A senior Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia official complained Tuesday that the Labor Ministry has not given factories adequate notice to prepare for the time off needed by employees hoping to vote in Sunday’s commune elections.
Kong Sang, GMAC first deputy chairman, said garment factories need more time to prepare for the one- to three-day leave required by workers travelling to the provinces to vote, if factories are not to fall behind on their orders.
“If the [Labor] Ministry told us a bit earlier, we would put three days holiday on the calendar,” he said, though he added that they are taking time off to vote.
Oum Mean, undersecretary of state for the Labor Ministry, said GMAC and all factory owners are aware of Sunday’s elections and have had adequate time to prepare.
“We are not holding elections for the first time and GMAC was also not recently created,” he said. The ministry March 12 officially informed GMAC and the factory owners of the days off workers would need to vote, he added.
A March 12 letter issued by the Labor Ministry to garment factories and GMAC states that workers voting in Phnom Penh must be given one day off; workers voting in the provinces of Kandal, Kompong Speu or Kompong Chhnang need two days; and workers voting in the rest of the country need three days off.
Cheat Khemara, senior labor officer for GMAC, said he believed the ministry had given adequate warning.
“We were immediately informed of the date of the commune election,” he said, adding that some factories may ask employees to work overtime before the elections begin.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said the FTU is investigating whether any factories are planning not to give workers time off to vote, but has not found any instances of this.