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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and