SEAW#2: Collective Bargaining For Improved Industrial Relation

Published on SEAW, Vol. 4, Issue no.40 (2 October 2010)

By Sok Lak

Under demand for good governance project and supporting of World Bank, Arbitration Council Foundation (ACF) has held 5th Nation Industrial Ration Conference in Phnom Penh on October 01st, aiming at improving industrial relation in Cambodia especially triple parties, employer, employee and government.

The conference brought the key players in the Cambodia industrial relation community-unions, employer, government, international buyer associations, and other relevant and civil society organizations under the theme of Collective Bargaining for Improved Industrial Ration: Collective to current challenges.

Mr. Sok Lor, Executive Director of the Arbitration Council Foundation said in the conference that “I believe this annual forum for key industrial relations stakeholders is an important opportunity to discuss the issues which affect Cambodia industrial relations.”

“It is important to emphasize from time to time that the core rationale for stabilizing industrial relations in Cambodia is to optimize the economic growth and social development, for benefits of both the businesses and workers”, he said. “In order for Cambodia to achieve sustainable development, this fundamental shared value must be respected by involved parties.”

He emphasized that the industry-wide strike in the garment sector created worrying impacts on the key parties involved: businesses, workers, and Cambodia as a whole. While Cambodia industrial relations have been progressing, the incident has caused damage to the stability of Cambodian industrial relations, also in garment sector to the increasingly resilient reputation of Cambodia as a good sourcing destination for the international brands.

He continued to say that it is important to note that the potential benefits of the collective bargaining agreement themselves have not been disputed by the involved stakeholders. Meanwhile, it must also recognized that the development of collective bargaining agreement have not occurred in such a manner that sufficiently responds to the needs of the garment industry. Such below-expectation development is mainly due to several impasses that have been identified for solution-oriented discussion at this conference: difficulty in collective bargaining caused by multiple-union representation, lack of genuine effort and commitment to engage in collective bargaining, fear that collective bargaining agreement would keep raising conditions favorable to only one party to the agreement.

H.E Seng Sakda, Director General of the General Department of Labor in the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said that 2010 is the year of industrial relation in Cambodia. Start from October 1st, the minimum wage of garment sector will increase from 50$ to 61$. It shows that all parties already agree this wage that is sign of all of them certify the income of company.

“Economic growth takes a benefit from industrial which depend on private sector in use of labors such as garment, tourism and construction, he said. “It is note that The Arbitration Council Foundation is a registered local not-for-profit foundation established in 2004 to support and facilitate the labor dispute resolution work of the Arbitration Council.”


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