Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Factory compliance up: BFC

Factory compliance up: BFC

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials from the Ministry of Labour check a container of glue at a garment factory in Kandal province last year. A new report has found an improvement in labour standards within the garment industry. Photo supplied

Factory compliance up: BFC

Cambodia's garment factories showed a modest increase in compliance with proper labour standards this year, according to an industry report released yesterday by Better Factories Cambodia (BFC).

The analysis of 393 factories under BFC’s purview, conducted from May 2014 to April 2015, concludes that the NGO’s policy of publicly reporting findings from factory inspections – via their online transparency database – had led to improvements in several areas.

“One year of public reporting has demonstrated important improvements, amongst other . . . [compliance issues, including] severance payments, emergency preparedness and around payment of bonuses,” the report reads.

“Not all the 21 critical issues that are part of the public reporting demonstrate improvements and thus the programme will continue to measure change and work with its partners to ensure impact.”

Compliance in areas publicly reported in BFC’s transparency database improved by an average of 9.16 per cent, the report says.

But aspects not included in public reporting – such as supervisors’ understanding of health and safety guidelines and the presence of first aid boxes in the factory – also rose, by nearly 8.4 per cent.

The improved compliance numbers marked the reversal of a downward trend seen between 2010 and 2013, the report says.

But Joel Preston, a consultant for the Community Legal Education Center, yesterday said that he has not seen much improvement on the ground during the period included in the BFC study.

“Generally, we haven’t seen a lot of improvement . . . we’ve been getting the same complaints we’ve been getting for years,” Preston said, pointing to a recent spate of mass faintings in Cambodia’s garment factories.

“A lot of those [faintings] involved lack of ventilation, chemicals and other occupational hazards.”

While the report shows improvement in many areas, Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, cautioned against looking at it as the beginning of a trend.

“It’s just one report; you need to see a change over time,” he said.

A previous version of this story incorrectly calculated percentages by which compliance at garment factories have improved. According to report data, improvement of compliance in publicly reported areas improved by about 9.16 per cent, and compliance with criteria that are not publicly reported improved by about 8.4 per cent.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Khmer influence growing in Hollywood

    The rare success of The Cleaning Lady – an American TV series which stars Cambodian-French Hollywood actress Elodie Yung – sheds some light on Asian immigrants to the US, yet a significant representation gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) exists both on screen and behind

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of