Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's factories improving, report finds

Cambodia's factories improving, report finds

Employees manufacture items of apparel last year at a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, where multiple faintings have occurred due to high temperatures on the factory floor.
Employees manufacture items of apparel last year at a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, where multiple faintings have occurred due to high temperatures on the factory floor. Kimberley McCosker

Cambodia's factories improving, report finds

The latest Better Factories Cambodia report has found that 47 per cent of 381 assessed factories complied with its most important working conditions – up from 28 per cent in 2014.

The 33rd Synthesis Report, released on Friday and covering the May 2015 to April 2016 period, assessed the garment and footwear factories’ compliance against eight broad categories – including occupational safety and health, compensation and worker contracts – which were further divided into 33 sub-categories.

“While an increase of some compliance levels is a positive signal for the garment industry and their workers, there is also a need for further improvement in common areas of non-compliance that are indicated in the report,” ILO-BFC program manager Esther Germans said in a press release.

The top 10 areas of non-compliance – those with upwards of 60 per cent of factories failing to meet the goals set – remained largely unchanged. Those included requirements such as the selection of shop stewards, a functioning HIV/AIDS committee and medical examinations for workers prior to hiring.

However, more factories were holding regular evacuation drills, had unlocked emergency exits and could boast no worker discrimination.

The number of confirmed cases of child labour had also dropped from 65 in 2013, to 28 in 2014 and 16 in 2015.

Ken Loo, secretary-general for the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said part of the non-compliance was because the assessment had been expanded to be more in line with the global Better Work program, which added new criteria.

“There cannot be 100 per cent compliance,” he said. “This is because of the way the BFC has reported on certain items [this time].”

He questioned whether certain criteria, such as light levels in factories, were judged not in compliance because the technical criteria were too high. “You should ask the BFC,” he said.

William Conklin, country director at labour advocacy NGO Solidarity Center, said another area of high non-compliance was the use of fixed-term contracts for workers, which weren’t being transferred to undetermined duration employment contracts after two years of employment.

“This is because it gives factories labour flexibility to get rid of workers or to downsize their staff,” he added.

He added that high rates of non-compliance could be attributed to the low investment in the sector because investors weren’t exactly in Cambodia for “development of its garment sector”.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea