Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trade union distances itself from politics

Trade union distances itself from politics

Trade union distances itself from politics

The head of the Free Trade Union, Chea Mony, has refused to endorse the union’s traditional political ally, the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, ahead of July 27 general elections, saying instead that he will not tell his members who they should support.

The move is an abrupt turn-around from the policies of former FTU boss and Mony’s brother, Chea Vichea, who was gunned down in 2004.

“Chea Vichea called for workers to vote for the SRP and that is his legacy,” Mony said.

“I am different from him. I will not appeal for workers to vote for the SRP,” he said, adding though that his union would continue to cooperate with the SRP.

The move could cost Rainsy tens of thousands of votes and diminish what little political leverage he has with the government, according to some analysts.

“Three-hundred thousand workers is a strong force,” said Chea Vannath, former head of the civil society group Center for Social Development.

But Vannath said it was a pragmatic move for the union to distance itself from the opposition leader.

“It is good for Mony not to call for workers to vote for the SRP because it is the workers’ rights to decide who they vote for,” she said.

The head of a second influential trade group, the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA), said earlier this month that, while relations remained good with the SRP, he was not sure whether he would back the opposition leader.

“Last election, seeing that the SRP had good policies for teachers we called for our members to vote for SRP,” said Rong Chhun.

“But now the campaign period has not yet begun. When the election has almost arrived, I will [decide].”

Rainsy said on May 9 that he was happy at what he called the FTU’s “newfound independence,” which he said gave it more credibility.

“We have to show that unions are independent,” he said.

“We must recognize and respect the independence of unions. They do not have to be affiliated to a political party. This is good for unions and good for parties.”

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh