August 18, 2011

Factories Plagued With Non-Compliance: Survey


Problems with worker health, work security and overtime continue to plague the garment sector, according to a new survey.

The International Labor Organization’s “Better Factories Cambodia” survey of 186 factories found that the challenges in the sector will be “difficult” to resolve.

Laborers in Cambodia’s main economic earner have long complained of poor conditions and long overtime, and in recent months, a spate of factory faintings have been reported.

The sector provides around 300,000 jobs and more than $2 billion a year in exports.

The survey also found a rise in workplace discrimination and a 21 percent rise in labor strikes over the last six months.

“The report shows that compliance [to the law] is limited,” said Bun Ying, a spokesman for the ILO.
The survey found that seven of ten “non-compliance” issues at factories were related to the health of workers and their overtime.

Chea Mony, head of the Free Trade Union, said a lack of compliance in Cambodian factories had led to at least 70 strikes since January, and the loss of consciousness of perhaps 1,000 workers, either because of toxic fumes or overwork.

However, Cheat Khemara, a senior official at the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, or GMAC, said in general the working environment at Cambodian factories has improved. The association was pushing factories to improve, he said.

Officials at the Ministry of Labor either declined to comment or could not be reached Wednesday.

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