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Government starts work on labor court

Two government ministries have begun working towards the establishment of a special court to solve workplace disputes.

The ministries of Labor and Vocational Training and of Justice are considering legislation under which a labor court could be created, Oum Mean, the Undersecretary of State for Labor and Vocational Training, said on May 28.

He said the two ministries were responding to a recommendation made by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Government-Private Sector Forum on April 23.

"I hope this court will be established during the term of the next government," Mean said.

"When this court is created, it will be a proud day for our country and people, especially employees and employers," he said.

The move to establish the special court was welcomed by the deputy director of the Labor Dispute Department, Khiev Savuth, who said it would streamline the handling of disputes between employers and employees, which continue to interfere heavily with Cambodia's largest industrial employer, the garment sector.

Under the existing system for resolving disputes, the department mediates between employers and employees. If the mediation fails, the case is likely to be referred to the courts.

Savuth said the number of disputes arising from the sacking of workers had declined because employers were becoming more aware of labor laws.

"When employers are well-educated and understand the law, they can solve problems with their employees at the workplace in a peaceful way," he said.

Savuth said that in many cases where the department needed to mediate, the employers tended to be poorly educated and lacked an adequate understanding of labor laws.

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