Tourism workers formed a massive union federation on Wednesday, creating the strongest labor bargaining agent in the country, labor officials said.
More than 400 representatives from hotels, the Naga Casino and airport unions selected leaders for the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation, the country’s first tourism labor federation, union leaders said.
“Cambodia is a fast-developing tourism industry. This will be effective for industrial relations and extending union coverage to nonunion members,” Ma Wei Pin, International Union of Food Workers Asia and Pacific regional secretary, said Wednesday.
Hotel Cambodiana union President Ly Korm, who recently won a long-running labor dispute with Hotel Cambodiana managers, was named president of the federation. Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotel union President Pin Thierry was selected deputy president, while Phnom Penh International Airport union President Khim Linda was appointed secretary-general.
American Center for International Labor Solidarity country representative Jason Judd said the federation should prove an effective bargaining force because the various tourism workers unions are well-organized and mature.
Eight of the nine tourism unions are engaged in collective bargaining, Judd said. By contrast, of the more than 300 unions organized within the garment industry, only a handful have engaged in effective collective bargaining.
“The union’s unity will have influence over the employers. The federation should use its power appropriately to serve the workers’ interests,” said Cambodian Labor Organization Legal Supervisor An Nan. The federation must still register with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ly Korm said. Ministry officials were not available for comment Wednesday.