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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cambodia seeks strategies to combat economic crisis

PHNOM PENH, Representatives from trade unions, employers, government and civil society have gathered in Phnom Penh to share real-life experiences and discuss strategies to cope with challenges in Cambodia's industrial relations community during and beyond the global economic crisis.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Arbitration Council Foundation which organized the one-day forum said collective strategies discussed by conference participants included stronger workplace cooperation and improved systems for regular social dialogue, early crisis warning systems, and common procedures agreed by the employers and unions to resolve existing or potential workplace grievances.

"As the key actors in industrial relations, we need to work together in order to ensure that enterprises continue to survive, to minimize any further losses of profits and jobs while finding opportunities to prepare for and to produce new opportunities for our businesses and people,"said Sok Lor, executive director of the Arbitration Council Foundation "Achieving this common goal will require joint action, especially among the employers, unions, and Government,"he said.

Joint action and the need for improved social dialogue among the industrial relations community was echoed by many at the Conference.

Oum Mean, secretary of state of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said it is now a difficult stage for both the world and Cambodia's economy, yet (the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training) finds it an opportunity for Cambodia to strengthen cooperation between the government, employers and employees to join hand to combat the crisis, support the economy of Cambodia and create harmonization in industrial relations for improved productivity, sustainability in production and reduced job losses.

Echoing at the conference, Qimao Fan, World Bank Country Manager, stressed the importance of workers and employers engaging in dialogue and finding cooperative strategies during the period of the economic crisis. "Improved industrial relation is important today and probably the most important [time] in Cambodia's history," he said at the conference.

A one-day forum titled "Global Economic Crisis and Cambodian Industrial Relations: Challenges and Way Forward"– is designed for key employment and labour stakeholders to engage in social dialogue for improved industrial relations in Cambodia and thereby contribute to broader economic growth and social development.

The Arbitration Council Foundation is a registered local not- for-profit foundation established in 2004 to support and facilitate the labour dispute resolution work of the Arbitration Council. (PNA/Xinhua)

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