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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CPP, CNRP agree to let strike clause stand

CPP, CNRP agree to let strike clause stand

The controversial draft union law clause requiring a 50 per cent plus one vote by members to authorise a strike will stand, lawmakers from both parties said yesterday, though clarity is still required to define how that quorum should be shaped.

The strike clause was one of seven outstanding points agreed to yesterday at the second meeting of the bipartisan committee to work out criticisms of the law, according to Sok Eysan, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman and chief of the CPP’s wing of the committee.

For most of those points raised, lawmakers have agreed to retain the meaning, albeit with some minor word changes, he said.

“We agreed to find proper words to have a clear meaning to avoid any unclear meaning in the law,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting had convened, Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay confirmed that the clause requiring a union to have a 50 per cent plus one member quorum for any strike decision will remain in place, but said clarifications would be necessary to ensure there is no ambiguity in the required make-up of that quorum, he said.

For example, Chhay said, a union that has members across multiple factories should not need all its members to vote on a case specific to one factory.

“If it is not clear, we will review some words … [but]it is a normal thing if a group wants to strike that we need to have 50 per cent plus one,” he said.

Sor Mora, president of Cambodian Food and Service Worker’s Federation, said that while he accepted the rule in principle, he agreed the language needed to be clearly defined.

“They need to be clear on this point and don’t make it confusing,” he said.

However, Moeun Tola, of the rights group Central, said the entire law interfered with unions affairs.

The rule requiring a 50 per cent plus one quorum, he said, was impractical and a “violation of fundamental rights”.

Unions should be free to determine themselves how many people are needed to call for a strike, he said. “It doesn’t make sense at all.”

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