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Workers protest ahead of draft union law vote

Workers protest ahead of draft union law vote

Independent unions and NGOs staged low-key demonstrations at factories in several provinces yesterday in opposition to the draft trade union law, which is due to go to the National Assembly next week.

Workers with banners, posters and stickers protested at 100 factories and union offices in Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces as well as Phnom Penh, according to Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

At a strategy meeting last week, independent unions and NGOs planned the factory-level demonstrations as part of the lead-up to a bigger protest scheduled to take place outside the National Assembly on the day of the vote on Friday, April 4.

“Today, we had support from unions across different sectors, including construction, tourism and garment workers,” Thorn said. “They are trying to convince the government to rethink the law and delay its adoption.”

He said the authorities and owners at a few factories were curious about yesterday’s 20-minute demonstrations – held during workers’ break time – but there was no violence or retaliation.

“When they saw the demonstrations they just asked – what are you doing here?” he added.

Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn said her union did not participate in yesterday’s protests but would hold similar demonstrations across 31 factories.

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