Senate Passes Union Law While Opposition Abstains

The rubber-stamp Senate on Tuesday approved the controversial Trade Union Law with unanimous support from the ruling CPP and abstentions from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

The law was passed by the CPP-dominated National Assembly last week, despite an across-the-board “no” vote by the opposition.

Senate spokesman Oum Sarith said on Tuesday that the law was approved by all 40 CPP lawmakers present, while all six SRP members in attendance chose not to vote.

The remaining 15 senators—members of both parties—did not show up.

“We passed it without changes,” he said. “[The SRP lawmakers] had too many opinions, but the government takes care of all people.”

SRP Senator You Seangleng said the opposition’s main concern was the law’s failure to bar government employees and advisers from leading a union, raising fears of unhindered collusion.

“The law will not guarantee independence when the king signs it; we will see the unions be subjugated by the employers,” he said.

The International Labor Organization and other critics have warned that the law violates both domestic law and international conventions that Cambodia has signed up to.

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