Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng has asked international development partners, especially the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to continue assisting the Kingdom’s labour sector as a response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He emphasised that Cambodia’s 50-year membership of the ILO had made great achievements through collaboration on numerous schemes.
Sam Heng made the request at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference, which was held under the theme Jobs for a Bright Future in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.
He said Cambodia was the first country to have successfully implemented the ILO’s Better Factories programme (ILO-BFC), which had improved the livelihood of workers in the garment, textile and footwear sector by meeting international trade requirements for working conditions.
“It is Cambodia’s pride that ILO-BFC has already been implemented in some provinces,” Sam Heng said.
He said Cambodia was currently implementing the fifth stage of the Decent Work Programme for Cambodia 2019-2023.
He said the Kingdom has ratified the ILO’s eight core conventions and incorporated these provisions into the national law.
Sam Heng said the government established a national committee In 2017 to review the implementation of the International Labour Convention.
He said Cambodia is also recognised as a leader in expanding social protection through the development of a national social protection framework under which a pension system for workers is set to be introduced later this year.
At the conference, the minister requested that international development partners, especially the ILO, continue to assist in developing Cambodia’s labour and vocational training sectors in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“While some sectors have already been updating their technology in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Cambodia believes that all parties involved will join us in devising measures and finding solutions to the challenges that may arise in the labour market,” Sam Heng said.
At the same time, he supports the recommendations contained in the Global Commission on the Future of Work’s report – Work for a Brighter Future – which focuses on the development of human resources.
Sam Heng said he also expects the ILO to continue to play an important role in transforming the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution into opportunities for a bright future for everyone.
ILO national coordinator Tun Sophorn said the ILO would sign a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia to continue cooperation for another five years from 2019-2023.
“We continue to support the promotion of quality employment by providing skills, employment and entrepreneurship. We also want to extend social protection to those in the informal economy to enable them to access services such as health and employment insurance,” he said.
Sophorn said the ILO’s key focus in Cambodia is vocational training because it is related to the future of work, in line with the advancement of technology.
“We have just formulated plans to implement the 2017-2025 national policy on technical and vocational training,” he said.
The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union president Ath Thorn, who had just returned from the conference, said on Sunday that Cambodia’s proposal was valid because the ILO had helped formulate the principles, labour laws and working standards in the Kingdom.
“Cambodia really needs the assistance of the ILO and its partners, as the country faces political, economic and work-related challenges, so we need partners to contribute to the nation’s future development,” he said.