Decent Work Country Programme Cambodia (2011-2015)

 
Decent Work Country Programme Cambodia (2011-2015)
Decent Work Country Programme
         Cambodia (2011-2015)

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Decent Work Country Programme Cambodia (2011-2015)
Preface

The ILO has been a partner in Cambodia’s economic and social recovery since the early 1990s. It supports
the efforts of its tripartite constituents – Government, Workers’ Organizations and Employers’
Organizations – and other partners in development to expand opportunities for decent and productive
employment, to improve the effectiveness of social dialogue between employers and workers, to strengthen
and widen the scope and coverage of social protection, and to promote social justice and equity for all
groups in society.

The ILO works in Cambodia and around the world to promote Decent Work - productive work in conditions
of freedom, equity, security and human dignity – in order to reduce poverty and secure social justice.
Decent Work comprises four mutually-supporting components: (i) upholding fundamental rights at work;
(ii) ensuring adequate livelihoods, and creating more and better jobs for women and men; (iii) providing
social protection, (including the right to a safe work environment); and (iv) promoting social dialogue,
between employers, workers and government at the sectoral and national level as a framework for good
governance. Across all of these areas, efforts to promote and uphold the principles of gender equality and
non-discrimination are recognised as explicit prerequisites for the full realisation of this Agenda, and will
be mainstreamed throughout the work of each DWCP.1

The ILO partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and its social partners for 2011-2015
focuses on three main pillars or priority areas: (1) improving Industrial Relations and Rights at Work; (2)
promoting an enabling environment for sustainable enterprise growth and decent job creation; and (3)
improving and extending social protection.

The Decent Work Country Programme for Cambodia (2011-2015) has been developed by the International
Labour Organization’s Country Office for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand (CO-Bangkok), in collaboration
with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT), the Cambodian Federation of Employers and
Business Associations (CAMFEBA), and Cambodian trade unions. The ILO would in particular like to thank
Mr David Williams for his work in developing this document.

While acknowledging the contributions of all mentioned, any errors or omissions found in the Decent Work
Country Programme will remain the responsibility of the International Labour Organization.

We, the undersigned, support the Decent Work Country Programme for Cambodia and will work together
to operationalize the programme. We shall constantly seek assistance from all the stakeholders and the
donor community towards achieving this shared vision for Decent Work in the world of work.

Signature: _________________________
Jiyuan Wang
Director
ILO Country Office for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand

Date:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

1 This is in line with the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, which notes that “Gender equality and non-

discrimination must be considered to be cross-cutting issues in the [four] strategic objectives” and that “Gender equality and non-
discrimination are critical to achieve decent work for all and are central to all four strategic objectives”.

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Decent Work Country Programme Cambodia (2011-2015)
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Decent Work Country Programme Cambodia (2011-2015)
Executive Summary

Cambodia became a member of the ILO in 1969, however conflict and international isolation prevented it
from reaping the full benefits of this membership until the early 1990s. Since the restoration of peace in
1993, the ILO has been an active partner in the country’s economic, social and democratic recovery. Working
with the government, its social partners and other developmental actors, the ILO has played a key role in
international efforts to restore livelihoods, create lasting jobs, rebuild infrastructure and strengthen nascent
government institutions. Today its portfolio of assistance has expanded in line with new and ever more
complex development challenges the country faces. ILO work in Cambodia now spans a wide range of policy
and programmatic areas, including industrial relations, entrepreneurship and enterprise development,
occupational safety and health, and HIV and AIDS. To date, Cambodia has ratified all eight of the ILO’s core
conventions.2

Political stability, coupled with market reforms and pro-investment policies have helped fuel an
unprecedented economic boom in Cambodia which has in relatively short time transformed the physical and
economic landscape and made significant inroads to poverty reduction and livelihood improvement.
However, for the most part this growth has been narrow based (garments, construction and tourism have
been the main drivers of recent growth), something that has left the country –and its workforce- vulnerable to
outside shocks and raised questions over the solidity of its development foundations. The recent global
economic downturn, coupled with earlier food and fuel price crises, have provided illustrations of the
negative impacts exogenous shocks can have on working people, and particularly on those toiling in the lower
reaches of the socio-economic ladder.

Although it has emerged strongly from the recent recession, Cambodia faces manifold challenges to
development and Decent Work creation. Despite rapid economic growth, the economy has not generated
sufficient jobs to meet demand –a situation that is exacerbated by the lack of adequately skilled people
entering the labour market. In part owing to this, the majority in Cambodia still work in informal and/or
vulnerable employment, where wages are often low, hours long, and respect for decent conditions and
fundamental rights limited. Owing in part to a lack of social protection, many people cannot afford to be
jobless for long, and this often makes them highly vulnerable when shocks to their income or circumstances
occur. Specific groups face particular challenges too –notably women, who still face traditional barriers
blocking equal access to education and employment, and youth, who make up the bulk of the unemployed,
particularly in urban areas. Indigenous persons too face limitations in the labour market, many of which are
linked to shrinking land ownership, discrimination and deficits in access to education and training.

The Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) provides the basis for the ILO’s contribution to the
Government’s Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, which serves as the
foremost socio-economic policy agenda and political vision for the country’s development. Accordingly, the
2011-2015 DWCP addresses a wide range of labour and developmental concerns, including training and skills
development, employment generation (in both policy and practice), entrepreneurship and enterprise
development, social protection, local economic development, industrial relations and social dialogue, and
labour market governance.

The 2011 to 2015 Decent Work Country Programme was developed through multiple rounds of discussion
and consultation between the ILO and its tripartite constituents in the Cambodian government and in
employers’ and workers’ organisations. In this respect, it represents the collective will of these actors to
address critical challenges to the achievement of Decent Work for all Cambodians.

