Prime Minister Hun Sen has reiterated calls for trade unions, factory owners and workers' representatives to settle disputes as early as possible through the participation of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities, should any disputes arise.

“If a dispute occurs, it needs to be settled quickly. Don’t leave it too long and do not harbour it. Trade unions, along with factory owners and workers' representatives, should make efforts to resolve it with the participation of the labour ministry and local authorities.  Only a win-win principle can avoid the dispute ending up in the courts,” he said.

While meeting with nearly 20,000 workers at the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on May 26, Hun Sen noted that some factory owners had escaped without paying compensation to workers.

“Therefore, it is sometimes better to find short-term solutions rather than wait for a court ruling to be made,” he said.

“I have always given advances on compensation to the labour ministry, pending a court decision. In some cases, the factories have been auctioned to pay for the compensation, but the sale could not cover the cost,” he added.

He explained that in such instances, it was the government who accepted the loss, not the workers.

“To make it clear, when factory owners run away, we pay the compensation, often for more than we get back by auctioning their abandoned businesses,” he said.