Short-sightedness, weak adherence to the law and poor working conditions in Cambodia’s garment sector are creating a fertile field for strikes to prevail over negotiations, a recent study released by the Arbitration Council Foundation, an independent labour mediator, has found.
According to the study, incidents of striking have considerably increased in the disputes the council mediated, going from 17 in 2012 to 94 in 2014. While compensation issues were by far the most common demands in strike cases the council oversaw – making up 37 per cent of all cases during a one-year period from April 2014 to 2015 – it was far from the only factor enabling the proliferation of strike action. …
Trade unions at either end of the political divide Wednesday said they were eager to renew their agreement with garment factories to abide by the rulings of the country’s Arbitration Council, with some changes, despite a new report showing that both unions and employers often failed to stick to the deal.
However, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC)—which represents the country’s more than 400 exporting garment factories—was non-committal at a Phnom Penh roundtable meeting on the deal that occasionally grew heated. …
The Arbitration Council Foundation yesterday ruled that a Phnom Penh garment factory that announced it was closing for a month must pay employees 100 per cent of the wages they would have earned during that period. …
A garment factory will prolong its monthlong closure until at least July 9, when the Arbitration Council Foundation rules on a case brought by its workers. …
Sean Teehan and Mom Kunthear
A six-month protest over unpaid bonuses has seen production at a Por Sen Chey district box factory grind to a halt over the past four days, with more than 200 former employees blocking gates and preventing shipments.
Former employees at Harta Packaging Industries began barricading gates at the factory one week ago today, spurring Harta’s shutdown on Saturday, said Sorn Bora, Harta production manager and president of the Workers Friendship Union there.
The ongoing protest stems from a long-standing conflict between management and former senior employees over payouts they say should have been made when the factory changed ownership in 2012. …
The Arbitration Council Foundation, credited with helping resolve about 1,700 industrial disputes, has reached verbal agreement with a Swedish aid agency to receive funding until the end of 2016, a spokesman said yesterday.
But members of the labour-dispute resolution body desire a more permanent solution that will enable it to keep providing arbitration across a number of industries, including the garment sector.
Earlier this month, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) agreed to provide the council with $1.2 million from this October until December 2016. The funds will begin filling Arbitration Council coffers just after major contributions from the World Bank – a key donor since 2009 – end in September. …
With union and company officials at one of Asia’s largest garment factories making no progress in resolving a strike that has lasted nearly three months, a pair of labour relation groups are working on an agreement that all sides hope will end the deadlock.
officials from the International Labour Organizations’s Better Factories Cambodia and Cambodia’s Arbitration Council Foundation yesterday confirmed that the group have been working in conjunction.
Over the past two weeks, the council and BFC have held separate meetings with management at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) – which represents the majority of SL’s employees – said Jason Judd, a BFC technical specialist. …
Sean Teehan and Mom Kunthear
The Arbitration Council heard about 230 collective labor disputes in the garment and footwear industry involving approximately 98,000 workers in 2012, a 38 percent increase from 2011, which saw 161 cases handled, according to the council.
Y Samphy, training and communications manager for the council’s Arbitration Council Foundation, said the labor dispute body received 255 total cases, the highest number since the council was establish in 2003, and 90 percent of the cases were in the garment and footwear industry.
Despite the rise in cases, the number of workers involved dropped from 173,000 workers workers in 2011 to about 98, 000 workers in 2012, he said. …
Dene-Hern Chen and Kaing Menghun, P.20
Amid a spate of garment factory strikes – including one at Tai Yang Enterprises that has lasted more than a month – Cambodia’s Arbitration Council yesterday said it wanted the industry to renew a memorandum of understanding on industrial action that has been in limbo since November.
“[The MoU] is something we would like the industry to come to the table on,” Arbitration Council Foundation executive director Sok Lor told the Post.
Strikes have increased significantly at garment factories since the MoU expired…
Shane Worrell and Mom Kunthear, P. 2