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Free Trade Union breaks from ally

Free Trade Union breaks from ally

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Free Trade Union president Chea Mony (left) speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh last year. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony (left) speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh last year. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony has announced that his union will leave the Cambodian Confederation of Unions and sever all ties with its long-time ally, the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association.

In a letter to Minister of Labour Vong Sauth, dated June 27 and obtained by the Post yesterday, Mony said the split from CITA, with which it formed the CCU in 2006, was due to policy differences.

“Recently, the activities of CCU has been contrary to the aims and targets of [FTU], which demands our workers’ interests are taken care of and stability is maintained in the textile industry,” the letter states.

“Therefore, [FTU] would like to announce an end to its alliance with CITA and to say it is not under the roof of CCU anymore . . . [whose] actions from now on do not reflect [FTU].”

The government rejected CCU’s application for formal trade-union accreditation last month because some of its members – teachers’ unions – are not covered under the 1997 Labour Law.

CCU, which has been linked in the past to the Sam Rainsy Party, said it had been seeking formal recognition for only four of its seven unions that were covered by the law, which includes FTU.

FTU’s split from CITA and CCU also has a personal element to it – Mony told the Post yesterday that part of the decision came after CITA and CCU president Rong Chhun accused him on a number of occasions of being “weak” in his position, a charge Chhun denies.

“We have never accused [Mony of being weak],” Chhun said yesterday. “We just asked him to follow acceptable procedures in his role.”

Chhun said he was extremely disappointed with the FTU’s decision to sever ties with his union and to leave CCU.

“I don’t know why FTU is saying we are taking a contrary stand to them,” he said. “CCU has not carried out activities for workers that can be considered contrary to FTU’s objectives,” Rong Chhun said.

Mony said FTU’s decision provided an opportunity to reassess how it was serving its workers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

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