In spite of all the protests of the trade unions, clothing brands, and the ILO, the Cambodian parliament has adopted a new trade union law. According to Mr Ath Thorn from trade union organisation CLC, the law severely curtails workers' freedom of association.
Mr Thorn is seriously concerned. Trade unions will have even more difficulty defending workers' interests at, among other places, the many textile factories in Cambodia:
The law imposes new restrictions on the right to strike. In addition, the government has more possibilities to interfere in the internal affairs of our trade union organisations. This law even allows existing trade unions to be dissolved. At the same time, there are hardly any sanctions for employers who violate labour rights to apply unfair labour practices.
A violation of international conventions ratified by Cambodia
The law is a violation of international labour conventions that have even been approved by Cambodia itself, such as the right to freedom of association. However, the support of the governing party of Prime Minister Hun Sen was sufficient to have the law adopted. Members of the opposition in parliament abstained from voting.
Trade union members who protested peacefully at the moment of the voting of the new law were chased away with brute force, resulting in several people being injured.
CNV Internationaal supports projects of trade union organisation CLC in Cambodia.
Publication date 15 04 2016