We, as trade unions and organizations in the field of labour rights listed below, representing workers at garment and footwear industry, hotels, construction, beer, foods, agriculture, civil servants, teachers and informal economy in Cambodia, would like to express our deepest thanks to the Special Committee of the Parliament which is comprised with Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and Cambodian People Party (CPP) for allowing us to meet and discuss on 28 and 29 December 2015 separately on the latest draft of trade union law and giving our union party chance to raise our major concerns over the draft law and clarifying our concerns, explaining and raising our rational arguments for supporting our union proposal as well. Whereas the Chair of the Special Committee also promised trying to take up the union proposal to discuss within the Special Committee in order to reach agreements as many as possible and for the remaining points will be forwarded to seek possible recommendations in principle from the heads of the two parties. Until now, after the meetings of the two parties have been held on 04, 14 and 19 January 2016 for three times in total, those meetings seemed producing unsatisfactory results in response to the union proposal. Based on the broadcasts of various media on the results of the Special Committee in each time, the union views that, these seem that the union’s key proposals were not well taken by the Special Committee, particularly relating to (1) Scope of the trade union law that should more cover domestic workers, civil servants/state employees and those who work in the informal economic units; (2) Protection of the right to organize and right to collective bargaining; and (3) Right to strike,…etc. Because in this draft, it has restriction of such rights on those who work in large categories of employment preventing them from organizing their unions, while those whose categories of employment can form a union limiting them from at least 10 workers to be able to form a union, and how about enterprises/establishments which employ less than 10 workers, why workers in those enterprises or establishments are not protected by this law because they are also workers like others.
Thus, this law is visibly restricted on the trade union rights which already recognized by International Labour Organization’s Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 as workers’ organizations seemed having confrontation and are vulnerable to be dissolved if unions cannot follow the complicated conditions required by this law. Whereas the right to strike given in this law, it seems to have difficulty to comply with it because this law determines a quorum for participating in making decision on strike at 50% + 1 of the total union members which this requirement is very high and making trade unions impossible to follow it, thus it is made in violation of the ILO Convention that requires for the union to draw in its constitution only.
Therefore, the union would like to ask the Royal Government and the National Assembly of Cambodia to take the following requests:
- To accept the 17 previously-submitted proposal of the union and continue to take more inputs from our union;
- To suspend adoption on this draft law;
- To request that the working groups of the both parties continue discussion on this draft law in order to make it become a better one; and
- To allow our union representatives to participate in every of meetings relating to this trade union law.
The union sees that these requests are really essential for not only to aligning with the national laws and the ratified conventions but also for contributing to have this law becoming a good one for future implementation and serving for promotion of interests of all the workers and the society as well as our next generations.
Done in Phnom Penh, January 20, 2016
The names listed below are the representatives of each of organizations who attended in the discussion and the press conference and supported the unions’ requests which previously submitted to the Royal Government and the Parliament as well as to endorse the union’s statement today:
- M Chuon Momthol, President of Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions
- M Ath Thorn, President of Cambodian Labour Confederation
- Mrs.Yang Sophorn, Acting President of Cambodian Confederation of Unions
- M Pav Sina, President of Cambodian Confederation of Workers’ Movement
- M Far Saly, President of National Trade Union Coalition
- Mrs.Ken Chhenglang, President of Cambodian Citizen’s Livelihood Development Association
- M Seang Sambath, President of Worker Friendship Union Federation
- M Um Visal, Secretary General of Union Coalition for Labor
- M Roth Minea, Secretary General of the National Independent Textile Union of Cambodia
- M Yan Thy, Secretary General of Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation ofCambodia
- M Kang Rina, Program Officer of Cambodia Food and Service Workers Federation
- M Puth Sovann, President of Trade Union Federation for Workers
- M Moeun Tola, Executive Director of Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights
- M William Conklin, Country Director of Solidarity Center, Cambodia
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