Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour has called on international buyers to continue purchasing products from Cambodia to help improve workers’ living standards and working conditions.
Sour was speaking at a workshop under the theme “Developing joint plans for sustainability of compliance with laws in the sectors of garment, textile, footwear and travel goods and handbags”.
The workshop was hosted by International Labour Organisation – Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. Participants included representatives from ministries, institutions, national and international organisations, trade unions, factories and enterprises in the sectors of garments, footwear, travel goods and handbags. International buyers were also present.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post that the participants discussed plans to boost compliance with the labour law and international working standards.
“The labour ministry and GMAC are of the same view that ensuring the sustainability of compliance with the labour law and international working standards is what we need to promote.
“We informed buyers that they have to continue supporting Cambodia. So, when we get full support from buyers, we have a good industry that is stable. It is also a factor helping recreate the sustainability of compliance with the labour law and international working standards,” he said.
Monika said the discussion involved buyers helping to support Cambodia by buying sufficient goods from factories.
Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) president Ath Thorn said it was normal that labour ministry officials request buyers to continue buying goods from Cambodia.
“It is for safety and protecting workers. In order to support this process, the government requested buyers continue buying goods and support Cambodia in its strategy,” he said.
Thorn said discussion at the workshop focused on Covid-19 and its serious effect on the garment, textile and footwear sectors.
He said the EU’s 20 per cent withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme did not affect the sectors seriously.
According to statistics from the labour ministry, since the emergence of the pandemic, 69 factories suspended work and 130 companies closed their doors, leaving 70,000 workers out of jobs.
Last year, Cambodia had 1,730 factories, of which 1,069 were for manufacturing garment, textile, footwear and travel goods, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.