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Hun Sen warning on Labour Day events

Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned workers and unions not to organise activities that would affect “public order and society” on International Labour Day this Sunday, according to a statement received by The Post yesterday.

The document, signed by Hun Sen and dated April 12, warned union members and workers that they should avoid controversial labour activities during the annual holiday.

“Please take this day to organise events for culture, art and entertainment … and avoid doing activity that can be affected to the public order and society,” the statement read.

Hun Sen also participated in an International Labour Day celebration at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh yesterday, an event that was closed to the press.  

Vong Sovann, president of Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions, said yesterday that the premier struck an enthusiastic tone at the celebration, attended by more than 2,000 workers, union members and students.

“Hun Sen encouraged workers by asking their employers to create a happy entertainment on Labour Day,” he said, adding that the premier said he admired garment factories that organised parties and events for workers. Von Sovann added that the premier also urged workers to find solutions to disputes through official lines.

“Workers have to find a resolution [to problems] through the Ministry of Labour’s Arbitration Council,” Vong Sovann quoted him as saying.

International Labour Day is set to see thousands of workers hit the streets of the capital. The Cambodian Labour Confederation has sent a permission letter sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall last week to allow up to 3,000 people to parade through the capital on Sunday. CLC president Ath Thorn asked to use Preah Sisowath for the event, according to the letter.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food Service Workers Federation, said yesterday that they had received a response letter from City Hall inviting them to discuss the request in a meeting later today.

“I don’t know yet whether they allow us to do it or not,” he said.

Last year, controversy hit Labour Day when police tried to ban a screening of a documentary about slain labour leader Chea Vichea, forcibly removing projector screens set up by organisers outside Wat Lanka in central Phnom Penh.

The film, called Who Killed Chea Vichea?, is set to be screened at Sam Rainsy Party headquarters this Sunday.

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