Oxfam and Laudes Foundation Launch Initiative to Promote Inclusive Social Protection for Apparel Employees in Cambodia

Oxfam in Cambodia, with support from Laudes Foundation, has partnered with four well-established NGOs and trade unions to jointly implement an initiative called, Inclusive National Social Protection Initiatives that Respond to the Needs of Apparel Industry Employees (INSPIRE).

Running through to 2025, this initiative will help Royal Government of Cambodia enhance social protection for apparel industry employees, according to a press released AKP received on May 23.

The Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to social protection for all and building a resilient and inclusive society. The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) ensured 80,000 female garment workers received maternity allowances from the government in 2020, totalling US$7.9 million. In addition, at the height of COVID-19 pandemic, workers laid-off received support in the form of cash-based transfer programmes.

Building on these efforts to address social inequality, INSPIRE and partners will help to further leverage the NSSF and address the remaining barriers to social protection among apparel industry employees, particularly contract workers. These include limited access to information about social protection schemes and benefits, lack of compliance among apparel industry employers, and the quality of services provided and available to apparel industry workers.

Ms. Sophoan Phean, National Director of Oxfam said Oxfam is committed to working with and supporting Royal Government of Cambodia and stakeholders to reduce poverty and inequality amongst apparel industry employees especially those who are in the informal arrangements, the majority of them women, by enhancing their access to inclusive social protection.

“Having access to social protection is critical for them and their households, as it helps sustain their well-being, build resilience, and reduce risk of global shocks or pandemic,” she added.

Jill Tucker, Head of Labour Rights Programme of Laudes Foundation, said Contributory social security schemes like the NSSF strengthen the social contract and provide a basis for workers to demand support and protection when they experience illness, workplace injuries or economic shocks.

“Fulfilling this promise hinges in part on workers’ voices being better represented and reflected in policy discussions. Through collaboration with Oxfam on the INSPIRE initiative, we believe apparel industry workers in Cambodia will be able to access the benefits they are entitled to under the NSSF,” he said.

INSPIRE “Inclusive National Social Protection Initiatives that Response to the Needs of Apparel Industry Employees” is a collaborative effort between Oxfam and the Laudes Foundation along with four implementing and strategic partners.

This project will be jointly implemented by four well established NGO and trade unions, such as Centre for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), and Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU).

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press