In a bid to protect workers’ rights, following the recently passed Trade Union Law, IndustriALL Global Union has decided to keep a close watch on Cambodia’s textile and garment industry front.
In this regard, IndustriALL’s General Secretary, Jyrki Raina, said, “The new trade union law must not be used to undermine workers, but to strengthen them. The fundamental right of workers to organise and bargain collectively is vital to achieving better wages and working conditions in Cambodia.”
Back in March 17, IndustriALL had written to the Prime Minister, highlighting a slew of concerns for the workers that the draft law did not seem to meet. However, the government did go ahead with the law, adopting it on April 4, amid violent clashes between the trade unions and the government.
From the very beginning of this issue, IndustriALL had vehemently opposed the “draconian” trade union law. It was in October 2014 that the law draft was made public for the first time, and since then IndustriALL, along with other organisations have repeatedly shown dissent over the trade union law saying that the law does not meet the required international labour standards.
Raina has also written a letter to each of the 10 garment union affiliates in the country, saying: “I reiterate IndustriALL Global Union’s commitment to continue working with all of you, the ITUC, major brands, employers, and trade union rights NGOs, to ensure that the new trade union law respects the core principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
Ironically, though, ILO-Cambodia, which had helped the government in drafting the controversial trade union law, said in a statement: “While some meaningful improvements were noted in subsequent drafts during that time, on numerous occasions the ILO had drawn the government’s attention to several key concerns and gaps. These are mainly related to insufficient protection of the right of all workers and employers to freely set up organizations of their own choosing, and of the right of these organizations to decide on their internal matters without interference, as part of Cambodia’s obligations under ratified ILO Conventions.”