The "Union" is the professional organization of workers that
recognized by article 266 of Cambodia labour law. According to article 266,
workers who worked in every enterprise or establishment in the Kingdom of
Cambodia have, without prior authorization, the right form and join union. The
union's rights and freedom are fundamental for workers in respect to
education/training, enhancing the interests, and protection of their rights as
well as their spiritual and material interests of individuals who are under the
statute determined by the organization. But, in order to enjoy the rights and
benefits recognized by this law, the founders of those professional
organizations must file their statutes and list of names of those responsible
for management and administration, with the Ministry in Charge of Labor for
In addition to the general knowledge, the Community Legal
Education Center would raise the topic on "Legal Protection of Union's Freedom"
in which the protection against the "discriminations and interferences" on
freedom of trade union are presented in accordance with existing laws and
In what contexts are the protection against the
"discrimination and interference" with the rights and freedom of the union?
The protection against discriminations: The Kingdom of
Cambodia's Labor Law, Article 279 says: "Employers are forbidden to take into
consideration [the] union affiliation or participation in union activities when
making decisions concerning recruitment, management and assignment of work,
promotion, remuneration and granting of benefits, disciplinary measures and
dismissal [or reject any training]. This is a protection of discrimination
against the union's rights and freedom.
The ILO convention No. 98 Concerning the Application of the
Principals of the Right to Organize and to Bargain Collectively, Article 1 (1)
says: workers shall enjoy adequate protection against the acts of anti-union
discrimination in respect of their employment. Therefore, employers cannot
suspend or dismiss a union's leader, activist or worker for any reason
concerning their activities in organizing a union or participating in any
According to articles mentioned above, the unions shall
enjoy their rights and freedom in carrying out their activities that enhance
the rights and interests of workers, and to ensure the application of the
rights and freedom in demanding for the protection of discrimination against
the union according to the existing laws and regulation.
The protection of interferences: Cambodia Law, Article 280
says: "Acts of interference are forbidden. For the purpose of the present
article, acts of interference are primarily measures tending to provoke the
creation of worker organizations dominated by an employer or an employers' organization, or the support of worker organizations by financial or other
means, on purpose to place these organizations under the control of an employer
or an employers' organization." The ILO
convention No. 98, Article 2 also provides the same protection.
The ILO Convention No. 87 Concerning Freedom of Association
and Protection of Right to Organize, Article 3 says:
- Workers' and employers' organizations shall have the right to draw up their
constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to
organize their administration and activities and to formulate their programs.
public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict
this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.
Article 4 of the ILO convention No. 87 also states that:
"Workers' and employers' organizations shall not be liable to be dissolved or
suspended by administrative authority."
According to the substance of the law, workers' organization
shall have a full protection against "interferences" by employers or agents or
members of the enterprises or management process or administration.
Apart from this, no workers' organization or unions have
been suspended or dissolved by any competent authorities because both ILO
convention and Cambodian Laws and regulations regarding the labor set out very
strict provisions which do not allow the competent administration to suspend
and dissolve the unions.
The ILO convention No. 87, Article 8 (2) says: "The law of
the land shall not be such as to impair, nor shall it be so applied as to
impair, the guarantees provided for in this Convention." This means that the
State parties shall not interfere with the practice of the freedom of the union
by suspending or dissolving any union's organization; with the association of
union confederations; with the process of drafting their constitution and
regulation; the state parties shall not fail in protection against the acts of
Therefore, an employer cannot dismiss any employee for any
reason that workers participate in election, establishing a union or in other
union activities, whether the reason for dismissal does not show a direct link,
but with any reason behind it. Also, the employer cannot interfere with the
union affair by poking their nose into union's administration or activities.
All in all, both national and international laws provided
widely rights in forming a union and carrying out their activities.
Furthermore, it may create an environment of threat and intimidation which
damage the interests in the growth of the union activities, if any measures or
acts are against the principals of the freedom of union.