Country study Cambodia 2016: Labour Standards in the Garment Supply Chain

By | Cambodia, Case-study, Social dialogue

The present country study on Cambodia, has been carried out for CNV Internationaal in the context of the Partnership for Supply Chain Transformation. is based on desk and original research on the current status of the industry structure, social dialogue, gender-based violence and living wage debates in the apparel industry in Cambodia for use in the first phase of this project.

The Fair Wear Foundation with its alliance partners CNV Internationaal and FNV Mondiaal has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation starting 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework. The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of Trade Unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international RMG supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. Opportunities will be identified to develop pilot experiences in the supply chain resulting in good practices related to living wages, gender-based violence and freedom of association and collective bargaining, which will facilitate more effective social dialogue and monitoring of human rights compliance at the factory level and reinforce the value of NGOs and trade unions to all supply chain stakeholders.


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Assessment of the complaints mechanism for Cambodian migrant workers

By | Cambodia, Social dialogue


Labour migration provides an opportunity to earn higher incomes and upgrade knowledge and skills. However, without effective protection measures these potential benefits of migration cannot be harnessed. For Cambodian migrant workers who face problems, either during the recruitment process, while working abroad or after returning home, access to an effective complaint mechanism is critical. The timely resolution of a grievance can be the difference between a worker returning to Cambodia with confidence in their ongoing financial and occupational security, or returning without access to restitution where harm has been suffered, or a burden of debt that cannot be repaid. This report is the first assessment of the efficacy of the complaints mechanism available to migrant workers, and explores the complexities facing workers and authorities when a complaint is lodged. Assessment of the Complaints Mechanism for Cambodian Migrant Workers presents the results of an assessment that considered the legislation and policy governing migrant worker complaints and the experiences of migrant workers and authorities in navigating the complaints system. This report provides important context regarding the challenges that arise during the complaints process, prompting recommendations to strengthen the system.

The assessment finds that the legislative framework launched in December 2013 to enable complaints has provided migrant workers a clear avenue and process for lodging complaints and receiving compensation. The assessment finds that there has been considerable use of the complaints mechanism by migrant workers and that staff from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT), Provincial Departments of Labour and Vocational Training (PDOLVT), Migrant Worker Resource Centres (MRCs), trade unions and service providers have demonstrated strong commitment to pursuing migrant workers’ right to justice through the dispute resolution process. The assessment also reveals inconsistencies in the implementation of these processes, and provides recommendations to address these gaps.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Tripartite Action to Protect Migrant Workers within and from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS TRIANGLE project) has supported labour migration governance in Cambodia through improving policy legislation, capacity building of stakeholders, and support to migrant workers, including in the receipt and resolution of complaints. This assessment of the complaints mechanism will contribute to improving migration governance in Cambodia by initiating analysis and beginning an evidenced-based discussion on the complaints process with stakeholders.

The ILO is grateful for the support for this assessment from its partners, in the research and validation of this report. The ILO would like to acknowledge the MOLVT, the PDOLVTs, and MRCs in Prey Veng, Kampong Cham and Battambang, as well as Legal Support for Children and Women and the National Union Alliance Chambers of Cambodia for their role in facilitating the complaints mechanism, and beginning to examine how this process can enable greater access to justice for Cambodia’s migrant workers.

Maurizio Bussi
ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic


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Good practices on the role of trade unions in protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers in Asia

By | Cambodia, Malaysia, Social dialogue, Thailand


Tripartite Action to Protect Migrant Workers within and from the Greater Mekong Subregion from Labour Exploitation (the GMS TRIANGLE project) and Tripartite Action for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Region (ASEAN TRIANGLE project) are working with trade unions in countries of origin and destination within ASEAN to enhance their role in promoting and protecting the rights of migrant workers.

Trade unions in countries of origin and destination have important roles to play in providing protection to migrant workers. There are many instances where trade unions in the Asia and Pacific region have been proactive in promoting a rights-based migration policy by participating in legislative reform processes; engaging in bilateral and regional cooperation between trade unions in sending and receiving countries; building trade unions’ capacity to respond to migrant worker issues through education and training; and reaching out to migrant workers by providing support services. Through this broad scope of actions, trade unions in the region are increasingly able to successfully represent the rights and interests of migrant workers in the enterprise, in the community and in policy dialogue.

This report documents selected good practices of trade union actions taken place in Cambodia, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The activities outlined in this report have been conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), through ILO technical cooperation on labour migration and with technical support from the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV). Some cases independent of ILO technical assistance are included in the report for the purpose of
information sharing. By sharing these practices among trade union partners and other organizations, the report aims to encourage their replication; and in doing so, highlight the relevance of trade unions and further advance their role in the effective governance of labour migration.

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Trade Unions for Social Dialogue

By | Benin, Cambodia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Niger, Peru, Social dialogue, Tunisia

Trade Union Co-Financing Programme 2017-2020 Summary
CNV Internationaal Foundation is a civil society organisation, connected to the National Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (CNV) in the Netherlands. CNV Internationaal has worked with trade unions in developing countries since its establishment in 1967. Together with its partner organisations, CNV Internationaal protects and promotes workers’ rights by means of a consultative and coherent model, based on Christian social traditions. Social dialogue, trade union pluralism and workers’ individual responsibility are key values. CNV Internationaal’s mission is to contribute to Decent Work in developing countries by strengthening the position of workers in the formal and informal economy. CNV Internationaal focuses on social dialogue, labour rights in supply chains and youth employability.


Action-oriented research on gender equality and the working and living conditions of garment factory workers in Cambodia

By | Cambodia, Social dialogue

This study intends to increase understanding on gender equality and discrimination in Cambodia’s garment industry with a view to improve the economic and social well-being of its mostly female workforce and inform the further development of a responsible corporate model of garment production. It examines the working and living conditions of garment workers and their perceptions on discrimination and harassment in the workplace in garment factories in the country. The report provides a number of recommendations for the ILO, the Government, employers and workers and their organizations, and for civil society. The recommendations call for strengthening gender equality and gender mainstreaming programmes within these organizations; improving technical capacity to address and improve working conditions alongside business needs; promoting pay equity, advancement and training opportunities, anti-harassment programmes, and maternity protection within the factories; and developing programmes and partnerships to address garment industry workers’ needs for better food and nutrition, health services including reproductive health services, access to water, sanitation and energy, and access to childcare and education.


Corporate Social Responsibility in International Production Chains

By | Cambodia, Guatemala, Madagascar, Social dialogue

Justice, solidarity, responsibility, sustainability and compassion are the five core values CNV Internationaal uses as a touchstone for everything we do. Every day, CNV Internationaal aspires to improve the working and living conditions of people in our partner countries. Many of the products we buy here are produced in these partner countries, where there is little protection of workers in terms of income, working conditions and safety. Eight-year-old children are sent down the cobalt mines, people working in forestry do not get a hard hat and safety shoes, people work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t agree with something or ask probing questions, you lose your job. And workers often have no right to associate and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.