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Report urges Better Factories to do more

Report urges Better Factories to do more

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A worker cuts cloth at a factory owned by Tai Yang Enterprises in July. The factory has been plagued by frequent protests recently. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Better Factories Cambodia must name and shame garment factories that abuse the labour law if it is to transform Cambodia into an ethical sourcing option, a report on the International Labor Organization initiative says.

Better Factories should make monitoring reports public, according to the 10 Years of the Better Factories Cambodia Pro­ject report, released on Thursday by Clean Clothes Campaign and Community Legal Education Center.

“Current reporting per­­for­mances are a glaring step backward from the level of transparency the program started with. Between 2001 and 2006, the BFC did actually publicly report factory names and compliance levels,” the report states.

Although Better Factories has significantly improved factory working conditions during its decade here, its program must be improved if it is to have a lasting effect, the report adds.

Better Factories, which monitors 374 garment factories and nine shoes factories, should also pressure the government to charge factories that break the law, hold international buyers more accountable for working conditions and monitor sub-contractors.

Moeun Tola, president of CLEC, said that because Better Factories’ biannual reports didn’t mention names, employers who were mistreating workers could continue to do so.

“[Better Factories] found 300 cases [of mistreatment] from many factories, but [details] are only in the report back to the factory – not the [public] synthesis report,” he said. “The government is also unaware of these cases.”

Jill Tucker, chief technical adviser of Better Factories Cambodia, said the report had focused on the perspectives of union representatives and workers and had not involved many factory owners. “But I understand [the issues]. I’m not saying we have no more improvement to make, because we do.”

Tucker said factory managers were often visiting Better Factories to undergo training in how to improve their factories.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]
With assistance from Shane Worrell

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