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Businesses want say in union law talks

CPP Pen Panha talks during a meteing with the CNRP over the trade union law at the National Assembly
CPP Pen Panha talks during a meteing with the CNRP over the trade union law at the National Assembly Heng Chivoan

Businesses want say in union law talks

Employers have requested to meet with a bipartisan committee reviewing the draft trade union law in a bid to air their own concerns about the controversial legislation.

So far, the joint committee has only addressed unions’ concerns about the law threatening their freedom to organise – the purpose for which it was initially established.

But employers, who consider some of the law’s provisions too lenient on union registration requirements, now want a say as well.

The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA) has sent a letter to the heads of both the ruling and opposition parties’ sides of the committee asking for an appointment, according to Sandra D’Amico, the body’s vice president.

“We wish to ensure that employers’ views are also heard and raised to the committee,” D’Amico wrote in an email.

Employers have been particularly active against a concession made in July towards unions which reduced the number of people needed to create a local union from 20 per cent of a factory to just 10 people.

Owners decried the concession, saying it would result in multiple unions jostling for power on the shop floor.

The first meeting of the joint committee on Monday reduced requirements for union federations and confederations but left standards for local unions untouched.

D’Amico wrote the concession “remains a challenge in the current law which does not address Cambodia’s specific peculiarities and challenges in industrial relations”.

D’Amico declined to say when the letter was sent, but said she expected a response “in the next week or so”.

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