Labour Rights for female construction workers in Cambodia
Cambodia’s booming construction industry employs between 175,000 and 200,000 workers, many of whom are unskilled and work informally as day labourers. An estimated 20 – 40% of the construction workers are female; many have relocated from rural areas of Cambodia to find work in the construction sector in the growing capital of Phnom Penh. Female construction workers are often in the lowest paid positions, without access to equal pay for equal work and with little voice to advocate for improved working conditions. According to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, investments have risen from US$ 840 million in 2010 to US$ 2.7 billion in 2013. With the rapid growth of this industry, CARE sees the need for an increased focus on the labour rights of the women employed within this sector.
Female Construction Workers (FCW) face the same problems as all unskilled construction workers; limited workplace protections provided by construction companies and limited access to protection by the law. However, for women, these problems are exacerbated by social norms which undervalue their contribution, leading to less pay, security and opportunities for work progression and training. These circumstances place additional family responsibilities on them and give them fewer social capacity to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights.
ER 1: 3,000 females working in the construction sector are aware of their rights and have increased ability to access protection and to advocate for improved labour rights, protections and working conditions.
This result will contribute to generating awareness and understanding among FCW on their rights and entitlements as workers in the construction sector. Under this Action, CARE proposes to partner with the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (the Trade Union) as third party. This partnership will strengthen the capacities of its union leaders as advocates for FCW labour rights and other issues identified as urgent by women in the sector. CARE will also partner with CWPD, which will be delivering capacity building to peer leaders as a tool to reach out to FCW at the workplace.
ER 2: 300 private sector construction companies have increased awareness of workplace rights and implement improved protections and working conditions.
Parallel to strengthening peer-to-peer rights education, this result will improve working conditions and strengthen implementation of workplace protections and workers’ rights. CARE will approach private sector companies and strengthen working relationships through the Cambodia Constructors Association (CCA). CARE will engage with members of the CCA and encourage these to conduct awareness raising activities with construction companies, and to conduct advocacy activities on workplace protections including the National Social Security Fund protections (which can provide insurance against occupational risks). CARE and partners will raise awareness among private sector managers on the relevance and adherence and implementation of the Code of Conduct on Good Practices and advocate for increased protections in the workplace. CARE will develop this collaboration with CCA based on its experience with the Beer Selling Industry in Cambodia (BSIC), and the Garment Manufacturing Association Cambodia (GMAC), leveraging the successes of similar actions to reduce workplace harassment, improve reporting mechanisms and implement improved protections in these sectors. CARE will introduce and expose CCA to other stakeholders, such as industry associations and construction companies, who are leaders in workplace safety. This learning exchange will bring important awareness and lessons on FCW rights and working conditions from other (peer) private sector companies.
ER 3: Capacities of duty bearers are enhanced towards promotion of a better institutional environment that is responsive and accountable to construction workers.
The third expected result in this proposal will strengthen institutional structures, capacities and the legal environment leading to the duty bearer’s (government) support to implement workplace protections for FCW, including individual protections and rights to collective actions.
The Action will take place in seven districts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018
European Union, Austrian Development Agency (with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation)
The overall objective for this Action is: To advocate for and promote implementation of fundamental labour rights and protections in the construction sector in Cambodia
The specific objective of the Action is: To strengthen capacity of female construction workers (FCW), civil society, and government on labour rights and to increase the voice and influence of Female Construction Workers.