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Employers push for changes to draft union law

Employer representatives reiterated their position yesterday on the draft trade union law, urging the government to change certain articles of the contentious legislation ahead of a scheduled vote on Monday.

At a press conference held by the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia and the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA), the two major employer groups said the Labour Ministry must be allowed to suspend unions for acting in “breach of the law,” a power which the current draft places in the court’s jurisdiction.

“If some [group] does an illegal action, there should be a way to suspend them immediately pending a court’s final ruling,” said Van Sou Ieng, president of CAMFEBA.

The groups also want the threshold for union formation to be increased from 10 workers to 20 per cent of workers on the factory floor, but lauded the current requirement of a 50 per cent plus one vote before unions can strike strike.

William Conklin, country director at the Solidarity Center, said that while International Labour Organisation norms do not specifically get into this issue, the inclusion of the strike vote clause was intended to make it more burdensome for unions, especially the larger ones.

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