2   For a full list of ratified conventions, please see Annex 2.
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The current DWCP (2011-2015) focuses on three priority areas which also reflect the ILO’s commitment to
the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in Cambodia. These areas are:

    (1) Improving Industrial Relations and Rights at Work
    (2) Promoting an enabling environment for decent employment growth, with a particular focus on young
        people
    (3) Improving and Expanding Social Protection

These priorities reflect both the main concerns of the tripartite constituents in Cambodia and the ILO’s
specific expertise and comparative advantage within the UN and multilateral system. Through its
interventions, the DWCP is supportive of the ILO’s global objective to promote Decent Work as a means to
better secure sustainable development, poverty reduction and social justice worldwide. Decent Work
comprises four mutually-supporting components, all of which are embraced in the envisaged assistance of
DWCP for Cambodia: (i) upholding fundamental rights at work; (ii) ensuring adequate livelihoods, and
creating more and better jobs for women and men; (iii) providing social protection, (including the right to a
safe work environment); and (iv) promoting social dialogue, between employers, workers and government at
the sectoral and national level as a framework for good governance. Across all of these areas, efforts to
promote and uphold the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination are recognised as explicit
prerequisites for the full realisation of this Agenda, and will be mainstreamed throughout the work of this and
every DWCP.

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Contents

Preface                                                                                                   2

Executive Summary                                                                                         4

1.      Country Context                                                                                   10

2.      DWCP links to national and UN development frameworks                                              12

3.      Working with tripartite constituents                                                              17

4.      ILO’s prior work in Cambodia                                                                      18

5.      DWCP priorities and outcomes                                                                      19

CP PRIORITY 1: Improving Industrial Relations and Rights at Work                                          21

Outcome 1.1. Professional and technical capacities of social partners strengthened                        25

Outcome 1.2. Improved mechanisms and processes for dispute resolution                                     27

Outcome 1.3. Social Dialogue is both more effective and more widely employed, including collective
bargaining agreements and their enforcement                                                               28

Outcome 1.4. National labour standards reviewed, revised or developed in line with relevant
international labour standards and reported upon to international supervisory and monitoring bodies       29

Outcome 1.5 More effective application of equality and rights at work for discriminated and
vulnerable groups                                                                                         30

CP PRIORITY 2: Promoting an enabling environment for decent employment growth, with a particular
focus on young people                                                                         32

Outcome 2.1. Development of a National Employment Policy and relevant institutional framework
for promoting equitable employment and protection                                                         33

Outcome 2.2. Enhanced employability of men and women through improved skills development and
public employment services                                                                   34

Outcome 2.3. Improved MSME business and entrepreneurship skills and services                              35

Outcome 2.4. Effective progress made to enhance enterprise productivity and competitiveness               37

CP PRIORITY 3: Improving and Expanding Social Protection                                                  38

Outcome 3.1. Increased quality and coverage of social protection, particularly among vulnerable
groups                                                                                                    43
Outcome 3.2. Improved occupational safety and health in the workplace                                     45

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Outcome 3.3. Effective progress made toward the elimination of child labour, especially its worst
forms                                                                                               46

Outcome 3.4. Enhanced delivery of targeted prevention and care programmes for HIV/AIDS in the
world of work                                                                                       47

6.     Management and implementation framework                                                      48

7.     Monitoring and Evaluation                                                                    49

8.     Risk Management                                                                              51

9.     Endorsement of the DWCP                                                                      52

10.    Annexes                                                                                      53

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List of Abbreviations

AC          Arbitration Council
ACTEMP      ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities
ADB         Asian development Bank
ASEAN       Association of Southeast Asian Nations
BFC         Better Factories Cambodia
CAMFEBA     Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations
CARD        Council for Agricultural and Rural Development
CB          Collective Bargaining
CBA         Collective Bargaining Agreement
CBHI        Community Based Health Insurance
CEDAW       UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
DWCP        Decent Work Country Programme
EO          Employers’ Organisation
EU          European Union
FDI         Foreign Direct Investment
GDP         Gross Domestic Product
GMAC        Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia
GMAPS       Gender Mainstreaming Action Plans
HEF         Health Equity Fund
ILO         International Labour Organization
ILS         International Labour Standards
IR          Industrial Relations
LAC         Labour Advisory Committee
M&E         Monitoring and Evaluation
MDG         Millennium Development Goals
MIME        Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy
MOLVT       Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training
MSE         Micro and Small Enterprise
MSME        Micro, small and medium-sized enterprise
MOU         Memorandum of Understanding
MOSAVY      Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth
MOWA        Ministry of Women’s Affairs
NEA         National Employment Agency
NPA-WFCL    National Plan of Action on the Worst Forms of Child Labour
NSDP        National Strategic Development Plan
NSPS-PV     National Social Protection Strategy for the Poor and Vulnerable
NSSF        National Social Security Fund
NSSF-C      National Social Security Fund for Civil Servants
NEP         National Employment Policy
OHCHR       UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
OSH         Occupational Safety and Health
PES         Public Employment Services
PWP         Public Works Programme
RS          Rectangular Strategy (for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency)
RGC         Royal Government of Cambodia
SPER        Social Protection Expenditure Review
SME         Small and medium sized enterprise
TB          Tuberculosis

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TOT      Training of Trainers
TU       Trade Union
TVET     Technical and Vocational Education and Training
UN       United Nations
UNCRPD   UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
UNDAF    United Nations Development Assistance Framework
WFP      World Food Programme

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1.      Country Context3

Cambodia held its first post-war elections in 1993, since which it
has enjoyed relative political stability and an economic boom that
has transformed its physical and economic landscape and made
significant inroads to poverty alleviation and development. However, a
series of recent external shocks including the food and fuel price crisis,
the global economic downturn, and adverse weather conditions have
challenged and exposed this progress, not only undermining the
country’s ability to meet its MDG targets, but also raising questions
over the resilience and inclusiveness of its growth model to date.
Despite more than a decade of strong growth, around a quarter of
Cambodians still live in poverty, with inequality -particularly between urban and rural areas- on the rise.

