Cambodia’s exports of garments and footwear rose by 7.2 per cent in 2016 from 2015. Garment exports to the European Union grew by 14 per cent in 2016. About 640 factories hold export licenses. More than 7,00,000 workers are employed in the sector and over 80 per cent of them are women, most of them between 16 and 25 years old.
In Cambodia, with the support of the ILO Better Factory Program, a system of labor inspections in the garment sector has been developed. Advice and capacity development is provided to worker management committees to bridge their communication gap and foster understanding and respect, minimising conflicts and refusal to work. Project interventions at Cambodia’s garment factory level also focus on two more areas: nutrition and transport security.
Malnutrition is prevalent among female garment workers and contributes to mass fainting, frequent sick leaves and low performance and productivity in the factories. Workers’ nutrition is being improved through awareness raising and information as well as through advising on the establishment of factory canteens providing quality food. Transport security is being improved. At present garment workers are usually transported on trucks that are not made for public transport and often do not comply with any road safety standards.