Factory Owners Slam Government Over Handling of Strikes

Members of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said during a conference Sunday that they are “fed up” with the government for not controlling strikes by labor unions. “All of us have the same issue: illegal strikes,” Van Porphin, a member of GMAC’s executive committee, told an audience of about 200 factory owners and managers gathered for GMAC’s Open Forum 2013 at Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld Casino. … One way to deal with the relatively high rate of industrial unrest in the country, Ms. Porphin suggested, would be to stop paying bribes to union leaders to stay off the picket lines and to instead use that money to raise wages. “Instead of giving money under the table to bad unions to settle disputes, give the money to the workers,” she suggested. … Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, said that the government was “working hard” to reduce the rate of labor strikes, but that it was ultimately up to employers and unions to manage industrial relations. “I think that the two sides should turn to negotiations to address concerns and find mutual benefits rather than fight each other to score a victory,” Mr. Sour said.

Colin Meyn and Aun Pheap