Representatives of more than 20 unions met yesterday to compile recommendations on changes to the draft law on unions so they can submit them jointly to the Ministry of Labour before the draft is sent to the Council of Ministers, the Cambodian Union Coordination Council said yesterday.
Rong Chhun, secretary of the Cambodian Union Coordination Council, said union members would continue discussions today to review the changes the ministry had made to the latest draft, the fourth, and identify additional changes they want made. Following today’s meeting they will issue a joint statement, Rong Chhun said.
Minister of Commerce Cham Praseth said on Tuesday that the government had removed penalties in the previous draft that could have seen unionists jailed and lessened financial penalties. That draft drew harsh criticism from civil society, particularly provisions that allowed jail sentences of up to three months, and fines of up to 10 million riel, for unionists found to have forced members to join their union.
David Welsh, counry director for the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, described the penalities as “outrageous”, but added that the government have been “responsive to changes”.
Sath Samuth, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, said yesterday the ministry was waiting for more discussions with unions and civil society organisations before preparing a fifth draft of the law that would be sent to the Council of Ministers.
“We integrated requested changes and corrected many parts. Now, officials are continuing to discuss the draft,” he added.
The draft law contains 17 chapters detailing the rights of workers and employers.