Workers petition parliament and government on Labor Day

PHNOM PENH (The Cambodia Herald) — Around 10,000 workers from about 100 unions in Cambodia met Wednesday morning to mark International Labor Day on May 1st.

After the mass rally at Democratic Park, union workers marched to the National Assembly and the government to present petitions.

The workers were led by Ath Thon, President of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) and Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions.

Labor Day celebration rally initiator Ath Thon said union workers will present a speech to express their demands.

Representatives from different political parties who had won seats in parliament are also invited to answer and respond to worker’s requests as July’s general election is approaching.

Lawmakers from the National Rescue and royalist Funcinpec parties were seen waiting in front of the National Assembly to accept the petitions. 

The petitions contain 14 demands including the rise in wage to $150 per month for workers, two million Riel ($500) for civil servants, a decrease in gasoline price, and better working conditions.

Apart from demanding court to sentence Chhouk Bandith, former Bavet governor who opened fired on protesting workers, workers also appealed to famous-brand international clothing companies to seek justice for Ban Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun whom they believed were wrongly accused of murdering union leader, Chea Vichea.

Tith Sothea, member of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said the government has always promoted the rights of workers and offered proper wages.

He also appealed to union leaders and workers to keep calm to ensure security and safety in the eyes foreign investors.

Ministry of Commerce said Cambodia’s textile exports abroad in the first quarter of 2013 are worth $1.34 billion compared to $1.14 billion in the same period last year.

Cambodia’s garment exports in 2012 were worth $4.6 billion.

The report stated that around 510,682 workers are currently working in 500 garment and shoes factories, averaging $40 per month.