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Cambodia: The National Assembly passes amendments to Law on Trade Unions; while unions claim amendments remain restrictive

"Union Law amended", 27 November 2019

The National Assembly ... unanimously passed amendments to the Trade Union Law to promote workers’ rights and ensure union freedom.

The Trade Union Law became effective in 2016, but unions decried some articles, saying they restricted union freedom. CPP lawmakers voted in favour of amendments to ten articles ... that were highlighted by unionists in previous meetings with government officials...

Labour Minister Ith Samheng ... said that the amendments gave more freedom to workers and unions.

... Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, ... expressed his disappointment over the amendments because some articles of the law remain restrictive to workers’ right and union freedoms, in his opinion.

“Little improvement has been made because the ten amended articles are still not good enough for our unions,” Mr Thorn said.

He said that a requested audit of activity and financial reports will result in interference...

He said that articles 54, 55 and 59 in the old law stated that unions have the right to be a representative of the workers to solve labour disputes, but an amendment stipulates that a unionist cannot represent workers.

“The amendment states that we cannot be a representative of the workers to solve disputes; we can only accompany them,” Mr Thorn said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Unions of Movement of Worker, echoed Mr Thorn’s remarks.

“These amendments are not enough and do not aim to protect the interest of workers. They reduce unions’ power because our opinions were excluded,” he said. “These amendments still restrict activities of unions. Union leaders will still face challenges.”

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