Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Universal minimum wage law drops contentious punitive measures



Universal minimum wage law drops contentious punitive measures

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Government, employer and union representatives attend a consultation meeting on the draft universal minimum wage law in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. Pha Lina

Universal minimum wage law drops contentious punitive measures

A recent draft of the universal minimum wage law handed to unions and employers on Tuesday saw the removal of controversial clauses written into earlier versions that penalised individuals for protesting or putting pressure on the wage determination process.

The draft law looks to bring other labour sectors under the minimum wage umbrella, which is currently reserved only for garment and footwear workers. However, the draft has been met with criticism for potentially stifling unions’ rights to assembly and association.

Articles 25 and 26, for instance, imposed fines on anyone putting “obstacles” or “illegal pressure” on the wage determination process and for protesting the determined wage, respectively. The two articles were missing from the latest draft of the law, released on Tuesday.

Unions and labour rights groups, who had raised concerns over the articles, welcomed the removal of the two clauses, which they maintained infringed on workers’ right to assembly.

“There are some positive improvements in the latest draft that reflect trade unions’ concerns on critical articles relating to administrative actions and penalties, with articles 25 and 26 now being abolished,” said Khun Tharo, senior program officer at the labour rights group Solidarity Center.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Tharo said that minor changes to the wording of 10 other articles were proposed at Tuesday’s meeting, but the ministry said this would be the final draft. Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng had said in January that all parties had already agreed to a final draft, which ended up being revised.

Late last year, the Labour Ministry also scrapped another contentious article that would have forbidden any independent research into the annual wage negotiation process without prior approval from the ministry.

Employer representative Sok Lor said stakeholders seemed to accept the current draft, which still contains some penalties for employers for violating sections of the law, including the requirement to pay the minimum wage.

“We are still discussing this today [Tuesday] and we don’t want to comment yet as there may be some more changes or improvements” he said.

Sok Kin, president of construction union Building and Wood Workers Trade Union of Cambodia, said two other articles allowing for punishments for questioning the criteria used to determine the minimum wage did not worry unions.

“We had asked for 11 changes and the ministry has removed two articles. But we are okay with the other articles because they do not concern us,” he said.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour did not respond to a request for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration