Articles 54 and 55 which restrict union representation.
Others include Articles 3, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29 and 59.
Upon its promulgation in 2016, select articles of the Trade Union Law were met with criticism for allegedly restricting union freedom.
In November, the National Assembly unanimously passed the amendments to the law to promote workers’ rights and ensure union freedom.
“We want to have a meeting to discuss once more some of the amended articles. We cannot accept the amendments as they seem to restrict the rights of unions and the workers,” said Mr Sina, adding the changes made were minimal and do not reflect the needs of the unions.
“We decided to file a petition to the ministry because we want it to hear and consider our concerns as unionists and as workers. If the minister refuses to review and resolve the articles we mentioned, then it will affect us negatively once the changes are implemented,” he added.“The minister must call for a meeting as soon as possible with all unions and relevant institutes to discuss the amendments on the Trade Union Law.”
An appeal, he said, would be made to other union leaders who are unhappy with the amendments to back the proposal for a review.
Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association president Vorn Pov yesterday expressed his hope for the ministry to expedite their request and invite them to a meeting.
“If the articles are amended in the manner that we propose, it would ease the impact of the EBA withdrawal,” he said.
Nin Vannak, deputy secretary-general of the Labour Ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strike and Demonstrations, said yesterday the ministry is thankful for those who have confidence in government institutions.
All the unions’ suggestions and requests will be submitted to the minister for review, he said.
Articles 54, 55 and 59 initially stipulated, unions have the right to represent workers to solve labour disputes but an amendment to the articles restricted unionists from representing the workers.
Previously, Mr Samheng said the amendments improved the Trade Union Law and gave more freedom to workers and union organisations.
“Unions are no longer required to submit a copy of their internal activities and finances to the Labour Ministry but the ministry has an obligation to demand those reports if requested by union members or donors.”
“The amendments were made based on requests by relevant parties, which not only include the unions but other groups as well. We cannot satisfy all parties. All I can say is that these amendments make the law better,” Mr Samheng said during a plenary session.
The Trade Union Law constitutes 17 chapters and 100 articles.