2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work – Saturday, 10.1.2009

Posted on 11 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. The export of garments to international markets declined by 2%, which has created general concern. Difficulties will last 3 to 6 months further, but officials said that there will be no serious effects on the garment sector.

“The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia [GMAC – the web link has, under “Members” a detailed database with information about all GMAC members], Mr. Van Sou Ieng, said in a press conference in the evening of 7 January 2008 at the Hotel Le Royal, that more than 60 garment factories closed in 2008, causing around 25,000 workers to loose their employment. The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, he expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore, the global financial crisis affected this sector very little. He added that Cambodia might face difficulties from 3 to 6 months, and in 2010, we can hope again. In every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Oum Mean, reported to Kampuchea Thmey on 9 January 2009 that 73 factories closed and 24,397 workers had lost their work. However, in the same year, 64 new factories had opened, absorbing 13,000 workers by now. The number of workers might further increase, because newly opened companies are in the suburbs. Thus, recently unemployed workers will continue to work at new factories, and most of them have skills because of several years of experience. Some workers go to work for factories in special zones located near their home villages or towns, like in Svay Rieng and in other areas.

“There are different number given, because some of the closed factories were not among the members of the GMAC.

“Mr. Oum Mean went on to say that more than 20,000 workers will find jobs in new factories. While the world faces a financial crisis which affects big countries, such as the Untied State of America and Europe, Cambodia is also affected, because those big countries are garment importing countries from Cambodia. While citizens of those countries meet difficulties, they will cut down their expenses, and this affects the buying orders, ‘but we are not strongly affected, because the Cambodian economy depends on agriculture as the basis – even though before, the prices of fuel had increased and the prices of goods followed the market prices and general needs.’

“Coming from the ministry in charge of observing working condition, Mr. Oum Mean said, as the world faces a financial crisis causing common effects, that Cambodia, which exports garments to international markets, is also concerned, including the Royal Government, workers, and employers. ‘We have to join efforts and be patient, so that our factories remain stable and develop, because many countries recognize that the working conditions in Cambodia are acceptable according to international standards. When we export our goods with the labeled “Made in Cambodia,” both Europe and the United States of America always agree to buy them, since they know that these goods have quality, and our workers get enough benefits. We have to continue maintaining this reputation well.’

“He did not prohibit to have protests or demands by workers, but before doing something, they must be wise to avoid to act inappropriately affecting the fate of all, because when factories close, also employers loose, though they are owners, since the factory is a rice pot for all.

“Regarding the above problems, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony, mentioned some numbers in the morning of 9 January 2009, that in 2008, there were 27,000 workers who lost their work, and 26 factories closed.

“However, in 2008, all together 37 factories closed, but it was not because they were bankrupt – but it was because they relocate their factories to new locations in the suburbs, and they just changed their factory names. Another reason was that some factories lost their money in speculation. Also, because of the global financial crisis, some factories that were affected were run by Korean owners, such as the Woosu CNS Factory, the Chantechay Factory [phonetic] which suspended their work, also the Cambohenshare Factory [phonetic – ‘Cambo Hansae’?] suspended its work, and also the Tay Factory [phonetic]. Some factories suspend their work for 2 or 3 months; so workers will not wait and go to work at other factories.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that while workers face unemployment, ‘we will help them according to the law. When factories close, they have to settle final payments for their workers according to the law. … The government is also responsible to solve problems of unemployment of workers. Some workers turn to find jobs in Thailand, but we help workers, according to the law, in order to help them to stay in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Van Sou Ieng said after the end of the 26th council plenary session of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries on 7 January 2009, that buyer orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there is no buying order for May and June 2009. Buyers offer only US$3 for 1 shirt while before, they offered US$4. Big companies agreed to loose US$2 or US$3, but from May to June buyers must offer US$4 again. As for small factories, they might close, because they cannot stand the loss.

“Mr. Chea Mony agreed with Mr. Van Sou Ieng, who said that big companies are less affected while small factories are more seriously affected, because they produce their garments for big factories. But he did not agreed with what Mr. Van Sou Ieng said, that the buyers from international markets are lowering their price offers; this would be impossible, because each buying contract contains clear agreements. Mr. Chea Mony asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to kindly take action with officials of relevant ministries regarding corruption which affects the garment sector. He asked also the head of the Royal Government to reduce the prices of goods at the markets, which affect the living standard of workers who earn small salaries.

