Government Faces Accusations of Suppressing Workers’ Votes
Labor rights activists urged the government on Wednesday to help hundreds of thousands of workers who have migrated within the country to vote on Sunday, with a political analyst saying their potential disenfranchisement could swing the elections to the ruling party.
—Commune Election 2017—
As an opposition spokesman accused the government of intentionally disenfranchising the workers and potentially compromising free and fair elections, the Labor Ministry hit back at critics with its own strongly worded statement, laying responsibility for the disagreement at the feet of former CNRP President Sam Rainsy, an escalation in a dispute that has intensified as Election Day draws near.
The disagreement centers on a statement issued on Monday by Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng that asks factory owners to “please make it easy for workers and employers to go to vote in commune elections in June 2017 wherever they registered.”
That statement is too weak, the opposition and rights groups say, and is in sharp contrast to the ministry’s 2012 statement, issued before that year’s commune elections, which says factory owners “must implement as following…[workers] in Phnom Penh that must travel to other provinces and return to Phnom Penh from those provinces get 3 days off.”
Moeun Tola, head of the workers’ rights group Central, said the change made the CPP appear “afraid of its own shadow,” and he called on the ministry to issue a stronger statement.
“The Ministry of Labor should issue clear instructions to the industry…. to allow their workers and employers to have at least two [paid] days off, June 3 and June 5,” Mr. Tola said.
Source: The Cambodia Daily
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