Camboya - New wage law would severely restrict trade union rights

A legal analysis of Cambodia’s draft minimum wage law published in March 2017 found that it would undermine and potentially criminalise the work of unions, labour rights activists and civil society groups by barring peaceful demonstrations and sidelining independent unions.
The analysis was carried out by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), the Solidarity Centre and the ITUC. They welcomed the creation of a national minimum wage – only garment workers have a minimum wage at present – but expressed concern at the strong restrictions on rights contained in the draft.
In their executive summary the three organisations note the potential of the Draft Law to severely restrict the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression. They point specifically to “the proposed ban on any form of ‘objection’ to the agreed-upon minimum wage (Article 26) and the prohibition on conducting independent research related to the minimum wage (Article 23)”. The draft law imposes fines for individuals who commit “illegal acts” in expressing their displeasure at the wage, and punitive fines for using economic and social data not approved by the National Minimum Wage Council to ascertain annual increases.
The organisations further note that “the participation of independent/democratic unions is not guaranteed, and the organisation and functioning of the National Minimum Wage Council are not outlined in the draft law, leaving the details at the discretion of a ministerial Sub-decree (Article 18). The Draft Law also gives significant discretion to the Minister in Charge of Labour to set different minimum wages based on employment sector and geographic region, threatening to undercut the objectives and spirit of the law, overall (Article 9).”
The analysis recommends amendments and additions to the draft law that would bring it in line with international human rights law and constitutional human rights guarantees.

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