Cambodian Authorities End Brutal Repression of Cambodian Unions!

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance condemns the legal charges against the Cambodian unions over Nationwide Protests during the last Jan 2014.

We regret that the court has processed the charges for seven union leaders including Rong Chhun, Ath Thorn, Pav Sina, Yaing Sophorn and Chea Mony on 2 Sept 2014.

Rong Chhun is president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, Ath Thorn is president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, Yaing Sophorn is president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union, Pav Sina is president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers and Chea Mony is president of the Free Trade Union.

We regard the charges as being part of the criminalization of internationally acknowledged legitimate activities of unions to deter them from pursuing the demand for better minimum wages in Cambodia. This move is obviously timed to stop the unions and workers from continuing to demand and campaign for USD 177 MW for the coming year, 2015.

We reaffirm that the garment workers’ strike is a legitimate expression of the desperation of garment workers and unions who are crushed under poverty level wages.

We, the international community, call upon the Cambodian authorities to drop unconditionally the charges against the unions leaders. They should not be penalized for exercising their rights to defend the demand for decent wages and decent lives for Cambodian Workers.

The violent crackdown on the peaceful strike of garment workers and unions in Cambodia in Jan 2014 was a shameful example of how garment workers are brutalized by the forces of poverty, global garment brands' greed and state-sponsored repression. This is against the treasured international human right of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. Cambodia as the signatory to the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association is bound by the ILO Convention. The attack on peaceful strikers and the ongoing criminalization of the unionists and workers are absolutely unacceptable by the international community.

We also call upon key brands and retailers such as H&M, Adidas, GAP, Walmart , Inditex, Levis, C&A and others to act swiftly to support the implementation of USD 177 minimum wage in Cambodia. They must show their commitment by bearing their share in their supply chains so that garment workers in Cambodia are able to receive a minimally dignified wage. They must protest against the criminalization of the union leaders of Cambodian workers who are producing millions of profits for the brands.

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance will continue to support the demand for the implementation of USD 177 as minimum wage in Cambodia. We support USD 177 as the wage that can provide minimal dignity to Cambodian workers, and not the poverty wage of USD 100.