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TRADE UNION SUPPORT GROUP ON PROPOSED CAMBODIAN TRADE UNION LAW FOR GENERAL RELEASE  

2011-03-15 -




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TRADE UNION SUPPORT GROUP ON PROPOSED CAMBODIAN TRADE UNION LAW FOR GENERAL RELEASE AND PRESS CONFERENCE

SUNWAY HOTEL Phnom Penh, TUESDAY MARCH 15, 2011

The Government of Cambodia proposes to enact a new Trade Union law, the first in the country’s history. In principle this is a very positive development. However, the most recent draft of the proposed legislation raises serious concerns about the content of the legislation as it affects the rights, responsibilities and protection of the Trade Union movement and its members in Cambodia. As such, the Trade Union Support Group, comprised of Unions and Trade Union/Labour Rights advocacy NGOs in Cambodia has produced a Critique/Report of the current Trade Union Law draft including detailed Recommendations of which Articles should be re-written or removed and why. The Trade Union Support Group will submit copies of its Report to the Government (specifically the Ministries involved in drafting and finalizing the legislation), the ILO and other stakeholders in the hope that the Recommendations contained within the Report will be reviewed in good faith and reflected in the final version of the Trade Union Law.

 In General terms, throughout the world, Trade Union and Labour Law legislation is enacted with the specific Objective of promoting and protecting Trade Union rights. In far too many Articles contained in the currently proposed Cambodian Trade Union Law it is the consensus of the Trade Union Support group that the opposite would occur if the proposed legislation were to become law. Namely, that the rights of Trade Unions and Trade Unionists would be severely curtailed; that Trade Unions would be weakened and made highly vulnerable to dissolution, de-registration and criminal sanctions and that too much authority over the internal affairs and daily existence of Trade Unions would be shifted to the arbitrary discretion of Government authorities (as opposed to relying on known, detailed procedural outlines) and to unidentified third parties.

In specific terms, the legislation as currently proposed would impose burdensome and discriminatory requirements on individuals seeking leadership positions in trade unions, appears to completely alter the current Most Representative Status (MRS) system as outlined in the Cambodian Labour Law and shifts rights and responsibilities with regard to collective bargaining and dispute resolution powers away from many registered plant level unions.

As mentioned, the proposed enactment of a new Trade Union law in Cambodia is potentially historic. It is hoped that both the Government and other stakeholders will treat the Report and Recommendations of the Trade Union Support group with the good faith in which they are being submitted and that the final version of the Cambodian Trade Union Act can serve to advance the rights and protection of Cambodia’s burgeoning, Trade Union movement and serve also as a basis of constructive and functioning collective bargaining and industrial relations in the years ahead.



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