“The president of the Cambodia Workers Labor Federation of Trade Union Mr. Vong Sovann, expressed his concern in the morning of 9 January, that some factories were closed for good, and buying orders dropped in 2008. Bur only small factories having 200 or 300 workers were closed. Some factories closed in the city but opened in the suburbs, and some new factories do not have enough workers.

“Mr. Vong Sovann added that his union will provide more broad educational information about the economy for workers, so that they understand the present economic situation, and what causes demonstrations and strikes. ‘We will try to explain to workers to be patient and to solve problems through negotiations. As a result, in late 2008, demonstrations and strikes declined, which showed that workers became more knowledgeable.’

“The president of the Cambodia Labor Union Federation, Mr. Som Oun, said in the morning of 9 January 2009 that 64 new factories had opened and 73 factories had closed, including factories sub-contracted by bigger factories, and some of the factories do handicraft work. There were only around 20 factories [of those closed?] exporting garments by themselves. The number from GMAC and the numbers from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training are not in line with each other, and GMAC did not give a number of new factories. The number of factories closed was comparable to 2007. Workers loosing their employment go to work for other factories; therefore, the number of unemployed workers was not so high. Some unemployed workers of some factories returned to their homes to help harvest paddy rice.

“Mr. Som Oun said that some factories do not have enough workers. Obviously, a shoe factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district asked him to help recruit up to 2,000 workers, because this factory added another big building, and now the workers have to eat their meals in the factory. Therefore, he did not worry that workers are unemployed, ‘We still have buying orders from the United States of America and from Europe, because, according to the International Labor Organization, Cambodia is the country in the region which best respects working conditions. Buyers from the United States of America wait until the new president takes his position in the middle of this month, then they will continue buying.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #105, 9-13.1.2009

  • Aid for the Neak Loeang Bridge and Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Are the Major Agenda Items for the Visit by the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Three [Vireakchey] National Park Rangers Are Missing in the Jungle in Ratanakiri and Are Not Yet Found [they are missing since 28 December 2008 when they went on a mission against illegal logging]
  • The Ministry of Planning Starts to Identify Poor Families [to ease the provision of services and aid for poor families – Note: The articled does not give any information how this enormous task, similar to a census, is to be implemented]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1843, 10.1.2009

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Cambodia and in Vietnam] Plan to Hold Demonstrations to Demand Rights, although They Do Not Have Permissions [by the authorities]
  • The United Nations Said that 257 Palestinian Children Died in the War in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #323, 10.1.2009

  • [The member of the Constitutional Council] Son Soubert: The Renakse Hotel Is a Monument of the Architecture during the French Colonial Time That Should Be Kept

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #179, 10.1.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Expressed Regret over the Corruption Complaint Filed by Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea at the Municipal Court [Note: Actually, the statement was not released in the name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, but in the name of the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6548, 10-11.1.2009

    Police Confiscated More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets Imported from Laos [and arrested a man – Stung Treng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3662, 10-11.1.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the State of Cambodia and now the vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann Accused Hun Sen of Violating the Right of Parliamentarians to Distribute Donations to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Forest Clearings [to create agricultural] Land in Ratanakiri Spreads More Seriously [according to a forest administration official in Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

  • 2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Accepted Complaint of Nuon Chea’s Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers
  • Cambodia Assigned to the Position of the Next Chairperson of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries [meeting held at the Hotel Le Royal on 7 January 2009]!

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Wednesday, 9.7.2008: CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming

Posted on 9 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] has finished a project to help improve the living standards of the poor in five southern provinces of Cambodia in June 2008. This project was funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction [JFPR] though the Asian Development Bank for a period of five years, and US$1.3 million were spent.

“However, what CEDAC has to think about is, after the project has finished, to choose actions that can guarantee the continuity of what has been built up. In a discussion held late June, the governor of Batheay District, Kompong Cham, raised previous experiences that there used to be many organizations assisting this district, but when their project fund came to an end, there was no continuity at all. Villagers are afraid that CEDAC might repeat the same situation when it runs out of funds. But local authorities that observe CEDAC evaluate that the project implementation of CEDAC has achieved many good results. The improvement of the living standard of the poor at the targeted community led, to some extent, to a reduction of poverty.