Cambodia’s economic growth continues to be narrowly based and highly vulnerable to shifts in
external demand and capital flows –something no more acutely exposed than in the recent economic
downturn. Although key economic pillars have contributed to employment growth, these have been
insufficient alone to meet the needs of a young and fast growing labour force. This has led -among other
things- to decent work deficits and continued high rates of informal and under-employment. With the country
now emerging from its worst recession in decades, policymakers are increasingly recognising the need to
focus on broadening the country’s growth base, diversifying existing sectors and nurturing the growth of
others, as well as widening opportunities for the still-sizeable poor population to contribute to and reap the
benefits of economic growth. A combination of more “job-rich” growth and enhanced social protection would
enhance the welfare of millions of Cambodians while at the same time affording them better protection
against future adverse shocks.

Labour Market Developments and Challenges

The country’s labour force has undergone dramatic changes in the past decade. Although the overall
labour force participation rate increased slightly during this time, the proportion of women in the labour force
increased far more significantly, reducing the gender gap in labour force participation rates. In part this can
be attributed to the large number of unpaid female family workers (i.e. vulnerable employment), but it also
relates to the rise in formal wage employment for women in the leading garment sector. Women in Cambodia
enter the labour force at a younger age than men because men are typically encouraged to stay in education
longer –particularly in rural areas. The proportion of the labour force in the primary sector has fallen in
recent years in line with structural economic transition, and internal migration (mostly rural to urban in
nature) has increased, with the proportion of women migrants rising slightly.4

Although official unemployment in the country is low, a large proportion of those who do work are in
vulnerable employment, i.e. own account workers or unpaid family workers. This work, which
encompasses workers in the large informal economy and agricultural sector, makes up more than 80 percent
of total employment in Cambodia –an increase in absolute numbers from the late 1990s.5 Vulnerable
employment is characterised by a range of decent work deficits, including low earnings, poor access to social

3 Map  graphic source: CIA World Factbook 2011
4 NIS (2010) “Labour and Social Trends in Cambodia 2010.” National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, July 2010
5 Reference period is 1998 to 2008. While the absolute numbers of these workers rose during this period, the percentage out of

total employment fell slightly.
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protection and representation (in unions), weak job and income security and poor working conditions. In
Cambodia, young people and women are overrepresented among vulnerable workers.6

The widespread absence of formal social protection in Cambodia goes some way to explain why so
many people engage in low quality and vulnerable employment.7 For most Cambodians, unemployment
is simply not an option when the only way to meet basic social needs is by having a job. In 2011, the
government approved the country’s first National Social Protection Strategy, the focus of which will be on
enhancing access to and the quality of basic services such as health and income support for the poorest and
most vulnerable to external shocks.

Despite recent advances, labour productivity is lower in Cambodia than most of its neighbours. At its
current level it is comparable to Vietnam in 1993, a level itself three times lower than Thailand today.8 In the
garment sector, where productivity constraints have been long evident, this has been partially offset by low
wages, which together with solid labour compliance have kept the country relatively competitive even against
larger producers like China and India. Of particular concern going forward is the rate at which this situation is
improving: between 2001 and 2005, Cambodia experienced the slowest rate of increase in labour productivity
in manufacturing industries among ASEAN countries.9 Within the country, productivity gains have been
particularly weak in agriculture –the sector that continues to employ the bulk of working people.

Productivity challenges are in many ways linked to concomitant challenges in training and skills
development –the weaknesses of which in Cambodia are a legacy of the decimation of both the human capital
base and the education and training system in the 1970s and 80s. Given its current stage of development and
economic structure, strengthening the provision of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is
a key immediate term priority for Cambodia. This should include new and ongoing efforts and reforms aimed
at developing a national TVET framework, adopting competency based skills standards, and strengthening the
capacity of training providers to deliver quality training that responds to actual labour market needs.

Cambodia has made important strides in advancing gender equality, particularly in terms of girls’
access to education. However, considerable gaps remain and mainstreaming gender across all policy
spheres is a formidable challenge –particularly in light of prevailing social attitudes and traditions to the
contrary. Women from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly in rural areas, remain vulnerable
to trafficking, domestic violence and forced labour. Meanwhile, in the formal economy, the special exposure
of the garment sector to the global economic crisis meant young women in particular were particularly hard
hit. Developing gender-responsive development programmes is a key priority of both the Cambodian
government and the UN, in recognition both of the moral need for gender equality and the important role
women can play as leaders of development processes. As it stands currently, Cambodia is lagging in its
progress toward the achievement of MDG 3 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Movement toward inclusive growth and development also faces other challenges in Cambodia.
Progress in protecting human rights and freedom of expression has been erratic and subject to periods of
backsliding in recent years, while concerns remain high about the independence and neutrality of the
country’s legal and judicial processes, particularly when it concerns powerful economic and political interests.
Land rights remain a foremost development challenge, as illegal land grabbing and forced evictions continue
to deprive poor communities of productive land for income generation. Similarly, the protection of the
country’s rich natural resource base has been undermined by economic interests and corruption. In the

6 Although youth continue to dominate this group, their proportional share has fallen in recent years, particularly young women.
7 The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for workers covered by the labour law (enterprises of 8 and more employees) was
created in 2008, and stands as a general exception to this rule.
8 UNDP (2009) “Cambodia Country Competitiveness: Driving Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction.” Discussion Paper 07,

Insights for Action
9 Ibid.

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labour field, despite considerable advances and a maturing industrial relations environment in some sectors,
freedom of association and rights to collective bargaining remain far from guaranteed. On a more positive
note, Cambodia enjoys a strong reputation for labour standards in its leading garment industry, something
that remained largely true during the economic downturn, despite widespread predictions to the contrary.

