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Unions plan protests ahead of vote on law

Union leader Ath Thorn holds a petition against the draft union law outside the National Assembly late last year.
Union leader Ath Thorn holds a petition against the draft union law outside the National Assembly late last year. Heng Chivoan

Unions plan protests ahead of vote on law

Cambodia's independent labour unions decided yesterday to mobilise ahead of the scheduled April 4 vote on the contentious draft trade union law, with demonstrations planned across 130 factories on Sunday, followed by a protest outside the National Assembly on the day of the vote.

Buoyed by a flurry of international support over the past month, independent unions say they will get members to hold posters, banners and stickers opposing the proposed law at their respective factories, with a bigger peaceful protest planned for April 4.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said kicking off this “solidarity campaign” could result in pushback from the government or authorities, who may feel compelled to respond.

“This may possibly happen, so we have to be ready and prepared [for retaliation],” Sina added.

According to Sina, there was a slim chance the government could cave in to growing local and international pressure to change sections of the law.

However, Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union president Ath Thorn, said that even if changes were being considered, it was unlikely the government would slip them in ahead of the vote.

“I am not very positive about them involving us before the National Assembly adopts the law,” he said. “But perhaps they will consider it after they adopt and implement it.”

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