ILO Better Factories Cambodia Programme Extended for Three Years

AKP Phnom Penh, November 21, 2019 —

International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Better Factories Cambodia programme has been extended for another three years, according to a joint press release AKP received this morning.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on this extension was signed here this morning between the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Commerce, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and ILO Better Factories Cambodia programme.

Under the MoU, the extension will last from January 2020 to December 2022, during which the partners have committed to improve working conditions and improving competitiveness and productivity in the textile and apparel sector and expand the coverage of the MoU to include the travel goods and bag sector of Cambodia.

ILO Better Factories Cambodia programme will be extended its scope from garment and textile, to also include travel goods and bag industry. Since 2001, the Royal Government of Cambodia has linked trade with labour standards in the garment and textile sector in Cambodia in order to promote compliance with, and effective enforcement of, existing labour law, and to promote labour rights against the Cambodian labour code and internationally recognised core labour standards.

The BFC programme will continue to perform assessments on the working conditions in garment factories. Advisory and training activities on workplace improvement and productivity enhancement will continue to operate regularly on a fee for service basis. BFC will also work with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on the implementation of a joint strategy and action plan with the objective to support government’s capacity and ownership to uphold compliance with labour law and support remediation in the garment, footwear and travel goods and bag sectors. Furthermore, BFC will continue to work with GMAC and travel goods and bag manufacturers for the areas of joint collaboration to build factory capacity for sustained compliance and support factories in strengthening their management systems.

“Through the policy of linking trade with labour standards, Cambodia has been gaining good reputation and becomes a leading country in international trade policy and playing a role model for some other countries. The implementation of this policy is also to help buyers secure trusted sourcing of garments in Cambodia”, said H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce.

“Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training always deems ILO-BFC and GMAC as their key stakeholders in contributing to ensuring labour rights and working conditions and improving competitiveness and productivity in the garment industry in the Kingdom. This new MoU will also cover the travel goods and bags sector, which is another big step to expand its scope and showcases the commitment of the Government in its mission to promote working conditions in textile, garment, travel goods and bags sector in line with the internationally recognised core labour standards and the Labour Law of Cambodia,” underlined H.E. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training.

“GMAC is committed to continue working with the Better Factories Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia to maintain productive, safe and sustainable jobs for our Cambodian labour force,” said Mr. Van Sou Ieng, President of GMAC.

“By working with the government and GMAC, we will together promote decent jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers, especially women, and help workers to develop new skills, businesses to bring in greater profits, and families to escape poverty,” commented Graeme Buckley, ILO Country Director for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

The MoU has been renewed six times by the parties since the ILO-BFC programme began in 2001.

Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) is part of the Better Work Programme, a collaboration between the International Labour Organisation and the International Finance Corporation, which is operating across three continents to catalyse change along global supply chains in the garment industry, the work of BFC will be an integral part, in the recently signed, Cambodia Decent Work Country Programme.

By Khan Sophirom