More than a month after a scathing report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on labour rights abuse, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has said it is committed to "maintaining a high level of labour and social compliance."
In a statement to mark the International Labor Day, GMAC claimed Cambodia "continues to be recognized as a pioneer in setting standards for labor and social compliance and the ground breaking initiative of linking trade to labor standards is currently being emulated by other apparel-producing countries all over the world."
The garment sector is by far Cambodia’s largest sector and employer, accounting for more than 15 per cent of Cambodia’s GDP.
"In Cambodia, only employees in the garment and foot wear industry are guaranteed a minimum wage and other legally mandated allowances such as the attendance bonus and housing/ transport allowance. Together with other performance based erring possibility and bonuses make Cambodia’s garment workers some of the most well-paid in the region," the statement claimed.
GMAC said it was “pleased to work alongside other stakeholders including the ministry of labour and vocational training, the Internal Labour Organization (ILO) as well as trade unions," yet the ILO and many trade unions are locked in constant battles with GMAC over workers' rights, factory regulations and an increased minimum wage.”
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said, "So far the GMAC has discriminated against unionists. Many garment factories violate workers' rights."
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an extensive study of Cambodia's garment industry in March, documenting widespread abuse, discrimination and lawlessness. The report said that even the government department created to regulate the industry was mired in widespread corruption and graft.
"We welcome GMAC and their willingness to cooperate with the trade unions and the ILO in order to improve working standard and respect the code of conduct of the worker," Mony said. (SH)
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India