Global unions demands charges against union leaders dropped

23 November 2018 08:49

The BWI-Asia Pacific, along with the Asia-Pacific Regional Offices of four other global union federations, have released a statement calling on the Government of Cambodia to drop charges filed against six independent trade union leaders from the garment sector. The civil and criminal suits were filed by garment manufacturer for their participation in minimum wage protests.

“There is no evidence suggesting that these leaders called for, caused, provoked or condoned such actions”, said BWI Asia-Pacific Regional Representative Apolinar Tolentino. “This clearly demonstrates the politicisation of the judiciary in Hun Sen’s Cambodia.”

At the BWI World Congress in December 2017 a resolution was passed calling on the Government to suspend the 2016 Trade Union Law and implement the recommendations of the ILO Direct Contact Mission. Since then, however, Cambodia’s fragile democracy has deteriorated significantly. With the help of a pliant judiciary, President Hun Sen banned the major opposition parties from politics, securing victory in this year’s election (his Cambodia Peoples’ Party won all seats).

Independent unions – including BWI affiliate the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC) – remain critical social actors in protecting democratic space in Cambodia.