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Minister ‘too busy’ to sit down with unions

Minister ‘too busy’ to sit down with unions

The Ministry of Labour yesterday postponed a planned Wednesday sit-down with the leaders of five union groups participating in a nationwide garment worker strike, saying Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng is too busy.

Signed by the ministry's Secretary of State Oum Mean, the brief notice was sent to Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn, Free Trade Union (FTU) president Chea Mony, Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina, National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC) president Morm Nhim and Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn.

“The minister is busy on January 8, so we delayed the meeting without setting a new date,” Vong Sovann, deputy secretary general of the ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, told the Post.

Before the Labour Ministry’s postponement of the meeting, FTU president Mony released a statement saying his union would not participate, out of concern that government officials may pursue charges against union leaders.

“FTU will not join the meeting with Ministry of Labour … because the result will be useless if anyone among five leaders [invited] face a court case,” the statement says.

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