TUC demands trade union rights in Cambodia

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
09 Aug 2015

The TUC has called on the Cambodian Prime Minister to ensure the trade union law in Cambodia is compliant with ILO core conventions:

H.E. Hun Sen,
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Phnom Penh
Kingdom of Cambodia

Email: cabinet1b@camnet.com.kh

Dear Sir

Trade union law in Cambodia

On behalf of the six million members of the Trades Union Congress, that national trade union centre for Great Britain, I want you to know our serious concerns with the draft Trade Union Law of Cambodia, now under review by your government and expected to be introduced to Parliament and adopted later this year.

First, the process of drafting the law has been neither transparent nor tripartite. There have been no consultations with the trade unions since the middle of last year; meanwhile, employer representatives continue to exert influence over the draft text of the law. If enacted in the form of the October 2014 draft, it would seriously undermine the rights to freedom of association and to bargain collectively as protected in international law. Trade unions could face deregistration under new minimum membership criteria, and the power of independent trade unions would be substantially diminished. Industrial action would be seriously curtailed, and unions could be subject to devastating penalties for undertaking even peaceful strikes. The International Labour Organisation has on repeated occasions explained to the government that many of the proposed amendments would violate the ILO Conventions that your government has ratified.

Cambodia's international reputation has suffered greatly in recent years. The garment industry alone provides employment to some 700,000 people, mostly young women. The enactment of an ILO-compliant Trade Union Law could be a good opportunity to rebuild international and domestic confidence in the country’s industrial relations. However, introducing the Trade Union Law without serious revision will only further damage Cambodia’s reputation and put the future of the garment industry at risk.

That is why the TUC urges you to consult with trade unions and ensure that the draft Trade Union Law is fully consistent with ILO Conventions 87 and 98. We sincerely hope that we can support a new Trade Union Law, but we will have no option but to vigorously oppose it should it not respect international standards.  

Yours sincerely

FRANCES O’GRADY

General Secretary