Trade Unions Discuss Wages of Workers while Buying Orders Decreased to 40% – Tuesday 17.3.2009

Posted on 19 March 2009. Filed under: Week 604 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 604

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: Trade unions and the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies found that to live properly, wages of industrial workers, especially garment workers, should be between US$87 and US$113 per month excluding overtime wages.

“Nevertheless, during a discussion on 16 March 2009 at the Phnom Penh Hotel, supported by the [German] Friedrich Ebert Foundation, trade unions and the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies have not brought up any new measure to increase wages for workers, because of feeling threats from the global economic crisis.

“According to research conducted by the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies since December 2008 until January 2009, by interviewing 353 garment workers (91% are female and 9% are male) from 47 factories around Phnom Penh: the average earning of a worker is US$79 per month from garment work, including the basic wage, additional wages according to production achievements, former wages, overtime payments, livelihood allowances, skills’ wage additionals, and various awards. But if overtime payment is not included, a worker earns only US$67 on average. As for their total expenses, both the expenses for daily necessities of a worker and their financial obligations (money to be sent to support their family), is US$72 per month on average, where US$57 (80%) are individual necessities (food and accommodation), and US$15 per month is to be sent home.

“As for the savings among workers interviewed, 81% have positive savings – that is US$10 per month can be saved – while 19% lack US$8 on average, because they earn low wages and do not work overtime, and their expenses are high, as they have to send much money to their home. This problem leads to the need for some support from their home, such as a supply of rice, fish, meat, or taking up additional loans.

“The director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies, Mr. Kang Chandararath, said that US$57 per month, or around US$1.90 per day, is available for daily necessities, and this is far less than the figure calculated by the National Institute of Statistics, which had estimated that for living in Phnom Penh, at least US$3 is necessary per day. According to the research, most workers, 85%, are not satisfied with their current wages, while 13% said that they are somewhat satisfied, and 3% said that they are satisfied.

“The president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union – C.CAWDU, Mr. Ath Thun, said regarding the wages of workers that he had gone to Hong Kong in China to attend a meeting, and he demanded that thorough research be done, and he submitted it as a request to the Royal Government. But the secretary-general of the National Industrial Federation Trade Union of Cambodia – NIFTUC, Mr. Kim Chansamnang, said that the wages of workers are still under discussions.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Oum Mean, said that he does not dismiss this research, but he would like to call on workers to understand the difficulties of Cambodia, which was and which is being affected by the global economic crisis – and the whole world is the market of Cambodia. When economies decline, they do not have much income, and their demand will decline, making their buying orders in Cambodia also to drop. If there are no buying orders, the factories have to close, and not just US$70 or US$80 will be lost, but there will be nothing.

“Mr. Oum Mean asked workers to stay calm until the situation gets better. The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Van So Ieng, said that in just the two months of 2009, buying orders for Cambodia declined to 40%. As for the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, he said recently that 70 factories closed since the economic crisis erupted in August 2008, and this made more than 51,000 workers jobless. Aware of this hard situation, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, called on 24 February 2009, during a certificate awarding ceremony to graduates, on workers not to demonstrate or to strike, in order to avoid the closure of factories which would lead to job losses.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1899, 17.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #39, 17.3.2009

  • America: Airports and the Sea Are the Places where Drugs Come Out from Cambodia
  • [Former Phnom Penh Police chief] Criminal Heng Pov Will Be Sentenced on 24 March 2009 for Murdering the Editor-in-Chief of Koh Santepheap

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #140, 17.3.2009

  • Thieves Broke into [six] Gold Stalls in the Olympic Market and Took Away Gold Worth Half a Million Dollars [police have not yet identified the thieves]
  • Israel Plans to Invite the Cambodian Prime Minister to Make an Official Visit
  • A Storm Destroyed 34 Houses, Seriously Wounded Eight People, and Lightly Wounded Four [Banteay Meanchey]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1899, 17.3.2009

  • Trade Unions Discuss Wages of Workers while Buying Orders Decreased to 40%
  • [Deputy Prime Minister and secretary-general of Funcinpec] Nhek Bun Chhay Plans to Sue CTN TV Presenter [Soy Sopheap for defaming Funcinpec five times]; More Than 2,000 Funcinpec Members Prepare to Demonstrate in Front of the CTN Television Station
  • Video of [a karaoke singer who suffered an acid attack in 1999 because of an affair with a high ranking official] Tat Marina’s Life Shown in Switzerland on 8 March 2009 [International Women’s Rights Day] Now Reaches Cambodia [the video was delivered to a human rights organization to make copies and distribute them to journalists]
  • [Ousted prime minister] Thaksin Encourages People to Support the Puea Thai Party so that He Can Return