2.      DWCP Links to National and UN Development Frameworks

National Development Plans

The Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency (RS) is the overarching socio-
economic policy agenda of the Royal Government of Cambodia, setting out its long term vision for the
country’s development. This hopes to be achieved by strengthening peace, stability and social order,
promoting sustainable and equitable development, and cementing a democratic polity with full respect for
human rights and dignity. Good governance is at the core of the RS, since it is considered an absolute
prerequisite for all other aspects of socio-economic development. It’s four main growth components are thus:
(i) agricultural development, (ii) infrastructure rehabilitation and development, (iii) private sector
development and employment creation; and (iv) capacity building and human resource development. The
Rectangular Strategy was first launched in 2004, and was updated and refined again in 2008 with the same
core principles and goals.

The National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) is the key medium term national development plan in
Cambodia, and serves as the main tool for the operationalization of the government’s Rectangular Strategy (it
also serves as Cambodia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper). Developed by the Ministry of Planning in
consultation with various other ministries, development partners and civil society organisations, the NSDP is
also the principal reference point for the harmonisation and alignment of official development assistance to
Cambodia. As the roadmap for the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy, the NSDP’s key pillars are
matching with that document: namely, growth, employment, equity and efficiency.

Employment is a core pillar of the Rectangular Strategy, coming under Rectangle 3, which covers: (1)
strengthening private sector and attracting investments; (2) creation of jobs and ensuring improved working
conditions; (3) promotion of SMEs; and (4) creation of social safety nets for civil servants, employees and
workers. This focus is also reflected in the NSDP, which outlines priorities for private sector development and
employment, and elaborates in further detail strategic action to promote and secure this for socio-economic
development. It is through this focus that ILO finds its principal strategic alignment with the Decent Work
Country Programme.

UNDAF

The 2011 to 2015 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) provides a framework
for coordinated UN development assistance in keeping with the UN reform process and the commitments laid
out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (reaffirmed in the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action). The
UNDAF is anchored in and aligned with the Government’s Rectangular Strategy Phase II and the National
Strategic Development Plan (now extended to 2013). It builds on the achievements and progress made over
the last decade and leverages the UN's position as a respected development partner in Cambodia. The UN has
also adopted a Human Rights-Based Approach to its programmes and support in the country, as well as
committing to advocate specifically for marginalised and disadvantaged groups in UNDAF core programming.

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The UNDAF has identified five priorities that will form the core of the UN’s support to Cambodia between
2011 and 2015:

                                        UNDAF Outcomes: 2011-2015
   1.   Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
   By 2015, more people living in Cambodia benefit from, and participate in, increasingly equitable, green,
   diversified economic growth
   2.   Health and Education
   By 2015, more men, women, children and young people enjoy equitable access to health and education
   3.   Gender Equality
   By 2015, all women, men, girls and boys are experiencing a reduction in gender disparities and progressively
   enjoying and exercising equal rights
   4.   Governance
   By 2015, national and sub national institutions are more accountable and responsive to the needs and rights of
   all people living in Cambodia and increase participation in democratic decision making
   5.   Social Protection
   By 2015, more people, especially the poor and vulnerable, benefit from improved social safety net (SSN) and
   social security programmes, as an integral part of a sustainable national social protection system

Expected ILO involvement in fulfilling UNDAF programmatic priorities covers a wide range of thematic
areas, including: climate change and green jobs; local development, entrepreneurship and small and medium
sized enterprise promotion; employment policies (including those with a specific focus on women, young
people and migrant workers); labour market information and employment services; business development
services; training and skills development (including life skills for at-risk and disadvantaged groups); women’s
empowerment and rights at work; dialogue, representation and participation in decision-making at work and
in policymaking; industrial relations and dispute resolution; human and labour rights; eliminating child
labour; and promoting and developing social protection.

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DWCP Alignment with national and UN development priorities

GOVERNMENT RECTANGULAR                     UNDAF OUTCOMES TO WHICH ILO IS ASSIGNED / ILO IS RELEVANT                    RELATED ILO DWCP OUTCOMES
STRATEGY                                                                                                                (Some ILO outcomes are aligned with more
                                                                                                                        than one UNDAF outcome)
                                     RECTANGLE 3 – PROMOTING PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT AND EMPLOYMENT GENERATION
Strengthening private sector and           Outcome 1: Economic Growth and Sustainable Development                       CP Outcome 2.1. Development and effective
attracting investment                      By 2015, more people living in Cambodia benefit from, and participate in,    implementation of national employment policy,
                                           increasingly equitable, green, diversified economic growth                   incorporating the twin pillars of equitable
                                                                                                                        employment promotion and protection
                                           CP Outcome: Trade and Private Sector Development
Creation of jobs ensuring improved         More diversified economy in Cambodia with increased pro-poor                 CP Outcome 2.2. Enhanced employability of men
working conditions                         investment, trade and private sector development due to strengthened         and    women     through   improved      skills
                                           national and local capacity.                                                 development and public employment services

Promoting SMEs                             CP Outcome: Employment and Local Development                                 CP Outcome 2.3. Improved MSME business and
                                           Increased employability and productive and decent employment                 entrepreneurship skills and services
                                           opportunities, particularly for youth and women, through diversified local
                                           economic development in urban and rural areas                                CP Outcome 2.4. Effective progress made to
                                                                                                                        enhance     enterprise   productivity  and
                                                                                                                        competitiveness

Creation of social safety nets             Outcome 5: Social Protection                                                 CP Outcome 3.1. Increased quality and coverage
                                           By 2015, more people, especially the poor and vulnerable, benefit from       of social protection, particularly among
                                           improved social safety net (SSN) and social security programmes, as an       vulnerable groups
                                           integral part of a sustainable national social protection system

                                           CP Outcome: Increase in national and sub-national capacity to provide
                                           affordable and effective national social protection through improved
                                           development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a social
                                           protection system.

                                           CP Outcome: Improved coverage of social security for both formal and
                                           informal sector workers

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RECTANGLE 4 – CAPACITY BUILDING AND HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Strengthening the quality of education           Outcome 2: Health and Education                                              CP Outcome 2.2. Enhanced employability of men
                                                 By 2015, more men, women, children and young people enjoy equitable          and    women     through    improved      skills
(1) "Education for All" – basic 9-year           access to health and education                                               development and public employment services
education
(2) provide basic skills training to people in   CP Outcome: Enhanced national and sub-national institutional capacity to
rural areas to increase income;                  expand young people’s access to quality life skills including on HIV and
(3) provide training or skill improvement to     technical and vocational education and training (TVET)
factory workers in cooperation with
employers;
(4)    expand technical and vocational
training to provinces/ municipalities,
including     entrepreneurship        training
programme; and
(5) establish National Employment Agency,
and Job Centres in provinces/municipalities

Implementation of gender policy                  Outcome 3: Gender Equality                                                   N.B. Gender concerns are mainstreamed
                                                 By 2015, all women, men, girls and boys are experiencing a reduction in      throughout the ILO DWCP. However, efforts to
                                                 gender disparities and progressively enjoying and exercising equal rights    reduce gender disparities will be most
                                                                                                                              pronounced in work under the following outcome
                                                 CP Outcome: Women are progressively empowered to exercise their rights       areas:
                                                 to full and productive work with decent terms and conditions (based on ILO
                                                 criteria).                                                                   CP Outcome 1.2. Improved mechanisms and
                                                                                                                              processes for dispute resolution

                                                                                                                              CP Outcome 2.1. Development and effective
                                                                                                                              implementation of national employment policy,
                                                                                                                              incorporating the twin pillars of equitable
                                                                                                                              employment promotion and protection

                                                                                                                              CP Outcome 2.2. Enhanced employability of men
                                                                                                                              and    women     through    improved     skills
                                                                                                                              development and public employment services

                                                                                                                              CP Outcome 2.3. Improved MSME business and

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entrepreneurship skills and services

                                                              CORE STRATEGY – GOOD GOVERNANCE
Fighting corruption                      Outcome 4: Governance                                                             CP Outcome 1.1. Professional and technical
                                         By 2015, national and sub national institutions are more accountable and          capacities of social partners strengthened
                                         responsive to the needs and rights of all people living in Cambodia and
                                         increase participation in democratic decision making                              CP Outcome 1.2. Improved mechanisms and
                                                                                                                           processes for dispute resolution
Legal and Judicial reform                CP Outcome: Effective mechanisms for dialogue, representation and
                                         participation in democratic decision-making established and strengthened.         CP Outcome 1.3. Social Dialogue is both more
                                                                                                                           effective and more widely employed, including
                                         CP Outcome: State institutions at national and sub-national levels better         collective bargaining agreements and their
                                         able to protect citizens’ rights under the Constitution and provide effective     enforcement
                                         remedies for violations, in particular those relating to labour, children, land
Public administration reform including
                                         and housing, gender based violence, indigenous people, people living with         CP Outcome 1.4. National labour standards
decentralization and de-concentration
                                         HIV and people with disabilities.                                                 reviewed, revised or developed in line with
                                                                                                                           relevant international labour standards

                                                                                                                           CP Outcome 1.5. More effective promotion of
                                                                                                                           the rights of vulnerable groups (empowerment
                                                                                                                           to claim rights?)

                                                                                                                           CP Outcome 3.3. Effective progress made
                                                                                                                           toward the elimination of child labour, especially
                                                                                                                           its worst forms

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3.       Working with tripartite constituents

In Cambodia, the ILO ensures that the core concerns of the Royal Government (RGC) –where they pertain to
the Organisation’s mandate and technical expertise- together with those of the employers’ and workers’
organisations are reflected in the design and implementation of its Decent Work Country Programme. Both
design and implementation of the programme rely heavily on the involvement of these parties (together
with other stakeholders and development partners), and their respective partnership toward the
achievement of Cambodia’s national development goals.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) is the main partner ministry of the ILO, and with
this, of the DWCP.10 The MoLVT’s work is focused on measures to improve industrial relations (including
through new and revised laws governing the labour market), developing a national employment strategy,
enhancing the quality and demand-side relevance of TVET and establishing stronger linkages between
training providers, students and the private sector, strengthening entrepreneurship skills for small
business growth, developing the National Social Security Fund, employment injury scheme and health
insurance scheme, and concerted action to eliminate child labour and improve the management of
international migration.

On social protection, the ILO also works closely with the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development
(CARD) which was entrusted with ensuring efficient inter-ministerial coordination for the development
and implementation of the national social protection strategy (NSPS) for the poor and the vulnerable.

The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA, see description below) and
the national trade union confederation groups are the core social partners with which the ILO collaborates
with in the design and implementation of its Decent Work Country Programme.

CAMFEBA was inaugurated in July 2000 and has since grown to become the country’s foremost
organisation representing employers. As of late 2009, CAMFEBA’s membership comprised 10 key
industry/business associations and 96 individual employer members, as well as a further 7 non-profit
organizations and individuals as Associate members. Together, this membership represents more than
1,000 enterprises across a range of economic sectors. The ILO works with CAMFEBA to strengthen its
capacity to serve and represent its members in policy forums and advocate –and lobby- effectively for their
interests. The main concerns of CAMFEBA are improving industrial relations, reform of the labour law and
the development of the forthcoming trade union law, and national industrial competitiveness and external
trade and investment policy.

