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Trade union bill changes passed

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The Council of Ministers approved draft amendments to 10 articles of the Law on Trade Unions without modification on Friday. hun sen facebook page

Trade union bill changes passed

The Council of Ministers approved draft amendments to 10 articles of the Law on Trade Unions without modification on Friday, leaving some unions disappointed and claiming that the majority of their suggestions had not been included.

Articles 3, 17, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, 54, 55 and 59 of the Law on Trade Unions are now set to be amended, following their approval at the plenary session of the Council of Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday.

However, some unions expressed disappointment after having requested that the government include their input to improve the situation in the garment sector.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said on Sunday that it was a positive step for the government to make amendments to the trade union law, because some articles had limitations and presented obstacles to unions and workers.

But he said the government had only accepted a small portion of the unions’ suggestions.

“The Council of Ministers decided to convene a meeting to approve the draft law so it could send it to the National Assembly, but I don’t think there has been enough changes – it's minimal at best.

‘‘So, if the National Assembly approves the law in its current state, I think its implementation will face challenges because not much has changed,” he said.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said no changes were made at the Council of Ministers because the institution generally toes the government line.

‘‘There is usually little change to laws proposed by the government, despite demands from civil society organisations and unions,” he said.

Thorn said only a small amount of the unions’ proposals had been incorporated into the draft law that would now reach the National Assembly.

“Out of 15 articles that the unions proposed amending, we see only 10 have been amended by the Council of Ministers.

‘‘So, there was no change to the other five articles, and in the 10 articles that have been amended, less than 10 per cent of suggestions put forward by the unions’ side were accepted. But at least there has been some change,” he said.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Sunday that now that the Council of Ministers had approved the draft amendments to 10 articles of the Law on Trade Unions, the ministry would send the bill to the National Assembly for review and approval.

In response to expressions of disappointment by some unions, Sour said: “About two dozen unions were involved, and the majority of them applauded and accepted the progress we have made. But all individuals are free to express their views.”

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