Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - At government rally, all proceeds smoothly

At government rally, all proceeds smoothly

A banner hangs on Koh Pich Exhibition Center during a government Labour Day event yesterday in Phnom Penh
A banner hangs on Koh Pich Exhibition Center during a government Labour Day event yesterday in Phnom Penh. Scott Howes

At government rally, all proceeds smoothly

While workers and opposition supporters marched to mark Labour Day yesterday, and baton-wielding district security guards enforced a ban on gatherings, a very different, uninterrupted rally took place at the capital’s Koh Pich Exhibition Center.

About 2,000 workers from pro-government unions and government officials heard Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng call for talks to raise the minimum wage – a key demand of workers protesting yesterday.

“It is their [workers’] right to act to show their opinion, but some activities to demand higher wages are not acceptable. It is only through negotiation with each other can we find the best resolution,” he said.

Also at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An said the government was trying to please investors and keep factories from shutting down.

“We have to keep investors investing in our country and avoid strikes,” she said.

She added the government “often pays attention” to workers’ calls for wage rises and improving conditions, including instituting a higher minimum wage.

But Chak Sopheap, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said yesterday’s violence elsewhere in the city was a “very sad moment”.

“The government again showed not only the international community but also its own citizens that they can’t rely on them,” she said. “If they argue the crackdown is for investors, what about the citizens? They do nothing to harm investment. Yesterday’s violence showed they are not serious about their promises.”

Sam Heng also announced at the rally that his ministry had met with Thai officials and selected three provinces where offices will be built to act as a “one-stop shop” for migrant workers heading to Thailand to apply for working visas, a move the government says will protect migrants.

Countless Cambodians travel to Thailand every year for seasonal work, usually without proper legal documents, leaving them vulnerable to abuse.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be