Hun Sen gives factory workers 2-day break for June elections

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Voters cast their ballots in the national election of 2018 at the Fine Arts School in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district in July of that year. Heng Chivoan

The government will give all factory workers two days off to participate in the June 5 commune council elections. Owners of factories and manufacturing enterprises will be required to pay wages and other benefits as normal.

In Virak Cheat, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, announced the policy in a letter dated May 20 to Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng.

“[Prime Minister Hun Sen] has granted the request for workers’ leave one day before the election and for the day after the poll, so they will be able to cast their ballots easily ... with all wages and benefits maintained,” the letter read.

In a separate letter to all factory owners or management, Samheng emphasised that the election holiday was not considered optional or contingent and factory managers should not require that workers show proof of voting or other documents once they return to work.

“For the workers who are absent beyond the mandated break, they will be subject to the internal rules of the factories in force regarding absenteeism from their jobs. Employers are expected to pay their workers their wages before the election holiday and if they have no ability to make payroll on that date, then please allow your workers to ask for advances on their wages,” Samheng wrote.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), told The Post briefly on May 24 that GMAC would communicate this to its members.

National Trade Union Coalition president Far Saly welcomed the decision.

“I think it’s correct because in the past there used to be difficulties, but now there won’t be if the government gives them all these days off and makes voting an occasion for contentment and harmony among them. Under these circumstances, I believe worker turnout for the vote will be high,” he said.