WWD: Rights Group Slams Cambodia's Propose Trade Union Law

  Workers on a pick-up truck gather in Phnom Penh for May Day. (Credit: Dene-Hern Chen)

Workers on a pick-up truck gather in Phnom Penh for May Day. (Credit: Dene-Hern Chen)

June 8, 2015

PHNOM PENH — New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday criticizing a draft law that seeks to regulate the country’s trade unions as a violation of human rights and freedom of association.

Known as the trade union law, it has undergone many iterations over the years, but the latest version has not been released for public consultation. With more than 600,000 workers in Cambodia’s robust garment industry, independent unions are worried that the new law, if passed, would place undue restrictions on their activities, making it difficult for them to negotiate and rally over workers’ complaints of low minimum wage, union discrimination, and factory compliance violations. Government officials have said in the past that the law will serve the interests of the workers.

“The government’s lack of transparency in making the draft law public and subject to scrutiny and consultation is contrary to principles of democratic governance and jeopardizes public trust in the law-making process,” HRW said in its letter to the prime minister.

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