Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mum’s the word at yearly brand forum

Mum’s the word at yearly brand forum

Mum’s the word at yearly brand forum

Cambodia's biggest international garment brands met yesterday to discuss wage issues, strikes and worker conditions, among other of the industry’s most pressing topics.

But in a year marked by a fatal building collapse at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu, mass demonstrations, and bankruptcies that have seen brands’ names dragged through the headlines, participants were unusually tight-lipped, while the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia – which organised the forum – repeatedly shooed away reporters attempting to speak with brand representatives.

The forum, which rotates between Cambodia and Vietnam each year, began in 2011. Brand representatives along with government officials and workers’ rights advocates attend two days of closed-door sessions where they discuss the pressing issues of the day.

Though members of the media have never been allowed inside the meetings, they have, at past conferences, been allowed to stand outside the meeting rooms and speak with attendees. At yesterday’s meeting, a BFC representative repeatedly asked reporters to leave Raffles Hotel Le Royal, where the event was held, telling them they should go through “the proper channels” rather than speaking to attendees.

After refusing, one Post reporter was subsequently instructed by hotel staff to leave.

Jill Tucker, BFC’s chief technical adviser, could not be reached for comment after the day’s sessions.

Earlier in the day, union officials and workers’ rights advocates spent two hours telling the group of some 60 representatives about what they see as the most pressing issues in Cambodia’s garment industry – which accounts for about 80 per cent of the Kingdom’s exports.

David Welsh, country director for Solidarity Centre/ACILS, said discussions largely revolved around continuing problems including low wages and factory owners’ unwillingness to collectively bargain with employees, often resulting in strikes.

“We’ve been talking about these issues for five or six years,” Welsh said. “It’s not rocket science.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,