Lawmaker to Seek Labor Minister’s Explanation

The chairwoman of the National Assembly’s commission on social work and labor will call on Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng to explain his inaction over securing paid leave for workers around the June 4 elections, following a request from one of the country’s biggest unions, the chair said on Wednesday.

The Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) sent a letter on Monday addressed to Ke Sovannaroth, a CNRP lawmaker and the commission’s chair, and it was accepted by the Assembly on Tuesday, FTUWKC vice president Mann Senghak said.

cam photo garment hawkins KHMER
Striking workers stand outside the gates of the Southland garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Choam Chao commune last week to heckle workers leaving for the day. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

Days before the June 4 vote, the Labor Ministry called on companies to “find a compromise” to help employees travel home to vote, but rights activists complained that the statement was weaker than in previous election years.

FTUWKC’s letter asks Mr. Sam Heng “to explain before the National Assembly concerning…[inaction over] a holiday while maintaining salary and benefits, and not intervening with garment employers…to provide loans” to help workers travel to vote.

Ms. Sovannaroth said she had not yet received the letter, but would set a date to call upon Mr. Sam Heng when she did.

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