Trade unions have grown rapidly since 1997 following official recognition in law of freedom of association.
Unions are structured largely according to a three-tier hierarchy: enterprise-level unions, union
federations, and union confederations, with an additional chamber that comprises three confederations.11
From 1997 to 2010, the MoLVT registered a total of 1,700 enterprise unions, together with nine
confederations12, 45 union federations, and 11 workers’ associations (covering for example informal

10 The ILO also works with a number of other ministries in the course of its work, including the Ministry of Commerce (MOC),
Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA), Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Veterans And
Youth rehabilitation (MOSVY), Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport
(MOEYS), Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPWT), Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry
of Planning (MOP).
11 Although individual unions may be collectively represented by larger federations and confederations, they remain for the

most part separate entities with their own financing, organisational structure and overall vision.
12 The nine registered confederations are the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Union (CCTU), the Coalition of Cambodian

Apparel Unions (CCAWDU), the Cambodian Confederation of Union (CCU), the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia
(NACC), the Cambodia National Labour Confederation (CNC), the Cambodia Inheritance Confederation (CIC), the Cambodian
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workers, farmers and civil servants).13 Workers in Cambodia are unionised predominantly in the garment,
construction, transport, and hotel and tourism sectors. Agriculture, telecommunication, banking,
healthcare and teaching and education are potential areas for future unionization.

The main concerns of unions in Cambodia today are anti-union discrimination, weak employer compliance
with labour standards and the labour law (particularly with regard to employment contracts, overtime, and
dismissals), the struggle for a so-called “living wage” in low income sectors like garment manufacturing,
and a lack of political will and institutional support for social dialogue. ILO technical assistance to the union
movement seeks to overcome these challenges both by advocating better protection of workers’
fundamental rights and interests, especially through promotion of collective bargaining agreements,
organising non-unionised workers and supporting research and advocacy on a living wage, and by enabling
unions to engage more effectively in social dialogue to further the collective interests of their members.

4.      ILO’s prior work in Cambodia

To set the new DWCP in context it is instructive to reflect on the priorities and achievements of the last
country programme. The 2008-2010 DWCP identified three broad priority areas under which the bulk of
the ILO’s work in Cambodia was organised: (1) productive employment; (2) labour governance and rights;
and (3) social protection. The DWCP was also further adjusted in early 2009 so as to incorporate additional
short-term responses to help mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis. A brief summary of the
ILO’s work under this programme is outlined below.

     1. Productive employment

To expand productive employment opportunities to all men, women and youth, especially in the rural
areas, ILO worked –and continues to work- with the MoLVT in particular to establish the institutional
preconditions and human skills and competencies required for the development of a national employment
policy –mostly through a mix of institutional capacity building, tailor-made training and policy advice. On
skills development and employability, it also provided technical and financial assistance to the
establishment of the National Employment Agency and its key functions vis-à-vis labour market
information collection and employment services (job centres).

In 2009, the ILO also added to its portfolio new measures to help constituents respond to the impacts of the
global economic downturn. This included an in-depth research component to better understand and design
policies to address the crisis in the garment sector, technical and financial support to the government’s job
centre initiative (to help support the newly retrenched in particular), and pilot demonstration schemes on
employment intensive infrastructure generation (which now forms an important component of the new
National Social Protection Strategy for the Poor and Vulnerable, NSPS-PV).

     2. Labour Governance and Rights

ILO work on labour governance was aimed at improving the efficiency of labour market institutions and the
fair enforcement of labour standards, as well as strengthening the links between improved industrial
competitiveness and the safeguarding of decent working conditions in the country’s leading garment
industry.

Confederation for Workers' Rights (CCWR), and the Confederation of Union National Independence Cambodia (CUNIC), and
the National Labour Confederation (NLC).
13 There are, however, no accurate figures of the number of actually active unions in the country.

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Interventions in this regard included: (1) promoting industrial peace through revision of laws and
institutional strengthening (including revisions to the new trade union law, assistance to government
conciliation and mediation services, and capacity building for social partners to engage in effective
collective bargaining); and (2) continued support to the growth and competitiveness of the garment
industry through the ILO’s flagship “Better Factories Cambodia” programme, both in terms of on-going
monitoring of working conditions and by expanding its portfolio of training and management services into
areas like social protection (factory level), life skills, and greener production.

Working through technical cooperation projects primarily, the ILO also worked with the Cambodian
Government and its social partners to adopt and implement policies to improve and protect the rights of
children, women, migrant workers and indigenous peoples in Cambodia. Projects included the IPEC time-
bound project (child labour), ILO/IPEC Mekong Sub-Regional Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and
Women (ILO-TICW), the Support to Indigenous Peoples' Project, the Creative Industries Support
Programme, and the Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality -“WEDGE”-
project.

     3. Social Protection

The ILO’s work in this area was framed largely by its inputs to the design and development of the now
nationally endorsed social protection strategy for the poor and vulnerable (NSPS-PV). Contributions here
focussed mainly on the public works component and elements of a basic social floor which together form
key pillars of the Strategy. It also provided support to the RGC and other stakeholders to draft legislation
conduct financial studies and support implementation as regards social safety nets and social insurance
benefits.

Other areas of intervention included safety and health in the workplace, where the ILO employed existing
national good OSH practices as a practical means to expand OSH protection in the private sector, and
HIV/AIDS, where under the DWCP the ILO expanded previous activities to develop workplace education
programmes (on HIV and AIDS), strengthen the knowledge base on the subject through research, and
support the development of national policy and enterprise-level interventions to prevent HIV infection and
combat discrimination (based on HIV status) in the workplace.

5.       Decent Work Country Priorities and Outcomes

The Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) reflects the priorities of the tripartite constituents in
Cambodia, as expressed through several rounds of independent, bipartite and tripartite discussion and
consultation. It is from this collaborative spirit together with its emphasis on dialogue and consensus-
building and alignment with national development priorities that the DWCP’s strength and legitimacy is
derived.

