Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Brands ‘violating contract rights’



Brands ‘violating contract rights’

Brands ‘violating contract rights’

Exclusive use of short-term contracts continues to impede progress in Cambodia’s garment sector, with major brands still sourcing from factories violating the statutory two-year limit on temporary employment, labour rights groups have warned.

According to a report released last week by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), the widespread practice of employing regular, full-time staff under fixed-duration contracts (FDCs) is partly responsible for the unrest that has marred the sector.

“The Cambodian garment industry’s shift to FDCs as its standard employment arrangement helped set the stage for this crisis,” it says, alluding to a spate of strikes that culminated in deadly clashes in January.

The report urges brands and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to heed a WRC-commissioned report from 2011, which called for FDCs to be given only to temporary staff.

According to a 2012-2013 WRC survey of 127 Cambodian factories, which supply to buyers including H&M and Puma, most plant owners employ most or all of their workers on FDCs.

“It is the biggest illegality [in the garment industry] and all brands, factories [and] GMAC are well aware of it,” Dave Welsh, country director of Solidarity Center, said.

FDCs are used against union leaders, women in need of maternity leave and to avoid paying seniority bonuses, he said.

In the report, the WRC said GMAC has gone to “reckless and high-handed” efforts to expand the use of short-term contracts, having “adopted the position that the law allows unlimited serial use of FDCs”.

“[GMAC] has attempted to undermine the country’s leading industrial dispute resolution body [the Arbitration Council],” the report said. By doing so, GMAC “sabotages efforts” to improve labour relations in the garment sector “in order to overturn existing legal jurisprudence on use of FDCs”.

Ken Loo, GMAC secretary-general, said he would support the Arbitration Council’s ruling on FDCs if it was handed down by a court.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF