In Cambodia, informal construction workers are still reaching for the labour rights won by garment workers

Since her husband was knocked down by a co-worker carrying metal bars around a gated community construction site in Phnom Penh, Chum Makara says she has to take on additional jobs – washing dishes, doing laundry for neighbours – in addition to her usual tasks as a construction site support worker.

“Right now, the company offers three or four days [of work] a week, and I take any work they can give me,” she tells Equal Times, adding that she only earns US$5 per day for carrying bricks and cleaning up around the site.

When her husband was injured more than a year ago, the 42-year-old from Prey Veng province in south-eastern Cambodia took photos of his wounds from the health centre, as instructed by her boss. She even took pictures of his new stitches, after doctors removed a metal plate from his arm earlier this year, which was placed there because of the accident. But the family never received any compensation.

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