Group Plans To Distribute Labor Rights Booklets

The Community Legal Edu­cation Center plans to distribute 18,000 new booklets on labor rights to garment factory workers next month, along with 3,000 posters on how to elect union leaders, Ann Vireak, the head of CLEC’s labor program unit, said Wednesday.

The booklet uses cartoon-like illustrations to convey basic worker rights on hiring, contracts, working conditions, disciplinary action, discrimination, freedom of association, harassment, dispute resolution, health and safety and women in the workforce.

Ann Vireak said the information would be distributed through labor unions and the Garment Manu­facturers Association of Cambodia.

Oum Mean, undersecretary of state at the Labor Ministry, de­clined to say whether CLEC would be allowed to distribute the leaflets. But he said the NGO should have consulted with his ministry before preparing to distribute the book.

“I don’t know if [the booklet] is about the law or is intended to incite workers,” he said. “Even the big NGOs consult with the ministry. This is a big mistake,” he said.

Ann Vireak said CLEC did not directly consult with the ministry, though they held a workshop about the book’s preparation in February, and a Labor Ministry official attended.

“The contents of the book is taken from [the International Labor Organization’s] guide to Cam­bodian labor law for the garment industry,” she said, adding that it will not incite workers.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of GMAC, said his organization has reviewed the draft of the booklet but did not know what the distribution plans were for it.

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