Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM urges ministers to end all cases against union leaders

PM urges ministers to end all cases against union leaders

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Sen addresses garment factory workers in Takeo province on Wednesday. The PM urged labour and justice ministers to finish all court cases against union leaders. Photo supplied

PM urges ministers to end all cases against union leaders

Prime Minister Hun Sen urged labour and justice ministers on Wednesday to finish all court cases against union leaders.

Speaking to more than 23,000 factory workers in Takeo province on Wednesday, he told the Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng and Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana to expedite ongoing court cases and to ignore complaints brought against union leaders.

“If you need to try the cases, do it quickly. Otherwise, just ignore or drop them. Don’t make union leaders feel they are hostages to court cases,” he said.

The prime minister also appealed for solidarity among workers, trade unions and factory owners.

He called on employers to ensure freedom for workers and urged workers to refrain from committing criminal offences while exercising their freedom.

“I heard that Moeun Tola had a case in court. When the charge against him was dropped, they welcomed it. So I thought about this. I heard Ath Thon and Yang Sophorn are also facing lawsuits."

“Please review the cases and decide quickly. Otherwise, just drop the charges and ignore the complaints."

“This is the flow of freedom for workers and unions,” he said.

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), which counts 48 factories as its members, said he had seven unresolved complaints at the provincial and municipal courts.

“[What Hun Sen said] is really good because it would give us room to work without fear. We don’t have to be afraid of pressure through the judicial system,” he said.

Ath Thon, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) which represents about 80,000 workers and faces seven complaints at court, welcomed the news.

“I’m happy. We have requested an end of court cases for a long time. I think the government may have just realised that what they had done in the past was a restriction of freedom,” he said.

He urged the government to amend some articles in the trade union laws, which he said restricted the workers’ rights to form unions and hold protests.

Yang Sophorn, the president of the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Union (CATU) who also has eight lawsuits pending trial, held high hopes that Hun Sen’s appeal would translate into practice.

“I want [Hun Sen’s] order to take effect. He should not just give an order and no one implements it. If all cases are solved, I’d be really happy."

“What I am doing is like voluntary work because it is for the benefit of society … to make society a better place where workers’ rights are respected,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Hun Sen’s move was intended to garner workers’ support.

“Our Prime Minister’s leniency for trade unionists is most probably part of his campaign to woo workers’ support."

The timing of the announcement could well overshadow tomorrow’s press conference by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights at the end of her current mission in Cambodia,” he said.

Earlier, when speaking to the workers, Hun Sen also downplayed the European Union’s potential withdrawal of the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the EU market tariff-free, the prime minister also called on workers to preserve peace and refrain from violent protests.

“If you keep moving around [to protest], they will move their factories to other countries with more security. And don’t worry about psychological warfare. Is it [the EBA] lost yet? No, it’s not. Just keep on working,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors