Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Municipal officials given a larger hand in labour disputes

Municipal officials given a larger hand in labour disputes

Municipal officials given a larger hand in labour disputes

2 MV workers protest on national road 2 vireak mai

Continuing its efforts to quell an increasing number of strikes in the Kingdom’s lucrative garment sector, the government this week issued a directive aimed at giving provincial and municipal governors powers to resolve issues at factories without calling on ministries in Phnom Penh.

“To ensure further contributions to economic growth and to solve problems for the people, the government gives [municipal] and provincial governors more duties,” states the  directive, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday and obtained yesterday.

Under the changes, provincial authorities have powers to monitor the productivity of their local factories, examine worksites, solve industrial disputes and maintain public order when workers strike.

The Labour and Social Affairs ministries have previously exclusively carried out such duties.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, called the directive “meaningful”, but said he believed only the Ministry of Labour should deal with strikes.

“Some officials enflame disputes, which leads to violent crackdowns,” he said.

During a speech on Wednesday in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district, which is home to 38 garment factories, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged garment workers to refrain from striking or risk factories departing for more stable markets.

Dave Welsh, country manager for labour-rights group Solidarity Center/ACILS, said giving provincial authorities more powers seemed to be a step in the right direction.

Welsh said his organisation had been asking the government to give more authorities the power to deal aggressively with factories who had falsely declared themselves bankrupt.

“If owners are fleeing . . . there should be criminal sanctions.”

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said decentralisation should “in theory” speed up the decision-making process when it came to dealing with issues such as workers blocking national roads.

“We often hear [from authorities] that ‘we are waiting for instructions’,” he said. “There will no longer be a need to wait for solutions from the central government."

Additional reporting by Shane Worrell

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all