Target: Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen
Goal: Stop and punish those who abuse garment workers in Cambodia.
The vast majority of female garment workers in Cambodia are suffering from human rights abuses. These workers are often discriminated against and forced to work long hours to meet the demands of retailers. Yet with large retailers such as Gap and H&M forcing these workers to work harder, the Cambodian government has not been inclined to help its female workers. Stop the discrimination and harsh labor practices by signing this petition.
While there are labor laws in place to protect garment workers, Cambodia’s government has done little to enforce them. Human Rights Watch documented cases of discrimination against pregnant workers, forcing some into overtime, and anti-union measures. The organization investigated that garment factories were issuing short-term contracts to laborers so the companies would not have to pay maternal leave or other benefits. And even though these contracts are short, the companies will even terminate such contracts if the worker ends up costing the factory too much money.
Of the many workers that the organization interviewed, many describe harsh and unforgiving conditions. During periods when a massive amount of work was needed, workers would be denied breaks, lunch, or to even drink water. The supervisors of these garment factories force workers to work faster, and these conditions have only worsened since the country’s minimum wage has increased. And while overtime is voluntary, over 40 workers testified that overtime was necessary in these factories. These factories also refuse to provide reasonable accommodation for pregnant women, and 11 of the facilities that Human Rights Watch investigated actually employed children.
Women make up 90 percent of the garment industry work force, and yet they are being heavily discriminated against. Big name retailers such as Gap, H&M, Armani, and Adidas are adding to the problem, but Cambodia has laws meant to protect garment workers. Tell Prime Minister Hun Sen to stop abusing his nation’s workers and punish factory owners for abusing garment workers.
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
The plight of your country’s garment workers has caught my attention, as the majority of laborers are experiencing gross abuse. These workers are forced into overtime, cannot form unions, and are discriminated repetitively by their supervisors. Accommodations are not made for pregnant women, and these factories often employ illegal-short term contracts with workers. This abuse must stop.
I implore you to enforce your country’s labor laws. Children should not be working in factories. No one should be forced into overtime. A pregnant woman should receive accommodations. All of these things are supposed to be provided by law, but Cambodia refuses to acknowledge or enforce them. As prime minister, it is your duty to make sure the laws are upheld, and I beseech you to enforce them for the health of your nation’s garment workers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fahad Faisal via Wikimedia Commons