There are only very few truly independent and democratically organized trade unions in Cambodia. The state is actively blocking their efforts. Solidar Suisse supports strong, independent unions with significant female participation. This is the only way to improve women‘s position in the garment industry.
The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) is the country‘s largest independent trade union in the clothing industry. With its 95,000 members, it has considerable political weight.
Solidar Suisse, in collaboration with the C&A Foundation, supports workshops for workers and trains them for negotiations with the factory management. The workers learn how to use the Better Factories Cambodia database, an initiative supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). These publicly available data document deficiencies shown in factory audits. This knowledge, and improved organisation of the women workers, strengthens the union’s position and ensures state recognition of the collective bargaining results. This project should result in better, long-term working conditions for at least 9,000 garment workers.
To ensure that C.CAWDU can continue to function despite increasing government repression, Solidar Suisse supports the union by helping it to set up a modern database of its members and to implement an internal reform process. A further goal is to strengthen the role of female workers within the union and achieve more women’s representation in its leadership