CPP asks employers to give workers day off to vote

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The government has asked factory owners to give staff time off to vote. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The ruling CPP has asked all employers to allow their employees sufficient time off next month to ensure that they can vote in the June 4 commune elections.
“The CPP encourages all companies, owners of factories to give workers and their staff, particularly those registered to vote in the commune elections, appropriate time off so that they may have a chance to cast their votes,” a letter from the ruling party says.
The CPP also urged the National Election Committee to streamline voting day processes to ensure that voters can cast their ballots quickly and return to their workplace.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia said it had no authority to force employers to give the day off but lauded the government initiative.
“Also, election day falls on a Sunday so I don’t know exactly what the government is asking, maybe they are just suggesting that employers make it easy for workers to apply for leave so that they can return to their provinces to vote,” GMAC deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said.
He insisted that giving workers additional days off to vote was not a prerogative of the government or GMAC and said that the group would not interfere with private businesses.
Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union president Ath Thorn said that he has yet to receive a response from the NEC about giving garment workers two additional days off for them to return to the provinces to vote.
He added that while he had sent a letter to the Labour Ministry, he had yet to receive a response.
“I think it’s good that the CPP is intervening to have more days off for the workers to go and vote and I think the Labour Ministry would agree with this appeal seeing as the CPP’s request and the union are the same,” Mr Thorn said.
He explained that more than just a single day off was crucial for garment workers because many did not have cars and needed to travel by taxi to their provinces.
“This is the first problem, the other is that their wages will be cut if they take leave and already they have to spend so many money to travel back home,” he said.
“It is good if their employers allow them to take leave without cutting their wages. I think 90 or 100 percent of workers would go and vote,” he added.
Without additional days off, most garment workers will likely not vote, he said, because many were adamant about voting in their hometowns or not at all.
Similarly, the Free Trade Union has also put in a request with the Labour Ministry to pressure factory employers to pay their workers returning to their hometowns an advance of their salary as well as to allow them additional time off from work without deducting their salary.

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