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Article

4 Jul 2020

Author:
Khy Sovuthy, CamboJa

Cambodia: Ministry of Labour issues a warning letter to CATU president and accuses her of violating law in protesting

"Labor Ministry warns union leader for allegedly inciting workers", 03 July 2020

The Labor Ministry has warned a union president for engaging in activities that violate the Law on Trade Unions, accusing her of inciting garment workers to pressure and threaten their employers.

In a letter sent … to Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), the Labor Ministry asks that she stop organizing for the workers at Violet Apparel (Cambodia) Co., Ltd factory immediately.

The letter said that Sophorn had broken the law by leading workers in a protest.

“[Yang Sophorn] led and incited workers to threaten and pressure employers to get compensation, which breaks the law,” the letter reads…

According to workers at Violet Apparel, the protest referenced in the letter came after employees had suddenly been informed that the factory was permanently closing, and that they would not be paid on the date they had been promised.

Sophorn said by phone … that she found the Labor Ministry’s letter regrettable because she had done nothing illegal.

“We [CATU] did not do anything against the law,” she said. “I joined the workers at Violet Apparel factory because they requested to meet with me because they see me as a leader.”…

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC), said that the ministry should amend the Law on Trade Unions because the current law does not allow unions to help workers directly, although union leaders have the right to accompany workers when they encounter problems…

Moeun Tola, executive director of labor and human rights NGO Central, said that in this case, Violet Apparel should have explained clearly to workers whether they were suspending or permanently closing operations…

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