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Unions, gov’t attend ILO conference

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Ministry officials and union leaders attend the International Labour Organisation conference under the theme Jobs for a Bright Future in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday. CLC

Unions, gov’t attend ILO conference

Officials from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and union leaders are in Geneva to attend the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) 108th International Labour Conference, which is being held under the theme Jobs for a Bright Future.

The conference is being held from June 10-21 at its headquarters in Switzerland.

More than 5,000 people from 192 ILO member countries are attending the conference. Also present are presidents and prime ministers from 37 nations, as well as the ministers of labour from more than 192 countries and worker and employer representatives.

Ten Cambodian union leaders are attending the conference, including Rong Chhun, Vorn Pov, Ath Thorn and Chuon Momthol.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Thorn said several committees have been established at the conference to deal with the technical items on the agenda.

The committees include Finance Committee; Committee on the Application of Standards; and Committee of the Whole.

Moreover, Selection Committee; Credentials Committee; and Standard-Setting Committee: Violence and harassment in the world of work were also established at the conference.

These committees meet concurrently and work throughout the conference, before finalising their reports, conclusions or any instruments they may have drafted, which are then presented to the plenary for adoption.

The Cambodia Watchdog Council quoted Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) president Chhun as saying that in Cambodia, working conditions, long- and short-term employment contracts and wages needed focus.

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Chhun said that short term employment contracts were a controversial issue in negotiations between unions and employers.

“As for the freedom of unions and the situation facing workers and employees, Cambodia is highly risky, while the political situation is uncertain. Cambodia could lose the EU’s Everything But Arms [EBA] agreement and the US’ Generalised System of Preferences [GSP] over a decline in democracy,” Chhun claimed.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng and ministry spokesman Heng Sour led a government delegation to the conference.

The Ministry of Labour’s official Facebook page said Sam Heng had met for talks with Tomoko Nishimoto, the ILO’s assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific.

Sam Heng outlined the general situation regarding progress in the work sector and vocational training, as well as the strengthening of relations in the employment sector.

Cambodia would continue to cooperate closely with the ILO, he said.

Tomoko said she was highly appreciative of efforts made by the Cambodian government in strengthening employment relations.

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