Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unions talk draft with parties

Unions talk draft with parties

Union officials attend a meeting about the controversial trade union law yesterday at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh.
Union officials attend a meeting about the controversial trade union law yesterday at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Unions talk draft with parties

Trade unions yesterday concluded meetings with Cambodia’s two main political parties about the draft trade union law as the parties tentatively gear up to hash out the controversial legislation this week.

A working group was announced earlier this month composed of five members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and another five from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to address criticisms from unions that the law, which has yet to pass parliament, would dramatically reduce their freedom to organise.

Pen Panha, head of the CPP’s wing of the group, told reporters the CPP had met yesterday with some 33 trade unions at the National Assembly.

“We may set December 31 as the date for the meeting between the special working groups from the CPP and CNRP to discuss the issues raised by the trade unions,” he said.

“We collected their ideas to discuss them later.”

Trade unions also held a similar meeting in parliament on Monday with the CNRP.

Son Chhay, head of the CNRP’s wing of the working group, confirmed the meet, throwing his weight behind the unions’ criticisms of the law.

“The ideas of the trade unions are grounded in law and we collected and supported them,” he said.

Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said that the law remained riddled with clauses that would reduce unions’ freedom of assembly.

He specifically cited requirements for trade unions to report their finances to the government, minimum requirements for the number of people to create a union, and a minimum quorum of 50 per cent plus one member for a union to decide to go on strike.

“We hope that the CPP and CNRP will remove some articles of the draft law that we are concerned about,” said Thorn.

“We requested 12 points.”

While the CNRP has already shown signs it backs the unions’ criticisms, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan told reporters the CPP had made no such decision yet, although he defended the financial reporting requirements.

“The government’s restrictions are there because we want to make sure there is no money from terrorists or money laundering flowing due to weaknesses,” he said.

“We made the law in order to strengthen rule of law, democracy, and ensure political stability and public order – it is not aimed at restrictions.”

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