Draft Labor Law Must Be Dropped: Cambodia Union Leaders

Union leaders are asking the Cambodia Royal Government and National Assembly to suspend adoption of a pending trade union law because of restrictions it would place on the freedom to form unions, collectively bargain and strike.

Following a strategy meeting today chaired by the International Trade Union Confederation Cambodia Coordinating Council, a dozen union leaders issued a joint statement calling on parliament to accept the group’s 17 previously submitted proposals. Unions want to see the draft labor law expanded to cover domestic workers, civil servants, state employees and informal economy workers, and seek more protections for the right to form unions and bargain collectively, in accordance with international labor standards.

The law “visibly restricts” worker rights that are recognized by the International Labor Organization (ILO), including the freedoms to form unions and bargain collectively, the unions said in a statement released at a press conference following their meeting.

The unions added that is essential to align Cambodian law with the international conventions it has ratified, including ILO conventions, as well as for promoting “the interests of all the workers and society, as well as our next generation.”

Union leaders have met several times with members of the Special Committee of the Parliament in charge of drafting the law, but say their detailed responses and recommendations have not been seriously considered.