US labour federation renews vow to boost trade, resolve disputes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations has announced its intention to continue working in Cambodia to boost trade and resolve labour disputes. Hong Menea

The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO) has announced its intention to continue working in Cambodia to boost trade between the US and the Kingdom, and resolve labour disputes.

On Monday, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng met with AFL-CIO’s International Department director Cathy Feingold.

During the meeting, Feingold said AFL-CIO will continue its cooperation with the ministry, a post on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said.

“AFL-CIO said it will continue to cooperate with Cambodia to boost trade, which connects working conditions between the two countries,” the ministry said.

It noted that: “The AFL-CIO also participates in resolving labour disputes, as well as in the strengthening of inspection officials, amendments to the Labour Law and the Law on Trade Unions.”

During the meeting, Sam Heng also noted that the ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity (ACILS) last year, establishing a framework for cooperation to contribute to the implementation of labour policy.

“His Excellency Minister Ith Sam Heng urged ACILS to fulfil its trade registration obligations and continue strengthening cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training by focusing on enhancing basic union capacity, disseminating the Labour Law, the Law on Trade Unions, the Law on Minimum Wage and the Law on the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

“Work must also focus on strengthening the capacity of labour dispute reconciliation officials, promoting harmony in professional relations and social dialogues, and strengthening the sustainability of the Arbitration Council,” the ministry said.

It said Feingold expressed satisfaction with trade relations between the US and Cambodia, and their implications on labour conditions here. She said her organisation was committed to strengthening this cooperation.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Tuesday that labour disputes must be resolved according to the law. He noted that Monday’s meeting mainly sought to strengthen cooperation between the countries and exchange ideas.

“The meeting did not seek to change the procedures or the laws of any country,” he said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina told The Post on Tuesday that Cambodian unions face a plethora of problems derived from recent amendments to the Law on Trade Unions.

“The application of this law remains a problem for the unions. If unions face difficulties exercising their rights, the rights of workers in Cambodia are in peril,” he claimed.

AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the US. It is composed of 55 national and international trade unions. In the US, it represents 12.5 million working men and women.