The International Labour Organisation (ILO) – in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the NGO Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW) – will organise a workshop on dispute resolution mechanisms for government officials, trade unions and civil society organisations in three provinces.

“The programme will focus on the fishing and seafood processing industries,” said a May 1 social media announcement by Sok Sambo, national programme coordinator for the EU-funded Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia Progamme.

He added that ILO, the labour ministry and LSCW will conduct the sessions in Pursat, Banteay Meanchey and Koh Kong provinces, where many migrant workers in these industries originate.

He explained that under the EU-funded ship to shore programme, the ILO aims to assist workers so they can migrate safely and obtain decent work in the fishing and seafood processing industries.

“This training will expand access to justice and remedies for migrant workers and their families who experience labour rights abuses,” added Sambo.

“We are aware that there is more work to do in ensuring effective enforcement so that migrants have practical access to redress,” said labour ministry secretary of state Hou Vudthy.

“This series of trainings provides an excellent opportunity for key stakeholders at the provincial level to better understand the dispute resolution process for migrant workers. A lot of progress has been made in putting in place responsive mechanisms to resolve their grievances in Cambodia,” he added.

ILO national coordinator Tun Sophorn said that within key destination countries, major work deficits remain for Cambodian migrant workers employed in the two sectors, although recent ILO research had showed some improvements in working conditions.

“Severe labour rights abuses have also been found to persist. These include contract substitution, retention of identification documents, debt bondage, excessive working hours, wage theft, violence and harassment and forced labour,” he said.

According to the UN, data suggests that there are more than 1.1 million Cambodian migrants working abroad, and thousands more are known to be employed precariously, without legal status. Many of these migrant workers are employed in primary industry jobs, including in the fishing and seafood processing sectors.

The Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia Programme is a multi-country, multi-annual initiative of the UN and EU. It was implemented by the ILO, in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).