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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Labour law amendment delayed

Labour law amendment delayed

OFFICIALS decided Thursday to delay an amendment to the Labour Law that would extend the use of temporary employment contracts, but a secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said he still believes the law needs to be amended at some point.

The decision was made during a meeting of ministry officials, union leaders and representatives from the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia.

Union leaders, who earlier this week warned of nationwide strikes if the proposed changes were enacted, have said that the changes would allow temporary contracts to be extended indefinitely, making it easier for employers to hire and fire workers.

Under the 1997 Labour Law, any employee who has worked with a company for more than two years is automatically considered a permanent employee.

Oum Mean, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, told the Post after the meeting that officials had opted to put the changes on hold so they could solicit additional feedback about them.

It is not … an amendment but rather a clarification to make it clear because ...

the law is not clear.

"We also want to convince all parties about what we plan to do," he said.

Officials called for the formation of a task force led by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to amend the law in a manner that would appease all parties.

In the long run, he said, "it is a must that we amend these two articles because they have resulted in many labour disputes over the years". He was referring to Articles 67 and 73, which govern contract durations and notices for contract duration.

Roger Tan, acting secretary general of GMAC, said the association welcomed all discussion of the Labour Law. He also said the proposed change was actually more of a clarification than an amendment.  

"It is not really an amendment but rather a clarification to make it clear because right now the law is not clear and people can interpret it differently," he said.

Ath Thorn, president of Cambodian Labor Confederation, said he did not see a reason to amend the Labour Law.

"I think this delay is a good thing for all parties to reconsider what they want to achieve," he said. 

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