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NZ works to promote labour rights in Cambodia

8 April 2005

NZ works to promote labour rights in Cambodia

International efforts to promote labour rights and resolve damaging labour disputes in Cambodia would receive New Zealand government support, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"Labour conflicts, caused by disputes over work conditions, are threatening jobs and businesses in Cambodia's manufacturing and service industries," Marian Hobbs said. "We and the International Labour Organisation want to turn things around."

The government's international development agency NZAID would provide US$500,000 to the ILO to help with its labour dispute prevention and resolution work in Cambodia.

"The money will be spent in three areas: training of employers, union representatives, shop stewards, police, civil servants and judiciary on their rights and responsibilities relating to strikes and labour disputes; management of the two-year old Arbitration Council; and a review of Cambodia's seven-year-old Labour Law," Marian Hobbs said.

Labour disputes in Cambodia were on the rise, with a nine-fold increase in strikes and other collective actions between 1997 and 2004. This was destroying jobs and eroding Cambodia's labour productivity.

"The ILO's work to improve industrial relations in Cambodia is highly respected, and matches New Zealand's desire to support the international promotion and protection of labour rights, standards and gender equity," Marian Hobbs said.


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