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Union busting in Cambodia

30 August, 2023Shun Xin Luggage Industry in Cambodia is refusing to renew the employment contracts of eight members of Collective Movement of Workers (CUMW) after they formed a local union. 

For years, employers in Cambodia have been using fixed duration contracts (FDC) to infringe freedom of association and get rid of local union leaders. Cambodian labour law allows employers to hire workers under FDC for a period of two years, which can be extended for another two years. Workers employed under the FDCs do not have job security and are vulnerable to exploitation.  

Company management discontinued the FDCs of the local union leaders Ley Phearin, Bo Visal, Sao Phal and Yun Sokha on different dates in July and August.  

As soon as their contracts came to an end, the employers refused to renew their contracts and claimed there were no violations of workers’ rights.  

The contracts of the other four unionists Than Darin, Nay Lihuo, Chres Vichet and Yang Ty, will be discontinued at the end of August.

“The union busting at Shun Xin Luggage Industry is unacceptable and in violation of Cambodian labour law and trade union law. All eight unionists should be rehired with back pay and benefits,”

says Pav Sina, CUMW president.

In a letter to Shun Xin Luggage Industry on 4 August, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Atle Høie urged the company to stop all acts of anti-union discrimination and rehire all terminated workers.

“The interference in setting up a union has violated ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise ratified by the Cambodia government. The government must fulfill its international obligation and protect the rights of the eight unionists.”

Photo: Garment factory in Cambodia © ILO/Tiffany Tsang