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29 Nov 2019

Vida Taing, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Labour groups brief foreign diplomats on labour rights situations including workers' rights and union freedom

"Labour rights groups brief US ambassador over rights situation", 28 November 2019

A group of labour rights NGOs ... met with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy to highlight improvements to the Kingdom’s laws and challenges workers still face.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, ... said the groups stated their concerns over the Trade Union Law, noting that the law did not fully promote workers’ rights and ensure union freedom.

The National Assembly ... amended ten articles of the law in a bid to protect workers’ rights and improve union freedom, but Mr Tola and other unionists say the effort fell short.

“We have the same opinion over the problem on the rights to form unions and the right to collective bargaining,” Mr Tola said. “A unionist can no longer represent workers when there is a labour dispute.”

“The amendments did not fully respond to and reflect the main issues that concerned stakeholders,” he added...

William Conklin, country director of the US-based Solidarity Centre, ... said the groups believe that there were other issues that needed to be addressed in the amendments.

“As you know, unions had given a list of requests, the changes that they wanted to see, but many of those were not addressed,” he said.

Mr Conklin said the meeting also touched on various other issues, including the extended Better Factories Cambodia programme, how to ensure that the labour law is complied with and that labour rights are protected in the new travel goods sector...

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour ... said it is inevitable that some labour rights NGOs will express disappointment and concerns...