Source: The Phnom Penh Post,
Written by Vong Sokheng, Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Union says govt is ignoring amendments
THE Free Trade Union (FTU) on Monday urged members of the National Assembly to address vital Labour Law amendments that it says have so far been overlooked by government officials since being brought up last month.

Union President Chea Mony said Monday that he had submitted a petition to members of the Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party in May calling on parliamentarians to ensure better working conditions for workers.

“We found that the parliamentarians and the government have not paid attention to our demands,” he said. “If parliamentarians are concerned about the interests of Cambodian citizens, I hope they are able to debate these worrying issues,” he added.

Discrimination targeted
The proposed amendments would allow for freedom of association, propose a proper basic salary for workers, make the arbitrary suspension or firing of workers illegal and give an honorary title to former FTU leader Chea Vichea, who was assassinated in 2004.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said Monday that the party would be willing to cooperate with members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party during the upcoming parliamentarian workshops before the issues are debated. “We hope that we would be able to lobby parliamentarians from the CPP to consider this proposal from the FTU,” Son Chhay said.

Lork Kheng, a CPP lawmaker, said that CPP parliamentarians had not yet reviewed the proposal. “I haven’t seen the proposal, so I cannot comment yet.”

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Exports from the Garment Sector Drop Dramatically in the First Quarter of 2009
Source: The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 616,
Translating from Deum Ampil News, Vol.3, #205, June 9, 2009

“According to a report from the Ministry of Commerce, the garment industry of Cambodia is recently facing a serious crisis due to the global economic crisis. The export of garments to international markets dropped, as there are less buying orders than before. However, it is expected that the situation will recover soon.

“According to the report, the export of garments to foreign countries fell sharply in March 2009 by about 38%, something which had never happened before. In February 2009, it declined by 18.60% and was worth only US$189.21 million. In January 2009, it dropped by 20.89% and was worth US$181.09 million. In December 2008, it had dropped by 13.64% and was still worth US$222.10 million, and in November 2008, with a drop of only 0.89% it was worth US$218.30 million.

“Based on this report, the export of garments to foreign countries started to drop in July and September 2008. So far, the United States of America is still the biggest and most important market for the export of the textile industry of Cambodia, but the export of the United States decreases while the export to Japan increases. In the meantime, the export of shoes to important markets in the European Union and in the Middle East increased to about US$6.5 million.

“As said in the report, the garment industry of Cambodia has encountered a downturn since July 2008 and the drop was sharp and alarming in March 2009.

“The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, told Deum Ampil that due to the global economic crisis, more than 50,000 workers lost their jobs and 47 factories, with which the trade union worked, closed, while 7 new factories opened. He added that the 7 factories are just among those which had closed, and they relocated to new places [in the outskirts of the city] in order to escape from the labor law of Cambodia [some factories had declared bankruptcy and then they do not need to take responsibility to pay the final salaries of the workers]. However, the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers acknowledged that the report of the Ministry of Commerce has many points they agree with.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia has released much capital to salvage the situation which result from the global economic crisis which made some garment factories to close, making workers unemployed. Some former workers are trained in professional skills, so that they can find new jobs or run their own business in their localities.”

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