From the TUC

World is watching as women workers protest in Cambodia

07 Mar 2014, By

The predominantly female garment workers of Cambodia will be protesting in Freedom park, Phnom Penh on Saturday, International Women’s Day. Their main concern is low wages, but they are also protesting about the restrictions on freedom of association and assembly. Their rally is billed as a ‘Forum on Labour Rights’.

Global unions are worried that the Cambodian government will respond violently, as they were over Christmas when at least 5 protesters were killed. All week the Cambodian government has been moving police and troops into position, preparing for what is designed to be a peaceful protest.

Knowing that the world is watching might just give the Cambodian government second thoughts. So TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady wrote to the Cambodian Prime Minister on Friday, and global union IndustriALL has set up an online action so that you can add your voice to those calling for restraint. Frances’ letter says:

“I am deeply concerned at reports that roughly 2,000 police officers in riot gear recently carried out crowd-control drills at Olympic Stadium. Together with the recent decision of the government to appoint the heads of the armed forces to the Committee to Solve Strikes and Demonstrations, this makes us fearful about the safety of participants in tomorrow’s protest.”

Once the weekend is over – hopefully without incident – unions will return to pressing the Government to raise the minimum wage, and looking at the role that governments and global corporates and brands can play. But we face a Cambodian employers’ organisation – GMAC – which is now calling on the Cambodian Government to denounce ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association.

2 Responses to World is watching as women workers protest in Cambodia

  1. Cambodia: unions and companies demand justice | STRONGER UNIONS
    Mar 16th 2014, 12:41 am

    […] Freedom Park demonstration, called on International Women’s Day by 18 trade unions with members in the garment sector, was designed to press the Government over […]

  2. Cambodia: an agenda for social justice and radical change | STRONGER UNIONS
    Apr 22nd 2014, 10:06 pm

    […] freedom of association: the Cambodian government must allow workers to assemble freely and abandon the freeze on the registration of new trade […]