Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate – Wednesday, 18.8.2010

Posted on 19 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Local Unemployment urges more Khmer workers to migrate to find jobs in foreign countries, especially in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Siam [Thailand], and Taiwan. This makes many Khmer citizens to suffer from the exploitation of their labor, and lead to human rights abuses and forced labor, which make them to get sick and sometimes it leads to fatal sicknesses. In addition, sometimes Khmer workers who were domestic servants, have been mistreated and did not have sufficient nutrition, and the companies that sent them to work abroad, never cared about their living conditions.

“According to officials of a human rights organization, there are 26 licensed companies that are sending Khmer workers abroad, but there are also some unlicensed companies. Many Khmer workers abroad suffered from various abuses, and some of them died. When Khmer workers endured such misery or died abroad, the companies did not intervene to find justice for the victims, and also the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training did not help to find proper solutions, following the laws of Cambodia.

“Officials of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], said that they received information about four victimized women who asked for intervention to take them back from Malaysia in July 2010. Some were mistreated by not having enough food, some were beaten and even raped, and some were forced to work like cattle without a break. Those who work at factories were forced to work overtime, straining their working conditions, and violating the previous promises of companies in Cambodia, as the actual situation in Malaysia is quite different from the promises.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia said that from 2008 to 2010, they have received 92 complaints from Khmer workers abroad, and there were 130 victims. Some female workers who just returned from Malaysia said that they were mistreated by not having enough food, they were insulted and intimidated. This happened to them since they were sent to work as domestic servants in Malaysia. More than that, their passports were taken away, so that they had difficulties in finding outside assistance and to return to Cambodia, unless they were able to run to the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia.

“According to officials of the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility [CARAM] organization that monitors the situation of migrant workers, about 20,000 female workers are laboring in Malaysia, more than 200,000 in Siam [Thailand], about 9,000 in Korea, and many others in Arab countries, as well as in Japan and in Taiwan. The executive director of CARAM, Mr. Ya Navuth, said that poverty, unemployment, and the threatening global economic crisis force Khmer citizens to leave Cambodia to find jobs in other countries. More and more Khmer workers migrate abroad, though they already know that they will have to face many difficulties. Observers noticed that poverty, unemployment, and no land for farming are factors that make Cambodian citizens to take the risk to seek jobs abroad. These factors are the results of wrong policies of the government that does not contribute to broad economic growth, so that citizens can get jobs and earn an income to live properly. Formerly, the government banned citizens from migrating abroad – like to Thailand – but the government does not create jobs for a large section of the population, for people who are unemployed, so that they cannot earn their daily living.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia discovered that many Khmer workers suffered from abuses of their human rights and of violations of labor laws, and from being trafficked, but they did not gain much support from officials of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training under the administration of [Minster] Vong Soth. Contracts between workers and companies exist only on papers, while in reality companies both in Cambodia and abroad violate those contracts. In fact, the conditions set in the contracts are good, but at work at their destination, companies take away their passports , and worst of all, their difficulties do not receive caring attention from the companies at all.

“Officials of human right organizations watching over migrant workers noticed that by now, there is still no mechanism to address the difficulties of workers abroad by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, though it is reported that some companies forced Khmer workers to labor like slaves day and night. More than that, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training seems insensitive about the scandals of some companies, sending workers abroad, though those companies violate the labor law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2330, 18.8.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Gathered 23 Homeless People [and sent them to the Phnom Penh Social Center]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7037, 18.8.2010

  • Police Intercepted 245 Kg of Wildlife Meat to Be Exported to Vietnam [perpetrators have not yet been caught – Ratanakiri]
  • In 2010, There Were More Intercepted Cases of Human Trafficking Than Last Year [in the first six months of 2010, 104 suspects including 10 foreigners were detained and there were 269 victims]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

  • Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #33, 18.8.2010

  • Court Will Hear [the opposition party leader] Sam Rainsy’s Case on 8 September 2010 over a Charge of Disinformation
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the Citizens to Eat Pork Again, but They Must Cook It Well [recently, there was a breakout of blue ear diseases on pigs, which had led to the banning of pig imports from neighboring countries]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #239, 18.8.2010

  • The Government Promised to Cover 50% of the Risk of Loans in Agriculture – the government will cover 50% of the risk of loans by commercial banks providing loans for the expansion of rice production, so that Cambodian rice export can reach 1 million tonnes by 2015]
  • Four Vietnamese Citizens Were Tried for Illegally Operating Brothels [if they are found guilty, they will be sentenced to serve from two to three years in prison]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5279, 18.8.2010

  • Cambodia Sets 2015 as the Year When At Least One Million Tonne of Rice Is to be Exported [according to Prime Minister Hun Sen – that would be an 80-fold increase in 5 years !!!]
  • A Robber Shot Dead a Teacher to Rob His Motorbike in Stung Meanchey District [Phnom Penh]

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A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly – Saturday, 7.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: An opposition party parliamentarian asked the Minister of Labor, Mr. Vong Soth, to clarify questions at the session of the National Assembly on 12 August 2010, regarding the demand for a salary increase of workers and employees.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, wrote a letter on 5 August 2010 to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and to the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei, Heng Samrin, to suggest that the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, clarifies some irregularities at [the next meeting of] the National Assembly about the responsibility of the Ministry and the demands for a salary increase of workers and employees, as well as about the management and protection of workers abroad.

“Mr. Son Chhay’s letter says that the request for Mr. Vong Soth to appear at the National Assembly to clarify questions was made while looking at the actual situation that exists in the country, relating to the demand for a wage increase where the Royal Government has a duty to consider this and should not take any contrasting action.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in his letter that according to the labor law of 1997, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training has the authority to define the minimum wage for work in all sectors, but the limited wage of US$50 which was in force for many years without any increase is against an universal principle, where the minimum wages in the world are increasing by 5.7% each year, and if this figure is applied on the minimum wage of Khmer workers by taking only 5% within 10 years, Khmer workers could have received a minimum wage of at least US$85.50, and this amount is still low, compared with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, where food, electricity, travel, and rents are much cheaper than in our country.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that also a study by the Cambodia Institute of Development Study (CIDS) showed differences between the minimum wage and the income that workers can earn additionally by working overtime, and this can be confusing and it might be the cause for the slow reaction from the Ministry to define the annual minimum wage scale for Khmer workers. He thinks that the demand of a minimum salary of US$93 per month is an appropriate demand, but the Royal Government is slow in organizing the public administration and in applying some legal principles to provide good and trustworthy services. In order to attract foreign investors, the government should coordinate discussions to sett the minimum wage to US$85 from September 2010, and it must carry out a 5% increase every year, starting from January of the coming year.

“Regarding the above request, Kampuchea Thmey could not ask for comments from the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, as he said that he was far away, and then he turned off his phone.

“Relating to a wage increase for workers and employees, the Ministry of Labor had decided during a council meeting on 8 July 2010 to add US$11 to the previous wage [so the minimum wage was raised to US$61].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

  • A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7028, 7-8.8.2010

  • The Appeals Court of the Ubon Province of Siam [Thailand] Heard the Case of Sixteen Khmer Citizens [they had been tried already twice to be imprisoned for entering Thai territory to cut down trees illegally]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3952, 7-8.8.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Considers the Impounding of More Than Riel 4 Million [approx. US$ 950 per month] of Her Salary to Compensate Her Accuser as a Threat and Force, and She Continues to Demand Court Reforms [she lost in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation suit against her]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #24, 7.8.2010

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Cannot Wait for Long if Thailand Has No Will to Solve the Dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia
  • Diseased Red Pigs Are Still Imported through the Sampov Loun Border Crossing in Battambang [expert officials said that eating their meat can cause breast or uterus cancer]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5270, 7.8.2010

  • A Delegation of Former Vietnamese Experts in Cambodia [from 1979, after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime] Pay a Visit to Cambodia and Meet with Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • [Seven] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Associations [jointly] Stated that They Do Not Have Any Intention to Overthrow the Vietnamese Government [it is in response to the Deputy Minister of Security of Vietnam, who recently asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to help prevent Khmer Kampuchea Krom people from various problem actions, including hiring of private and public radios’ air time]
  • Within Four Years [2006 to 2009], the Cambodian Red Cross Was Able to Raise Nearly US$28 Million [donated by generous people and by international partners]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct an Elevated Road near the Lok Song Hospital [Preah Kosamak Hospital] in Late 2010 [at the junction between Road 271 and the Russian Federation Boulevard]

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ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents – Friday, 30.4.2010

Posted on 1 May 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that in Cambodia more than 1,500 people were killed last year by occupational accidents. That means four persons die each day at their workplace.

“Regarding these occupational accidents, ILO announced that Cambodia will celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 30 April 2010 by a march in Kampot City.

“The celebration on 30 April 2010 will be held under the topic ‘Understanding about Your Safety and Health Hazards and the Prevention of Occupational Accidents.’

“The head of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Leng Tong, said that in 2009, nearly 3,000 workers in Cambodia suffered from serious accidents relating to their work.

“The president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, which has a membership in the fields of tourism, garment production, and construction, Mr. Ath Thun, considers the figures provided by ILO about deaths at work places as based on accurate monitoring.

“Mr. Ath Thun said that Cambodia is a developing country, and in general, investors in Cambodia do not care much about the health of workers, while also the government does not pay much attention to the health of workers. As health issues of employees and workers do not receive much attention, this results in accidents happening continually. In recent years, there is a fast growing number of high-rise buildings that do not have occupational safety systems, and there is no clear regulation about who has to take the responsibility when accidents happen, and when workers are killed, whether their families get proper compensation, or they are left with little money.

“Mr. Ath Thun added that most occupational accidents occur at construction sites and brick kilns, in fishery, as well as at other companies, institutions, and small enterprises that are not following standards and that do not have proper occupational protection systems. In the garment sector, workers often lost a hand or suffered from chemical substances that affect their health. Some others encountered traffic accidents when they went to or came out of their factories.

“The recent announcement by ILO, on 29 April 2010, says that the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia has broadened its publications about occupational safety and health to the provincial level, conducting a public demonstration in Kampot. More than 350 participants, representatives of the government and of employers and employees, will join to celebrate by marching from the Kampot Bridge along the river, carrying signs and banners with slogans on the way to the next celebration site at the Kampot Municipality to listen to speeches and to watch performances about safety.

“Along the roads in Kampot, banners with slogans are on display, and leaflets to promote public understanding about the importance of occupational safety and health are distributed.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in charge of occupational safety and health, AIDS, and social security, Mr. Huy Hansong, who will chair the event in Kampot on 30 April 2010, said in the announcement that health and safety hazards – problems that have been occurring at present – cannot be identified only through normal ways assuming people’s general understanding. ‘We must have new ways to deal with these dangers and educate workers and employees about practical and new measures of prevention.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, he said that the Royal Government of Cambodia highly prioritizes the improvement of the quality of life of the people. Ensuring a healthy, safe, and productive atmosphere are key factors to achieve this goal. Cambodia is implementing, at the national level, a system for stronger occupational safety and health, in order to offer sufficient protection for the occupational safety and health for all workers and employees.

“The announcement also quotes an ILO specialist on occupational safety and health for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, Mr. Kawakami Tsuyoshi [川上 剛], as saying that ‘this is the fifth time that Cambodia celebrates this international day, and this shows the commitment of Cambodia to achieve occupational safety and health. But we must not be too proud. We should consolidate our effort to get closer to the employees at their workplaces and to provide them with practical support to prevent accidents.’

“It should be noticed that the celebration of the International World Day for Safety and Health at Work by a march in Kampot in the morning of 30 May 2010 is funded by the Korea Program of the ILO, the Better Factories Cambodia program of the ILO, and by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #465, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Equips Troops with More Modern Weapons [saying that Cambodia will shoot back with DK 12.7-milimeter machine guns and B40 rockets if invaded]
  • The European Union Plans to Show Films Promoting Women in Society [from 3 to 9 May 2010 at the French Cultural Center – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2236, 30.4.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian Confederation Union] Mr. Rong Chhun, Plans to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” despite Not Having a Permission from the Authorities
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Left to Attend the Shanghai 2010 World-Expo [in China]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Was Arrested for Raping a 14-Year-Old Boy [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6943, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Wants Indonesia to Manufacture Agricultural Machinery in Cambodia [according to the report about a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Ngurah Swajaya, at the end of his mission in Cambodia]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3867, 30.4.2010

  • Trade Unions Can March to Send a Petition to the National Assembly [on 1 May 2010], but the Authorities Prohibit to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea”
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Cambodia Has to Adhere to Its International Obligations and Only Communist Countries Use the Word “Interference in Internal Affairs” [recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia issued a diplomatic note to request foreign ambassadors not to interfere in Cambodian internal affairs – ((actually, the term “Interference in Internal Affairs” is regularly used as a traditional principle of ASEAN))]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #161, 30.4.2010

  • Documentary Film about [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Vichea’s Murder Is Not Allowed to Be Shown in Public [as there is no permission from any minister]
  • Russia Wants to Buy More Rice but Is Negotiating the Price [Russia wants to buy 20,000 tonnes of rice in 2010]
  • Tropical Storm in Preah Vihear Destroyed Twenty Houses and Injured Three People

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

  • ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents
  • Cambodia Announced to Have Taken Full Control of the Ta Krabei Temple [at the Cambodian-Thai border]; Siamese [Thai] Citizens and Soldiers Can Go There as Visitors
  • More Than Five Tonnes of No-Quality Bra Fish [a fresh water fish] and Quails Imported from Vietnam Were Seized [Kandal – the may be detrimental to health if eaten]

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Patterns to Guide Reforms – “Starfish” or “Spiders”? – Sunday, 17.1.2010

Posted on 18 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

Any regular observer of the media in Cambodia knows that in spite of all the positive developments, since 7 January 1997 (the end of the Khmer Rouge regime), since the time of the UNTAC administration 1992/1993, and since the establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is a variety of different, sometimes opposing interpretations or observations of what has happened.

