Complaints Continue as Deadline For Comments on Union Draft Law Ends

A deadline expires today for the submission of comments by unions and employers on a new trade union draft law, and union leaders yesterday said they are unsatisfied with portions of the law, while the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia defended some parts of the bill.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said he plans to request that the government remove articles related to financial disclosure for unions and penalties that would suspend or remove certification of unions.

“The law should be created to ensure the rights of the union leaders and it should not give any instructions for unions to follow,” he said.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the GMAC, defended portions of the bill, noting that it also requires employers to provide budgetary information.

“The whole country, everybody, is calling for transparency, so what is the main issue with being transparent with the finances of the union?” he asked.

He said GMAC does agree with some unions about certain problems with the draft law, such a provision that allows more than one collective bargaining agreement in a factory.

“It defeats the purpose of collective bargaining,” he said, adding only one collective bargaining agreement should be allowed in a factory.

Mr Chhun and Free Trade Union president Chea Mony declined to comment on bargaining portions of the law. Mr Mony also criticized the draft law.

“The government made this law to suppress any union that is not subject to the government,” Mr Mony said.

Oum Mean, secretary of state of the Labor Ministry, said government will meet with employers and unions to discuss objections, adding that changes can be made.

“It depends on the majority of voices to consider the removal of some articles in this law,” he said. He declined to say when they would meet.

Tola Moeun, head of the labor program of the Community Legal Education Center, said union objections are legitimate, as a portion of the draft law allows the government to dissolve or suspend unions.

“[It] is very serious, because it provides rights to the state to suspend or withdraw union certificate,” he said.


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