Development of the 2011-2015 DWCP began in late 2010 with an independent review of the 2008-2010
programme –an exercise aimed at assessing the ILO’s performance in Cambodia and identifying lessons
learned to improve the effectiveness of the next DWCP.14 This was followed by individual constituent
discussions (with ILO specialists) and a tripartite consultation workshop, the former designed to help
explain the role and importance of the DWCP and stimulate discussions over broad priorities, and the latter
for discussion and consensus building over proposed priorities, and with them, outcomes. Key outcomes
suggested by constituents were later refined by ILO specialists in Bangkok as part of an extensive internal

14The assessment process, which involved both a desk review and wide-ranging constituent and stakeholder interviews
(using an assessment criteria devised by the ILO), reported a number of key recommendations aimed at improving the design
and delivery of ILO assistance, and with it, maximising the value-added the organisation provides to Cambodia’s wider
development goals.
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consultation process. Following this, a draft DWCP document was then produced by the ILO and submitted
for internal review and comments, before a revised final draft was produced and given to constituents for
review. Tripartite national endorsement of the finalised 2011-2015 DWCP took place in (November)
2011.15

DWCP Cambodia 2011-2015: Priorities and Outcomes

Agreed priorities and outcomes for the Decent Work Country Programme in Cambodia (2011-2015) are as
follows, together with their links to ILO global strategic priorities (in brackets)16

                 CP PRIORITY 1: Improving Industrial Relations and Rights at Work
Outcome 1.1.         Professional and technical capacities of social partners strengthened
                     (SPF 9 & SPF 10)
Outcome 1.2.         Improved mechanisms and processes for dispute resolution
                     (SPF 12)
Outcome 1.3.         Social Dialogue is both more effective and more widely employed, including collective
                     bargaining agreements and their enforcement
                     (SPF 12)
Outcome 1.4.         National labour standards reviewed, revised or developed in line with relevant
                     international labour standards and reported upon to international supervisory and
                     monitoring bodies
                     (SPF 18)
Outcome 1.5          More effective application of equality and rights at work for discriminated and vulnerable
                     groups
                     (SPF 17 & SPF 7)
                   CP PRIORITY 2: Promoting an enabling environment for decent
                   employment growth, with a particular focus on young people
Outcome 2.1.         Development of a National Employment Policy and relevant institutional framework for
                     promoting equitable employment and protection (SPF 1)

Outcome 2.2.         Enhanced employability of men and women through improved skills development and
                     public employment services
                     (SPF 2)
Outcome 2.3.         Improved MSME business and entrepreneurship skills and services (SPF 3)

Outcome 2.4.         Effective progress made to enhance enterprise productivity and competitiveness
                     (SPF 3 & SPF 13)
                     CP PRIORITY 3: Improving and Expanding Social Protection
Outcome 3.1.         Increased quality and coverage of social protection, particularly among vulnerable groups
                      (SPF 4)
Outcome 3.2.         Improved occupational safety and health in the workplace
                     (SPF 6)
Outcome 3.3.         Effective progress made toward the elimination of child labour, especially its worst forms

15 Pleasesee Annex 1 for a full timeline of DWCP consultation and development
16 These priorities were reached through consultation and negotiation with the ILO’s tripartite constituents. The Country
Programme Review, conducted in late 2010, identified three main priority areas among constituents: (1) Improved industrial
relations through better social dialogue and legal mechanisms; (2) Rights and social protection of vulnerable groups; and (3)
Enabling environment for employment creation.
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(SPF 16)
Outcome 3.4.         Enhanced delivery of targeted prevention and care programmes for HIV/AIDS in the world
                     of work
                     (SPF 8)

Cross-cutting themes

      Green jobs
Although the ILO does not have a specific programme on Green Jobs (GJ) in Cambodia, it aims to conduct a
number of activities in the coming year that will contribute toward the gradual up-scaling of the Green Jobs
agenda in the country (and with it, a potential future full inclusion at the outcome level of the DWCP).
Under the current DWCP (2011-2015), efforts to mainstream Green Jobs will be made throughout the ILO’s
programme of assistance, with specific components most likely in skills development (i.e. the development
of skills standards for green jobs in priority sectors like tourism), employment (the design of the National
Employment Policy and in the creation of micro and small enterprises) and social protection (the creation
of green jobs in the public works programme component of the NSPS-PV).

A number of important initiatives and activities have already been undertaken in recent years that have
raised the profile of Green Jobs in Cambodia and increased political interest in the concept. A national
seminar in early 2011, for example, identified four priority sectors for the expansion of green jobs in the
country –namely agriculture, construction, tourism, and garments, with further discussions surrounding
the potential future inclusion of forestry (and particularly, Green Jobs for indigenous groups).
Furthermore, in the garment sector, where ILO has a strong presence through its Better Factories
Cambodia programme, the ILO has already undertaken pilot initiatives to improve energy efficiency and
cleaner production –work which has helped to underscore the relevance and potential greener production
(and related Green Jobs) has to be linked with existing ILO interventions and align with national economic
and development goals. In addition, the ILO is currently exploring financing options that would allow for
the development of a more comprehensive Green Jobs programme in the country, and has submitted two
recent project proposals for consideration by major donors.17

CP PRIORITY 1: IMPROVING INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND RIGHTS AT WORK

Background and main actors

Modern industrial relations (IR) in Cambodia essentially began after the restoration of (relative) peace in
1993, a time which saw the emergence of the first garment factories and with them, the first trade unions.
In these early years relations between workers and employers have largely been characterised by high
levels of distrust and conflict, particularly in the garment industry, where the union movement is largest
and most vocal. Although this industry has grown rapidly to become a pillar of the post war economy,
tensions in the IR environment have hindered investment and undermined the garment industry’s
reputation for adhering to international labour standards.

17 As of June 2011, the ILO had submitted one proposal to the Climate Adaptation Alliance Fund and another to the Global

Climate Adaptation Fund. The former involves promotional work and training and information sharing about green jobs with
constituents, as well as a comprehensive mapping of green jobs in the country and the development of demonstration
activities covering areas like skills development (in green jobs). The second proposal is closely related to the ILO’s previous
experience in employment intensive infrastructure promotion, and would include the integration of this work with new
methodologies for building climate-adaptation infrastructure at the local level. Efforts would be made to align and link this
work with the country’s National Climate Adaptation Action Plan, as well as respective national and UN development
frameworks.
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I.   Government
The main government office responsible for day to day IR issues is the Department of Labour Disputes in
the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT). The department has played a generally positive
role in the development of the IR landscape in Cambodia, having been credited with advancing objectivity
and due process to the registration of (most) unions and certification of “most representative” unions. The
department has demonstrated growing effectiveness at resolving disputes, although improvements can be
made in building trust of workers and employers in the conciliation process. It has also made some
progress in mediating collective bargaining agreements, although more needs to be done in this regard to
make the process more structured and less ad hoc.

