On May 30 fell in Cambodia the verdict in the case of trade union activists from the clothing industry who were arrested during a demonstration for a higher minimum wage. Early January, the demonstration of half a million workers was, at the request of local business managers, beaten bloody by special order services. Five were killed, 39 seriously injured and 23 protesters were arrested. 21 were still in prison, some in very poor medical condition, but today, all 21 were finally released.
On 10 February, the world union ITUC organized a global day of protest actions to advocate for the release of the activists and support their fight for a higher minimum wage in Cambodia. In Brussels, two hundred activists gathered at the Cambodian embassy, after a call from ACV-CSC, -ABVV-FGTB, World Solidarity, the Clean Clothes Campaign, FOS, Oxfam Solidarity and the International Trade Union Confederation (also read this). For more background on this case, read this article by Jessie Vancouwenberghe from the International Department of ACV-CSC.
Marc Leemans, spokesman for the workers in the commission of standards at the International Labour Conference which was launched in Geneva this week, also obtained that Cambodia is put on the agenda as a case to monitor the respect for international labor rules. Cambodia is high on the priority list of the employees because of the numerous and flagrant violations of labor rights. In the recently published report by the International Trade Union Confederation on workers’ rights, Cambodia received a very poor score.
Next week, the Cambodian government will therefore be called to justify itself in front of the standards committee of the International Labour Conference.