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6604, 17.3.2009

  • Former Japanese Ambassador [Imagawa Yukio] Visits Cambodia Regarding Various Developments
  • Germany Grants Euro 130,000 for the UN Inter Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region [UNIAP]
  • 69-Year-Old Man Raped 7-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #1713, 17.3.2009

  • Ieng Sary’s Lawyers Appeal against the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Order to Close Their Website – http://sites.google.com/site/iengsarydefence/
  • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party]: Hun Sen Government Faces Lack of Resources to Support Government Processes in 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4847, 17.3.2009

  • An Arrest Warrant Is Released for an Advisor of a Leader [not mentioning who] for Deceiving and Using Fake Documents

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1674, 17.3.2009

  • Head of the Biggest Hospital in Cambodia Goes to Receive Treatment in Singapore [the director of the Calmette Hospital, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Heng Taikry, suffered a stroke]
  • Opposition Party and a Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO] Advise [CTN TV presenter and editor-in-chief of Deum Ampil] Soy Sopheap to Stick to Journalism [by stopping to use his position as a journalist to attack different political parties]

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Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak – Friday, 13.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], there are at present more than 1,000 trade unions of workers, including factory trade unions, tourism industry trade unions, construction workers trade unions, and informal economic sector trade unions. However, even though there are many trade unions, their freedom is still limited, they face discrimination from union to union, like threats and restrictions of their freedom of expression.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said, ‘There are surely many trade unions, but many of them do not have members at garment factories. Nevertheless, the Cambodian Federation of Trade Unions with the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers as a member has done a lot of work to demand different, improved working conditions for garment workers, especially also demands for salaries.’

“Mr. Rong Chhun added ‘If all trade unions unite into one, demands by workers of trade unions will be stronger. As for now, there are two kinds of unions, among them only a small number of trade unions work for garment workers, while a large number of trade unions are created just to have names, but there are no members from the factories in those trade unions.’

“A high ranking official of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Cheat Khemara, said that most disputes in factories happen, because demands of some trade unions are against the labor law, like the rate of major salary changes of garment workers, or disputes erupt when factory owners could not solve problems since the demands are against the law. If garment workers till trust those who provoke them without checking the labor law, both garment workers and owners, their employers, will lose benefits and the production of the garment industry, known to be a major force that made it possible for the Cambodian economy to grow so far, drops also.

“Mr. Khemara went on to say, ‘Activities which are against the law, do not strengthen law enforcement, and are burdened with individual interests that are against the development of the national economy.’

“The president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘At present, there are many trade unions of workers, but they do not have much substance.’ She explained that trade unions are not strong, because most of them are not independent, and they are under political influence.

“It should be noted that trade unions are weak because they do not yet have developed mutual solidarity, and sometimes, there is infiltration and fractionalism imported from outside. Also, all demands by trade unions seem not to be strongly focused by factory owners and by the government. As for the freedom of expression as well as to march and to demonstrate on a large scale, these activities are barred.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak
  • [Former commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Becomes [the tenth] Deputy Prime Minister, and [deputy national military police commander] Chhin Chanpor Becomes Deputy Commander of the Army [after the National Assembly provided a vote of confidence]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: An Advisor to [President of National Assembly and Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin Used a Weapon to Warn US Embassy Officials [the Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naruth, said that this person is identified, he works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this case was already been reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because the US Embassy lodged already a complaint]
  • The South Korean President [Mr. Lee Myung-Bak] Plans to Visit Cambodia in 2009
  • Pyongyang Will Launch a Satellite on 8 April 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1896, 13.3.2009

  • An Additional Punishment of 16 Years Imprisonment Was Added to Heng Pov, so that His Imprisonment Is Increased to 74 Years and 6 Months; His [five] Accomplices Received Additional 15 Years Imprisonment Each [for conspiracy to murder the commander of the National Military Police, Mr. Sao Sokha – based on an anonymous death threat letter]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #363, 13.3.2009

  • Documentary Movie about the Acid Attack on Ms. Tat Marina [known to have had an affair with a high ranking official] Was Shown in Geneva
  • [The big soccer betting company] CamboSix Demands US$12 Million from the Hole-in-Basket Government for Contract Violation [because their contract, valid until 2011, was canceled]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3710, 13.3.2009

  • Income from Garment Industry Declined by US$180 Million Compared to [January] 2008

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4844, 13.3.2009

  • The National Assembly Provided a Vote of Confidence for Ten New Members of the Royal Government [with 86 votes in favor among 87, and the opposition parties absent]
  • The National Election Committee Affirms Again that Only Four Parties Will Participate in the [District and Provincial/City] Council Elections [the Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and the Sam Rainsy Party]
  • There Are About 10 Mobile Phone Companies and More Than 4 Million Mobile Phones [according the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1671, 13-14.3.2009

  • Opposition Parties Boycott the Meeting of the National Assembly to Conduct a Vote of Confidence to Assign New Members of the Government

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