Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Cambodia

JILAF, together with the Cambodian Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-CC), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on August 6–7. The seminar was attended by 58 people from the three national centers affiliated with the ITUC-CC, namely, the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions (CCTU), the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), and the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC).
The main theme of the seminar was the role of trade unions in an age of globalization. Discussions centered on how to build constructive industrial relations amid the rapid economic growth of Asian countries brought about the entry of foreign companies.
The opening ceremony of the seminar was attended by senior officials from JILAF and the ITUC-CC and, representing the Japanese government, the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia. All of these guests expressed their hopes for the seminar.
In the seminar, JILAF gave lectures titled “Formation of the Postwar Japanese Labour Movement and Characteristics of Japanese Industrial Relations: Japanese Trade Unions Born from Ruins” and “Establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community and Trade Unions.” In the former, speaking from the perspective that analyzing history and having an accurate understanding of the current situation are extremely important for looking into the future, the JILAF representative outlined, among other things, (1) the history of the Japanese labour movement after World War II and changes in campaign policy; (2) macroeconomic growth and improvement of the living standards and working conditions of workers; (3) the productivity movement; and (4) the labour-management consultation system, collective bargaining, and constructive industrial relations. The speaker expressed hopes for the further development of the Cambodian labour movement. In the other lecture, the JILAF representative spoke about moves toward economic cooperation in preparation for the inauguration of the AEC and the impact on Cambodia.
The organizations affiliated with the ITUC-CC then stated their respective opinions concerning such matters as (1) the nature of industrial relations, (2) issues currently being faced, (3) the causes of industrial disputes, and (4) what is necessary for the building of good industrial relations. All three organizations shared the position of desiring to build industrial relations emphasizing dialogue, but the fact is that, as of July 2015, the number of labour disputes remains at a high level of 203 cases. Background factors, it was stressed, include (1) employers depriving workers of their rights and putting pressure on the labour movement as a whole; (2) low wages and low living standards; (3) the rampancy of short-term labour contracts; and (4) widespread illegal practices and the bribery of union officials by employers. In addition, Mr. Noun Rithy a Labour Rights Consultant, explained about the definition of industrial relations, the building of good industrial relations, and the soft skills necessary for building good industrial relations.
The final part of the seminar consisted of group discussions and presentations on the theme of “The role, responsibility, and strategy of trade unions for the building of constructive industrial relations.” The groups made such proposals as (1) the need for trade union education and training and a change of awareness on the part of workers; (2) the implementation of regular labour-management consultations; (3) the strengthening of trade union cooperation and solidarity; and (4) the need to secure the financial base of trade unions.
Finally, senior officials of the three Cambodian national centers made wrap-up statements summarizing the achievements of the seminar, and JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno expressed his hope for further solidarity and cooperation in the three-year-old ITUC-CC.

Schedule

DateContents
08/06ThuSeminar day 1
08/07FriSeminar day 2

Photos of Participants

Opening ceremony of the seminar

Session presented by JILAF

Participants from the three national centers

Group discussions

A group presentation

Wrap-up by JILAF Executive Director Danno