Camboya - Trade union rights violated with impunity (2010)

In spite of some progress thanks to initiatives such as ILO projects and the efforts of certain international buyers, working conditions and the respect for trade union rights in the clothing industry (Cambodia’s biggest industry) remain difficult.

In many factories, trade unionists continue to face repression of all kinds, including death threats, dismissals, blacklisting, false accusations to bring them before the courts, wage deductions and exclusion from promotion, etc. The government very rarely prosecutes or takes measures against an employer for anti-union practices. In many instances, the Ministry of Labour’s advice is for workers to take their case to court – which is costly and ineffective – or to accept cash settlements from the employers. Labour inspectors are poorly trained and, given their low pay, open to bribery. In cases where the Ministry of Labour does rule in favour of the workers, it rarely uses its legal authority to penalise employers who fail to follow its orders.

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