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Official bats away Union Law concerns

Demonstrators hold signs opposing the trade union law at a protest outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh earlier this year.
Demonstrators hold signs opposing the trade union law at a protest outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Hong Menea

Official bats away Union Law concerns

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour in a radio interview on Tuesday refuted criticism that the controversial Trade Union Law burdened unions with cumbersome regulations, claiming the law was merely a continuation of existing policies.

On Tuesday, unions and rights group met to review the now six-month-old legislation and called on the government to ease the bureaucratic burdens, which they said hindered their right to organise on the factory floor.

Speaking to RFI, however, Sour maintained the law was simply an encapsulation of existing sections of the Labour Law, prakases and sub-decrees, and had actually eased regulations for union formation and ensured protection of workers’ rights.

“If you ask those who want to work outside legal boundaries, they could feel that this law is stricter. But in reality, the base of this law is from the old Labour Law,” Sour said.

Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, disagreed with Sour, saying increased documentary requirements to form a new union had curtailed workers’ ability to organise freely.

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