Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment association foresees supreme fight

Garment association foresees supreme fight

Garment association foresees supreme fight

As Cambodia’s lar­gest confederation of unions lobbies the government to curtail the use of  short-term contracts in the garment industry, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia is prepared for one of its members to take the dispute all the way to the Supreme Court, its secretary-general, Ken Loo, said yesterday.

Loo also dismissed allegations that some factories were using short-term contracts to weed out pregnant workers so they could avoid paying maternity leave.

“That’s not true at all,” he said. “The unions have been accusing us of this forever,” he added, saying that if this was happening, the unions could inform GMAC and it would investigate.

“No one has approached us on these matters,” he said, referring as well to allegations that short-term contracts were being used to short-change workers.

At issue is a July 2003 ruling by the Arbitration Council that interpreted two articles of the Labour Law to mean that keeping staff on short-term contracts for longer than two years was illegal.

The ruling, formally objected to by GMAC, ultimately relies on the French-language draft of the law, which the Arbitration Council ruled clearly precludes the use of short-term contracts for more than two years.

Loo said, however, that “the people who helped draft the law are still around, and they have confirmed that the labour ministry’s interpretation of the law is right”.

Previously, he told the Post that GMAC had received two letters from the ministry stating that it was legal to continue using short-term contracts after two years.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon said the CLC had a four-step strategy for curbing the use of short-term contracts, and that the first step had been taken last week. It petitioned the Ministry of Labour as well as the prime minister’s Cabinet to curb the use of short-term contracts.

If the government does not act on its petition the CLC will mobilise its members, seek alliances with non-governmental organisations and international unions, and – if all else fails – stage a massive demonstration in front of the National Assembly, Ath Thon said, adding this would likely occur near the end of this year.

He also said that the issues that prompted the national strike in 2010 had yet to be resolved, and that the next one would be larger.

Ath Thon said “it is becoming more popular [for employers] to use the courts to threaten workers”.

Loo said that GMAC’s members “have been holding back” from using the courts because it was a long and expensive process. The dispute over short-term contracts, however, was an issue that was becoming more serious, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished