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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Tuesday, 2.9.2008: Cambodia and Vietnam Agree to Finish Setting Border Markers by the End of 2008, while Siam Continues to Invade in the West

Posted on 3 September 2008. Filed under: Week 576 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 576

“Phnom Penh: The government of Cambodia sent another working group to Vietnam to continue the negotiations regarding the setting of land border markers, while Siamese [Thai] troops continue to invade the west of Cambodia.

“Early this week, Mr. Var Kim Hong [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] and Mr. Long Visalo [Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] led a border working group to Vietnam to discuss details of the border markings, mutually agreed at the end of 2006, in order to put land border markers as agreed previously.

“An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that during one-day negotiations on 28 August 2008, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed to finish setting 100 land border markers by the end of 2008.

“The official continued that the 1,270 km land border between Cambodia and Vietnam will be marked with more than 300 border markers, both on land and on the sea. The maps for the discussion used by both working groups are based on 1:100,000 scale maps. The maps will be used as basis for the discussions with Vietnam and Laos, in order to mark the unclear border points along the borders of both countries.

“As for the maps for the discussions and as reference with Siam [Thailand], they are based on the international French and Siamese maps or the 100/200,000 map [sic! – though this is maybe not correct, as it is not a usual scale, and it is also not probable that an old, but very detailed 1:2,000 map exists of the whole borderline, made at the time when France was the colonial power in Cambodia and negotiated with Thailand]. However, the official said that to put border markers at the Cambodian and Vietnamese border, and border markers at the Cambodian and Laotian border is easy to be achieved, because Vietnam and Laos recognize the maps mentioned above. As for Siam, it bases its arguments on the maps made between Siam and France without any discussion with Cambodia [because at that time, there was no Cambodian government, but the French held the state authority]. This is the point why Cambodia does not accept the demands by the Siamese side.

“Mr. Var Kim Hong, the head of the Cambodian Border Committee, reported to Kampuchea Thmey that the Cambodian working group visiting Vietnam early last week signed an agreement on the points of convergence between Cambodia and Vietnam, and between Cambodia and Laos. ‘We met as the working groups of the three countries, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, to discuss about the setting of 100 border markers by the end of 2008. During this meeting, we wanted to speed up the marking of the border lines of the three countries according to each stage.’

“Mr. Var Kim Hong added, ‘We will continue to study to set more than 300 border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam, according to our legal policies and the Indochina Scale Map. During the meeting we confirmed to fulfill more of the agreements of early 2005. Nevertheless, Cambodia is optimistic that solutions for the Cambodian and Vietnamese border, and for the Cambodian and Laotian border are easy to be discussed, because we depend on [intergovernmental] memorandums of understanding.’

“An official of the government said that after the working groups of the three countries agreed about common maps, ‘we will use instruments receiving the data of the Global Positioning System – GPS – by pressing at the locator button [to identify the location]; for some points – the three sides said – if the GPS shows that Cambodia extends into Vietnamese territory, and in some areas Vietnam extends into Cambodia – and similarly for Laos – then each side will have to withdraw from those points.’

“As for the border between Cambodia and Siam, Mr. Var Kim Hong said that ‘we now cannot say how to solve it, because negotiations are stalled.’ He added, “We have sufficient maps as references, but we cannot talk now, because the negotiations cannot proceed, as there is a crisis in Siam’ [which started some days ago]. He went on to say that he is still confident that Cambodia and Thailand can solve their dispute.

“Although the government of Cambodia hopes the borders between Cambodia and Siam can be clearly established, Siam still continues to invade Cambodia with no end. Though now a crisis erupted in their country, they still let their troops invade Cambodia along the border.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1735, 2.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 2 September 2008


Chakraval, Vol.16, #2807, 2.8.2008

  • Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protest at Municipal Office Demanding a Solution from the Company Before Soil Is Pumped in [1 September 2008]
Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh

Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh

In spite of the concerns of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of the President of the Natinal Assembly Heng Samrin, this lake may disappear – see also the editorial of the previous Sunday: Click here to have a look at the last editoria.


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1735, 2.8.2008

  • Cambodia and Vietnam Agree to Finish Setting Border Markers by the End of 2008, while Siam Continues to Invade in the West
  • Political Crisis in Siam [Thailand] Leads to a Complete Deadlock


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #88, 2.8.2008

  • People Demand Municipality Stop Filling Boeng Kak Lake
  • Forest Crimes Increase in Batheay District [Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3554, 2.8.2008

  • Income from Oil Will Benefit Only Leaders and Corrupt Officials
  • Siamese Troops Enter and Build Base, 2 km inside of Khmer Land at Dangrek Mountains [Oddar Meanchey]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4683, 2.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Will Complain to the International Community after the Announcement of the Election Results Today
  • National Election Committee Did Better Than UNTAC Did [United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia 1992/93]; the National Election Committee Counted Votes Immediately After Elections [says National Election Committee chairperson Im Suorsdey]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3399, 2.8.2008

  • Mystery of the Cobra Two Karaoke Parlor: Women Working there [are required to] Wear No Underwear [Kien Svay, Kandal]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – will the Prime Minister’s concern for the environment continue to be violated?

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