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Thousands march on International Labour Day


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MORE than 3,000 people paraded through the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday to deliver a strong message on International Labour Day.

Police cleared about three kilometers of road as members of the Cambodian Labour Confederation and supporters, all wearing green t-shirts, marched across town from near the Cambodia Development Council to the National Assembly.

Demonstrators handed out leaflets to bystanders along the route, highlighting a number of requests that were contained in a CLC letter addressed to the National Assembly.

Ath Thorn, president of CLC, said the letter set out 10 points that aim to improve workers’ rights and job security throughout the Kingdom. The document called for the government to reject the current NGO draft law and also requested an increase in monthly pay for workers in the garment, construction and tourism sectors, a reduction in the price of petrol and the creation of a labour court, among other points.

A press release published yesterday on behalf of 23 local and international unions and NGOs also requested governments to increase the minimum wage across Asia to US$172.50 per month.

Participant Chhun Lida, 26, a garment worker, said that her employer denied the rights of workers and the demands of her union. She said that workers wanted employers to respect the law.

While Cheam Yeab, Cambodian People Party lawmaker, said the current system in place does not mean that the government does not want to improve wages for workers. He added that unions and interest groups were using workers to gain momentum against the NGO draft law.

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