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Union Leader Looks at Wage Cut on 'Hello VOA'

Rong Chhun, president of the Independent Teacher's Association and a leader in the labor sector, appeared on "Hello VOA" Thursday to examine a new amendment to the labor law that will cut wages for nighttime workers.

Government labor officials say the new amendment will boost job growth in a country whose young workforce is growing. But critics say the amendments were made to appease big business at the expense of small workers.

The $3 billion garment industry is the country's top earner, and the US is the top buyer for good produced in Cambodia. Cambodia has about 350,000 workers in more than 300 factories.

Rong Chhun, who is on a trip to the US to convince buyers to pressure the government on the new amendment, called the reformed law a big loss for workers. It was also not likely to bring more jobs, he said, because investors would rather see a better investment infrastructure with more safeguards and the elimination of corruption. The passed amendment must be signed into law by King Norodom Sihamoni, so it is not too late to stop, he said.

Rong Chhun also urged the government to ensure safety for workers exposed to dangerous chemicals.

After callers despaired there was no solution to the new amendment, Rong Chhun suggested a peaceful demonstration of the masses.