Ministry, NGO Distribute Guide to Labor Law

The Ministry of Labor and the In­­­ternational Labor Organization re­­­­leased a Khmer-language guide to the 1997 Labor Law on Wed­nes­day in a bid to stem labor disputes.

Two thousand copies of the guide will be distributed to officials, union representatives and em­­ployers ahead of a Chinese-language version still in the works, ac­cording to ILO Chief Technical Ad­­­viser Ros Harvey.

“We have seen many disputes re­­sult for a lack of understanding of the law by both parties,” Har­vey said.

Last week, ILO labor dispute tech­nical adviser Hugo Van Noord said that the ILO accepted a $500,000 grant from New Zea­land to educate garment in­dustry players on the Labor Law be­cause disputes are on the rise.

Labor Minister Nhep Bunchin, however, said that there has been an 80-percent decrease in disputes since the mid-1990s.

“Nowadays, there are one or two strikes in a single day,” he said. “Before we solved more than 20 strikes a day.”

Nhep Bunchin said that the government, unions and em­ployers are reviewing the la­bor law with technical assistance from the ILO. The review is to include controversial night shift and overtime provisions.

“In Australia overtime is paid at 30 percent…in the United States it is paid at 100 percent…but in Cam­bo­dia the rate is 200 percent,” he said. “Factories have said they could employ as many as 30,000 ad­­ditional night shift workers if this was changed. We must re­view.”


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