Minister lauds 1.2M workers in Thailand

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng meeting with Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand on September 25 to celebrate the Pchum Ben festival. MLVT

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng praised the 1.2 million Cambodia migrant workers working in Thailand for their dedication and strong work ethics when it comes to earning their livings, supporting their families and contributing to the national economy.

While visiting migrant workers in the neighbouring country on September 25 to celebrate the Pchum Ben festival, Samheng said Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand send around $2 billion back home in remittances to their families each year.

He also had the pleasure of telling them about the implementation of the Kingdom’s new pension scheme for the private sector – which will be rolled out from October 1.

“In the future, when you return to Cambodia, you will be able to participate in a pension scheme for the private sector – and you will receive healthcare when you reach 60 years of age,” he said.

The minister urged the migrants to respect the law, and maintain excellent public order within their expat communities. He encouraged them to acquire new skills whenever they got the chance and to work hard alongside Thai people. He also reminded them that they should return home when their work permits expire, and avoid working illegally.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon told The Post that the wages offered in Cambodia are often lower than those in its Western neighbour, and that the higher salaries on offer – along with perceived better working conditions – may be the strongest motivating factors behind the migration to Thailand.

Thon noted that when compared to countries like South Korea, wages in Thailand remains low.

He agreed with Samheng’s calls for workers to return home when their contracts and work permits end. With more skilled workers returning, the Kingdom could respond to demands for a stronger labour force and more investors may establish factories in Cambodia.

“When we have a highly trained workforce, investors will want to establish factories and new enterprises here. When the quality of our workforce is not as high as it could be, we miss out on the opportunities that investment brings. Another point to consider is the fact that since we were born, our parents have dedicated their time and resources to raising us. If as soon as we grow up, we abandon them and leave the country, what kind of people would we be?” he added.