“Eight outstanding representative farmers from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chhnang, and Takeo asserted that their families and the members of their communities are richer, because they have attended different training courses about practices of techniques by CEDAC. There they learned how the community can save money, how to breed animals and fish, or to conserve trees, to grow crops, to do rice farming based on natural methods etc., all of which is closely related to marketability of the products.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn, a local coordinator, said that the participation by local authority representatives from villages, communes, and districts cooperating with farmers’ communities is an important factor that brings poverty alleviation at those target places. Wherever there is participation by local authorities, those places will develop more quickly.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn showed figures that among 192 villages from five provinces, 14,300 families benefited from the project. the number of farmers who cooperated is 7,300, the living standard of 500 families changed greatly; 5,900 families experienced an average change, and 800 families got poorer. The number of women who have changed their attitudes and abandoned their old habits is 3,500, and the number of youth under the same category is 900. And 1,500 of the poorest families who sold their labor to have some income have changed their living standard and have become independent farmers; the livelihood of farmers in general is better. Generally, they can earn 80% more from the increase of the agricultural production and from the reduction of other expenses. They have stepped up the basis for this to retain the continuity of their production teams, and 718 teams have saved money – they have 6,000 families as members so that they are able to link their products to markets. Each family earns from Riel 1.4 million to Riel 2.6 million [approx. US$340 to US$635 per farming season] from their agricultural products; those are 427 families in Kompong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, and Kompong Cham. Their income is from paddy rice, from the breeding of chickens and pigs, and from the planting of vegetables and other crops.

“Dr. Yang Saing Komar [dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development, International University, Phnom Penh] pointed to key measures contributing to the sustainability when there are no more external funds. What can replace funds for farmers’ communities to guarantee the continuity of their activities are human resources who have been trained with all skills since five years, always with a link to market mechanisms. All agricultural products created by the community must be taken to markets by the farmers, and they have to sell their own products. Money saved in the community is capital to replace the external funding and can guarantee the sustainability of their community. Production and the link to markets are key methods to develop the rural economy to become active. Trained persons, 995 human resources of the community, will be the main and strong activists who can continue to develop the community without depending on external funds.

“Mr. Komar added that for economic activities money is needed, ‘and we have money which was saved in our community.’ By 2011, this organization has the ambition to increase the money-saving community up to 4,000 villages countrywide, without borrowing loans or depending on foreign donor countries.

“This fund will become a basic experience which can lead to a successfully functioning market that carries great responsibility for the society, especially for the living standard of farmers, and for food security for customers, which can guarantee sustainable development at the basis.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1688, 9.7.2008

  • The Thai Constitutional Court Ruled that a Joint Communique Signed between Cambodia and Thailand Violates the Thai Constitution [as the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs acted without parliamentary endorsement]
  • The Ministry of Health Distributed More than 80 Tonnes of Abate [chemical substance that is put into stagnant water to kill mosquito eggs and larvae] to Prevent Dengue Fever
    Thousands of Thai Demonstrators Shouted at the Police to Take Action in [deposed former prime minister] Thaksin’s Case Soon [corruption and misuse of power]
  • South Korean Police Warn They Will Use Hot Actions to Suppress Demonstrators against US Beef Imports
  • Thai Rebels [in a Muslim southern Thai province] Attacked a Car Carrying Students; Two [Thai] Soldiers Were Killed and Three Students Were Injured [7 July 2008]
  • [Helicopter of] America Attacked a Wedding Ceremony in Afghanistan [killing at least 22 people]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #602, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Does Not Dare to Create Ministry of Immigration [related to illegal Vietnamese]
  • Ou Chrov District Police Chief [Mr. Ing Song You] Runs a Big Casino in Balat Guesthouse [Poipet]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #44, 9.7.2008

  • The Preah Vihear Temple Was Listed as a World Heritage Site [8 July 2008]
  • [Traffic] Accidents Increase because of [traffic] Law Violations


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

  • CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming
  • Situation at the [Preah Vihear Temple] Border Crossing Was Quiet while Cambodia Was Beating Drums and Firing Fireworks to Express Satisfaction about the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Social Network against Child Labor Was Inaugurated in Siem Reap
  • European Commission Plans to spend 1,000 Million Euro against Food Crisis


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3354, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Did Not Participate in Political Parties’ Forum about Anti-Corruption Law [8 July 2008]

Have a look at the last editorial – Without freedom of information AND an active use of this freedom, emotions can easily lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

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