Cambodia's Hun Sen eases pressure on unions, as EU sanctions threat looms
7 November 2018
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told his ministers to ease pressure on labour union leaders …, after threats by the European Union to remove the Southeast Asian country's duty-free trading access…, Hun Sen urged his ministries of justice and labour to speed up or drop any pending court cases against union leaders. "Cases that should be handled, handle them quickly. Cases that are not being handled, drop them, finish them, so that those union leaders don't feel like hostages," Hun Sen said.
"This will open up some freedom space for the unions," he said. "Let's make reconciliation and understanding of each other a priority."…
Representatives from major apparel and footwear companies, including Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Puma, Under Armour, and VF Corporation, met Cambodian government ministers... The companies urged the government to drop what are widely seen as politically motivated criminal charges against trade unionists.
"The prime minister has made a step towards honouring human rights obligations under the EBA agreement with the EU while wooing workers' support for his rule," said political analyst Lao Mong Hay said…
Ath Thon, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, who has 7 pending lawsuits against him and another 50 against his colleagues over labour strikes, said he welcomed Hun Sen's comments.
…"It could be that, firstly, the election is over and the situation is better so they want to solve problems and, secondly, that they want to respond to what development partners want."