The Ministry of Labour held a workshop in Phnom Penh on Thursday which focused on creating jobs and promoting the rights of workers, health and safety in the workplace as well as social welfare of employees, as part of a five-year, $20 million programme.
Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng said: “The programme is very important for the workforce in Cambodia because it promotes rights at work and the creation of jobs, as well as increasing social welfare and safety in the workplace.
“The most important objective of this programme is to alleviate poverty by helping youths and workers who are vulnerable,” he said.
The two-day workshop engaged with relevant stakeholders, including employers, unions and non-governmental organisations to further develop the programme.
Sam Heng hailed the accomplishments of the International Labour Organisation backed programme from 2016 to 2018, including employment creation, the improvement of workers’ rights and a decrease in labour disputes. The programme also ran from 2011 to 2015.
“We set a target for the development of employment opportunities for the Cambodian workforce. Out of our 10 million-strong workforce, the employment rate is 99.3 per cent.
“Rights at work have [improved] with the labour law and union law, and social protection has been created [with the National Social security Fund] for example, while labour disputes have decreased to their lowest levels. Social protection [means] pregnant workers are now financially supported,” Sam Heng said.
Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations vice-president Sandra Dámico said Cambodia has a competitive force that needs supporting.
“Our first priority is to stress that vocational training needs to be a priority as is improving investment in the public sector. It needs to focus on quality, not quantity so that we have the best and most talented workforce in Asean."
“I really believe Cambodia has a very competitive workforce in terms of language ability and the ability to learn quickly. Technical institutions need to support them,” she said.