However understandings of basic IR principles can be uneven, particularly at the provincial level, and in
particular by officials from outside the MoLVT. Some government officials, for example, do not understand
that unions have the right to demand wages and conditions above what the law provides. In other cases,
provincial authorities may (literally) sit with the employers during collective bargaining. Capacity building
for provincial officials becomes increasingly important as investment and economic activity expands
beyond the three largest cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Kampong Som. The Arbitration Council, a
tripartite statutory body established in 2003 to resolve collective disputes (both on rights and interests),
also plays a key role in industrial relations.18 Its sustainability as an independent and impartial statutory
body will be a key challenge during this period. The government recognizes the important role the AC
plays in promoting fair industrial relations and has committed to maintaining its support for the institution.

     II.   Employers
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) is the oldest and most important employers’
organization in the country, despite it only representing a single sector (admittedly the largest formal
sector). The Ministry of Commerce has decreed that garment factories that wish to export from Cambodia
must join GMAC, and be subjected to independent monitoring on labour law and working conditions by the
ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programme. GMAC provides a range of advisory services and
training to its 300+ members, covering such areas as import/export facilitation, taxation, labour law and
other regulations, and dispute resolution. Industrial relations practices in the industry vary from
enterprise to enterprise, with both good and bad practices evident

In addition to GMAC, CAMFEBA serves as the main constituent of the ILO in its dealings with the Cambodian
private sector.19 An umbrella organisation representing more than a 1,000 enterprises across numerous
sectors, CAMFEBA’s core objectives are to present a strong and unified voice for the business community,
promote good industrial relations, represent and lobby for its members in government policymaking, and
provide advice and capacity building services to strengthen the competitiveness and reputation of
Cambodian businesses –both domestically and abroad. It does this through a combination of consultancy
and advisory services, advocacy work, training and networking.

Various foreign, national, and provincial chambers of commerce and sectoral associations are also active in
Cambodia, but play a generally lesser role than CAMFEBA and GMAC in the overall industrial relations
landscape.

 III.      Trade unions

18 The Arbitration Council is called for in the labour law and was established by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour and
Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation with support from the social partners and the ILO . Today it receives the bulk of its
funding from the World Bank.
19 CAMFEBA’s membership also includes garment factories that are members of GMAC.

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While certainly maturing, the trade union movement in Cambodia remains young and is still developing
skills and experience in both management and in negotiation and collective bargaining. Major challenges
unions face in the country include fragmentation and proliferation (particularly in the garment sector
where some factories have more than ten unions present), as well as personal and political rivalries -often
made worse by proliferation. Externally, many also face discrimination and non-recognition by employers,
political interference, and weak or non-existent legal enforcement.

Unions’ internal weaknesses are related in large part to low human capacity and weak financial viability,
but they also relate to a lack of vision, poor planning, and overwhelming male dominance at the senior
leadership level. In this regard, long standing ILO support has focused on improving core competencies –
namely education and training on a key labour issues related to International Labour Standards (ILS),
collective bargaining and negotiations, gender equality and leadership development. Furthermore, despite
the challenges have come successes; not least with regard to the increasing recent role unions have played
both in facilitating social dialogue and in influencing key legal processes (for example, helping to draft the
new Trade Union Law).

Key challenges in Industrial Relations and Rights at Work

     Weak capacity of actors
Unions, and to a lesser extent employers organisations, face a number of critical capacity constraints that
limit their organisational effectiveness and role in furthering a harmonious industrial relations
environment. A common problem among the myriad of enterprise level unions, for example, is a lack of
adequate human and financial capacity, as well as poor (and male-dominated) leadership and weak overall
vision.20 On the employers’ side, there remain weaknesses in some quarters with regard to labour law
compliance and understanding of social dialogue and collective bargaining, while the like unions there
remain too few women at the higher echelons of these organisations. For CAMFEBA, expansion of
membership and continuation of new and relevant services, including IR and legal services, remain an
important strategic priority. For the government, the machinery of law enforcement remains weak and as
such protection of fundamental rights at work, including those of trade unions, is inconsistent and leads to
disruptions to industrial harmony.

     Dispute resolution
The main manifestation of disputes in the formal sector is strikes, and this is particularly true in the
garment industry. In the sense that strikes should represent a last resort in mature IR environments, an
abundance of such often suggests weaknesses in the existing dispute resolution architecture. Strikes in
garment factories reached a high of around 100 in the year 2000 and have averaged around 82 per year
through 2008. In 2009 this fell to 59, partly as a consequence of the crisis (i.e. unions being apprehensive
to strike for fear of job losses), and have stayed around this level in 2010 and 2011, even as the industry
has rebounded sharply. This is generally seen to reflect a gradual improvement in the IR environment and
social dialogue in the industry. Leading causes of strike action include dismissals (particularly of union
leaders), non-renewal and abuse of short term contracts, and remuneration, particularly that of overtime
pay and the calculation of piece-rate payments. Strikes are also common over alleged harassment by
managers and factory closures. Almost all strikes fail to follow due legal process, namely conciliation and
arbitration, followed by strike vote and notice to the employer and ministry.

Dispute resolution procedures have proven effective in many cases, however. The Arbitration Council, for
example, resolves close to 70 percent of the disputes it hears. In addition in a landmark Memorandum of

20 In the garment sector, around nine out of every ten workers are in fact female, something which makes female

representation among related worker and employer bodies all the more important.
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