Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amendments to Law on Trade Unions passes NA unchanged

Amendments to Law on Trade Unions passes NA unchanged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved the draft law on amendments to 10 articles of the Law on Trade Unions without making any changes – a move that some unions said failed to address workers’ concerns. National Assembly via Facebook

Amendments to Law on Trade Unions passes NA unchanged

The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved the draft law on amendments to 10 articles of the Law on Trade Unions without making any changes – a move that some unions said failed to address workers’ concerns.

Reading a prepared statement during the plenary session attended by 107 lawmakers, government representatives said the law was amended at the request of all stakeholders including employers, unions and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The law, they said, is in line with the international conventions that Cambodia had ratified.

According to the statement, unions and other relevant parties requested an amendment to the law so that it better promoted workers’ rights to freedom of association and corresponded to current social and economic development.

To that end, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said the government had formed a legal working group to formulate a draft law on amendments to Articles 3, 17, 20, 21, 27-29, 54, 55 and 59 of the law.

“[The law] eases procedures for union registration. For Cambodian workers, the new Articles 20 and 21 no longer require them to declare their education level before registration or require them to at least be able to read and write Khmer.

“For foreign workers/employees and employers who wish to hold managerial or administrative positions in a professional association or union, they are no longer required to declare beforehand that they have been cleared of a conviction for a misdemeanour or a felony.

“[The law] eases procedures for maintaining union registration by not requiring them to submit reports of their activities and finance to the ministry in charge of labour.

“But [the ministry] has an obligation to audit these reports in case there is a request from any member or donor as stipulated in the new Articles 17 and 27.

“The law also eases procedures for the dissolution of a union or professional association. It is automatically dissolved in case an enterprise or establishment where it is based closes down and has paid wages and other benefits for workers/employees as stipulated in the new Article 28,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after the bill was passed, Sam Heng said it will offer better protection for workers.

“We have made a lot of efforts. This amendment is based on the request of both unions and other relevant parties. It cannot satisfy all parties, but at least it is much better than before,” he said.

The same statement said the draft law is key to ensuring the rights and freedom of professional associations, and in implementing the government’s policy of linking international trade to working conditions, which will help promote competition and attract investment.

That, the statement said, will, in turn, create jobs for workers/employees and showed the government’s commitment to promoting labour rights of workers/employees in line with international standards.

The statement said as of September this year, a total of 1,692 professional organisations had been registered with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training. Among them, 1,566 were local unions, 106 were union federations, 15 were union confederations and five were employer associations.

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the government had not fully accepted input from unions. He said the new law still poses challenges for unions as there were not many changes to it.

“The amendment made to this trade union law did not follow our input. So this law still causes as many obstacles as before because its content was not changed. Only spelling and wording had been changed, nothing else.

“The law does not serve the interests of workers as it reduces the power of workers and unions that represent them,” he said.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old