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Wary CNRP wants greater concessions in union law

Wary CNRP wants greater concessions in union law

After yet another review of the controversial draft union law yesterday, the Cambodia National Rescue Party says many gaps still need to be addressed, vowing to abstain from voting if it goes to the National Assembly to be passed in its current form.

On Wednesday, a public forum was held in which unions, employer groups, and both the government and the opposition provided feedback on the latest draft.

The justice committee and a committee relating to labour at the National Assembly agreed to make about half of the suggested changes yesterday, said Labour Minister Ith Samheng. “All the concerns have not been inserted, but many important points have been altered in this draft,” he said, following the review.

The minister said no more amendments would be made as a result of yesterday’s meeting, but it would still be open for debate at the National Assembly prior to a vote on the law, the timing of which would be determined by the National Assembly’s executive committee today.

The CPP holds 67 seats at the National Assembly to the opposition’s 55 and requires only a 50 per cent plus one member quorum in order to pass a law.

CNRP deputy public affairs officer Kem Monovithya said yesterday it was “likely” the opposition would not vote in favour of the law if further amendments were not made.

“Many proposals made by the unions and the ILO were not accepted by the CPP,” she said in a text message. “The CNRP hopes we still have an opportunity to debate this more at the National Assembly.”

Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said he was disappointed that many of the union’s amendments had been ignored and years of debate had failed to yield a just outcome for workers.

“Let the workers determine the fate of the law adopters, who cause negative impacts on their interests, while voting,” he said.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia said they could not comment as they had not yet been made aware of the outcome of yesterday’s meeting.

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