The International Labour Organization (ILO) urged the government in a recent report to do more to protect trade unions, while at the same time teaming up with a local business lobby group that released a report last week calling for their dismantling.
In a report released last month based on the findings of legal experts who examined the application of ILO conventions in the region, the organisation urged the government to “take all the necessary measures, in the very near future, to ensure that trade union rights of workers are fully respected and that trade unionists are able to engage in their activities in a climate free of intimidation and risk”.
At a press conference last week, CAMFEBA president Van Sou Ieng said that having 3,000 trade unions for 600 factories was freedom of association “to the extreme”.
When asked about the relationship between CAMFEBA and the ILO – which have recently been at odds over the fundamental right to strike – ILO senior specialist on employers’ activities Gary Rynhart said CAMFEBA’s report was “very much a joint effort, it was a partnership … over the last 18 months.”
But yesterday the ILO’s Decent Work team regional director Maurizio Bussi said the ILO doesn’t “make any endorsement of the CAMFEBA report”.
“We didn’t work together.… On the basis of [ILO-collected information], CAMFEBA independently presented [its report].”
In its report, the ILO notes that “freedom of association can only be exercised in a climate that is free from violence, pressure or threats of any kind against leaders and members of workers’ organizations”.