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‘Change to labour law could hurt workers’

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Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said the private sector has been confronted with competition from other exporting countries and the government is cooperating to find a common solution. The Ministry of Labour

‘Change to labour law could hurt workers’

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training met with employer and union representatives on Monday to continue discussions on draft amendments to the Labour Law.

Union representatives said the amendment would hurt workers.

About 80 officials and representatives participated in the meeting at the Office of the Ministry of Labour.

Its minister Ith Sam Heng said the private sector has been confronted with competition from other exporting countries and the government is cooperating to find a common solution.

Sam Heng said the goal was to ensure the private sector continues to excel and can find ways to maintain sustainable production.

He said the government issued sharp reforms in March last year to prioritise the private sector and encourage economic diversification.

Sam Heng said his ministry established a working group to study the possibility of amending the Labour Law to conform to the economic and social context.

The ministry created a tripartite working group consisting of government officials and representatives of employers and employees to discuss amendments to the Labour Law and encourage social conversations on the matter.

Priority was given to increasing production and keeping in line with Cambodia’s socio-economic development.

President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) Ath Thorn participated in the meeting on Monday and said the proposed amendments to the Labour Law signify a crucial loss of benefits for workers.

He said the amendment would reduce workers’ night shift pay from an addition of 130 per cent of their wages to just 100 per cent. In the past, Thorn said night shift workers received 200 per cent additional pay.

The amendment would also reduce public holidays for workers, he said.

Furthermore, the amendment would give more power to employers in dispute resolutions because they could choose to solve issues through the court or arbitration, he said.

Thorn believes the amendment will create an environment where most of the victims are workers. “I see the government so far has helped the employers a lot, so there should not be a loss of benefits for workers,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there will be two more meetings in August.

Sam Heng said he believed the tripartite working group would find an appropriate resolution which would ensure the creation of jobs and protect the income of workers in the context of Covid-19.

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