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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Factory worker safety nets planned

Factory worker safety nets planned

The government is planning to introduce accident compensation and social security

funds for factory workers by the end of the year.

An official at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth

Rehabilitation (MoSALVY), said this would ensure factory workers had access to income

in case of accident, maternity leave or forced retirement. The fund would be created

by the collection of money from employers and employees.

The government has reminded factories of their responsibility to provide a well-ventilated

and cool working environment and to supply staff working overtime with sweet drinks

or cakes to help prevent dizziness.

Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation

(MoSALVY), targeted garment and shoe factories in an announcement.

Heng warned that strict actions will be taken against enterprises that fail to notify

MoSALVY about any "employment accident, method on giving allowances and rate

of reduced work ability."

An official at MoSALVY who asked not to be named, said when there is problem or an

accident in a factory they are sometimes informed directly by the owner or director

of the factory, but sometimes the workers or media bring issues to their attention.

He said the enterprises most likely to hide information about accidents were construction

companies and that the compensation to workers depends on the negotiations between

employers and the victim.

In the last five years, 1,413 workers have been slightly injured, some by traffic

accidents on the way to or from work and others caused by poisoning or lack of vitamins

in their bodies when working in the factory, the source said. A further 16 workers

died or were seriously injured, mostly in traffic accidents en route to work.

According to the Free Trade Union of Workers there are more than 200,000 factory

workers throughout Cambodia.

Kek Galabru, director of LICADHO, said if the factory owners respected the existing

labor laws there should be no problems. Incidents of dizziness, fainting and accidents

were caused by overcrowded workplaces and workers cutting back to as little as one

meal per day due to low salaries, Galabru said.

"If the factory owners want to get extremely high profits there will be a lot

of exploitation of the workers," said Galabru.

She requested that a negotiation forum be set up, involving representatives of workers,

labor unions, factory owners, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Social

Affairs in order to discuss the ways that employers and employees can both be satisfied.

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