Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New pact targets child labour




New pact targets child labour

Workers attach brand tags to items of clothing
Workers attach brand tags to items of clothing earlier this year in Phnom Penh. A new agreement will be signed today to monitor child labour in Cambodia’s garment industry. Vireak Mai

New pact targets child labour

An agreement regarding child labour in garment factories that will be signed today spells out specific consequences for hiring minors, while also saying that only buyers, garment manufacturers and the government will be notified of cases of child labour in factories.

“Confirmed child labour only is reported to [the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC)], factory buyers, and the Minister of Labour,” reads the protocol that is part of the Agreement on Child Labour Protection.

Janika Simon from Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) said yesterday the condition means BFC will not sound alarms every time they find a case of child labour.

“That would mean that every time we found one, we would have to go to the public,” Simon said.

The agreement, which is scheduled to be signed by BFC and GMAC officials this afternoon, reinforces previous laws and memoranda of understanding, while also dictating the reporting processes
and monitoring.

“We want BFC to only report confirmed cases [to buyers],” GMAC deputy secretary general Kaing Monika said yesterday. “We have information from some of our members that BFC notified a buyer and there were consequences, such as the buyer stopping orders.”

Also under the agreement, if BFC monitors suspect a factory employee to be under the age of 15 – the Kingdom’s legal minimum working age for “light duties” and reduced hours – they must first ask the employer. If the employer denies or is unsure, BFC must complete a field investigation – where they must find documentation of the person’s age.

If the employee is found to be underage, the factory or GMAC will be responsible for the investigation’s cost – estimated at $1,125. If no documentation confirming the worker was underage when hired is found, BFC will pay.

Also, if the employee is under 15, the factory is responsible for removing the child from the workplace and paying the wages he or she would have earned working for the factory, as well as education or vocational training fees, until the child turns 15, the agreement says.

George Yoshimoto of shoe giant ASICS, which is a buyer from Wing Star Shoes, where an underage worker was killed last year, said in an email that underage labour is a problem in Cambodia. “The underage worker issue is not [an] uncommon challenge in Cambodia and ASIwCS is working with the factories and ILO Better Factories Cambodia to prevent such cases.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia