Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng told the UN on Wednesday that Cambodia supported its Future of Work Initiative as it prepares the workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sam Heng was speaking at a UN General Assembly Senior Meeting which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), of which Cambodia is a member.
“As we enter the second decade of promoting social justice and decent jobs for all, Cambodia supports the Future of Work Initiative. Development partners need to be focused to prepare for the challenges arising from technological advances,” he said.
Sam Heng also said Cambodia would continue applying ILO conventions, particularly the eight core ones, to ensure that labour rights and working conditions are implemented transparently and non-discriminately.
This, he said, was based on the principles of the rule of law to successfully meet the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for additional comment.
The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union’s president Ath Thorn told The Post that technological advances were positive, but the state needed to focus on improving skills through vocational training to maximise the impact.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina told The Post that the Fourth Industrial Revolution must be met with improvements in training to get the best from it.
“When adjusting to technological developments, it means we also need to better train our human resources,” he said.
Thorn said it is positive that the government had said it is committed to following ILO conventions, such as the rights and freedoms of unions, decent wages and an end to discrimination, forced labour and child labour.
“The practice of such commitments was previously very poor, especially related to union freedoms. Many complaints had been filed with the International Labour Organisation. Union leaders have been fired, violent protests broke out and discrimination was widespread,” he said.
Adding to this, Sina said: “To make working conditions better, union freedoms must be guaranteed to allow them to fully represent workers and get bosses to meet employment standards. But on the contrary, we see problems are still occurring every day.”