At 10th Anniversary, Arbitration Council Faces Funding Shortage

The Arbitration Council, an independent body that resolves labor disputes in Cambodia’s garment sector, celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday, though officials expressed concern that funding for the body was due to run out in March next year. Oum Mean, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor, said the Arbitration Council currently receives all its funding from the World Bank’s good governance project and that more funds are needed to ensure the body–which has resolved nearly 1,500 industrial disputes, survives. … Speaking after the conference, Mr. Mean said it was not the responsibility of the government to fund the body but that of the Arbitration Council itself. … In the 10 years since funding for the International Labor Organization helped establish the Arbitration Council, it has resolved nearly 1,500 industrial disputes involving more than 600,00 workers. It also claims an 80 percent success rate in preventing strikes during negotiations.