This is normal in any society. And for the political world of the Kingdom of Cambodia, this state of affairs is also confirmed to be appropriate by the Constitution which says in its Preamble:

“…to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory…”

This describes a process: “to restore” means that the goal is not yet reached. But how to reach it, when even the understanding of what is going on at present is so divergent?

From the past week, we present an example of such conflicting views:

11.1.2010:
Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions
…the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities…

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.

And a response:

12.1.2010:

An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be announced to the authorities in advance]

To have different views is not a surprise. But this poses the question about the methods to reach solutions. There are different models: to impose an intended goal to be reached – or to try to work out a consensus among those involved and affected. The Constitution clearly favors the latter method:

Article 35:

  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall be given the right to participated actively in the political , economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
  • Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State

Article 51:

  • The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
  • The Cambodian people are the masters of their country.
  • All powers belong to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
  • The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial powers shall be separated.

While it is clear who is the master of the country – the people – how this works out – through the National Assembly, the Royal Government, and the Judiciary – is an ongoing dynamic process which also includes differences and conflicts of opinion, as is normal in a pluralistic liberal democratic society.

It is interesting that more recent sociological research shows that in modern societies, there are more and more movements and events happening without central leadership at the top, but in a decentralized way, which makes it also more and more difficult to control them centrally.

A bestselling book in the USA analyzes such trends – co-authored by the former director of the National Cyber Security Center of the USA who is now president of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN – the organization that monitors and coordinates the highly decentralized operations of the Internet – under the title The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (originally it had been planned to be published as “The Decentralized Revolution”):

 Starfish and the Spider

The Starfish and the Spider

IT’S A STARFISH WORLD AND MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication – around ideologies like Al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

Source: The Starfish and the Spider, by Brafman and Beckstrom, Portfolio Hardcover (October 5, 2006), ISBN-10: 1591841437

Does this insight also have a meaning for the future of Cambodia? Will it move towards more and more centralized power – or will the decentralization and deconcentration process, operated as part of the administrative reforms, get more weight? A statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior from 2005 seems to aim at this for the structures of public administration, when he says:

“In this regard, the provincial/municipal governor is not the controller of commune/Sangkat. Rather, the provincial/municipal governor plays the role of a facilitator and coordinator to support communes/Sangkats.”

But the process, documented in the independent news website K7, is dragging on – naturally – very long, some say too slowly – though moving into the right direction.

The vision of the starfish, the aspirations of the organized civil society, and “the people” tend, of course, to move sometimes faster, and further, and into directions that cannot be foreseen.

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Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions – Monday, 11.1.2010

Posted on 11 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers stated that there were more than 100 demonstrations and strikes held by workers in 2009, but this number is less than in previous years. However, the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities.

“Generally, demonstrations and strikes do not achieve 100% results, but only through them can problems of workers get solved up to 70%. He said that when demonstrations and strikes are conducted by workers, there can be solutions, but if not, there are not any solutions for their problems. He added, ‘We do not use demonstrations and strikes as a weapon to trouble factory owners or the government, but it is because some factories do not respect working condition regulations at all, and strikes are held because the relevant ministries are incapable of implementing the law. Thus, the procedures to demonstrate and to strike is a good way for workers, or it can be considered as a good medicine to solve their problems.’

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #384, 10-11.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 11 January 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #93, 11.1.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Mr. Chea Mony Asked the United States Not to Impose Taxes on Garment Products Exported from Cambodia to the United States

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #384, 10-11.1.2010

  • Chea Mony: That Demonstarations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2147, 10-11.1.2010

  • A Major Shot About 10 Times into the Air [reason unknown], but the Authorities Did not Dare Not to Arrest Him [though there were soldiers at a nearby post, and also military police and police did not arrest him – Prampi Makara district, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6854, 11.1.2010

  • Nearly Two Tonnes of Quails and Hundreds of Bottles of Johnie Walker Whisky [of no quality] Were Burnt or Destroyed [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #86, 11.1.2010

  • Prices of Gasoline Start to Rise Again [to about US$1.07 Premium and US$1.04 Regular per liter in Cambodia after the price at international markets for crude oil increased up to US$90.25 per barrel]
  • Officials [of the Ministry of Health] Are Concerned about the Spreading of Cholera in the Dry Season [because of unsanitary living conditions]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5096, 10-11.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Court Will Open the Hearing on [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy on 27 January 2010 [over the removal of border markers]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1853, 11-12.1.2010

  • The Court Will Convict Five Citizens and Mr. Sam Rainsy on 27 January over [the removal] of Border Marker 185
  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Will Be Indicted and Added into Case 002 with [four other] Khmer Rouge Top Leaders [Nuon Chea, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith]

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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.

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