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.”