A national workshop to safeguard garment factory workers on their daily commutes hosted in Cambodia

December 21, 2021

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – December 21, 2021

In 2020, road crashes among garment and footwear factory workers accounted for over 55% of
the total commuting workers involved in road crashes. This does not only impact the lives of workers,
but also the lives of the 2 million family members they support.

The trucks that currently provide transportation to and from work are often large, flat, and very
dangerous as factory workers must stand up as there are no proper seats to sit on. Often, many factory
workers are crammed into the trucks, causing high risk danger to their safety and well-being.
To address these dangerous commuting conditions, the Transportation Working Group, a group of
committed brands, buyers and stakeholders that was established in 2016 to identify ways to improve
transportation safety for garment and footwear factory workers, hosted a national workshop on
the possibility to transition from trucks to safer vehicles. The workshop is part of the Prevention &
Participation Program supported by VF Corporation and the Commuting Safety for Cambodian
Workers Program which is supported by USAID through the Solidarity Center.

The objectives of the full day workshop were to provide solutions, a cost benefit analysis, and
recommendations for workers’ commuting safety, as well as to disseminate recommendations to
improve workers’ safety to large-scale audiences. An additional goal was to reach agreements with
target stakeholders (e.g., factories, brands/buyers, collective transport representatives, trade union
leaders, labour organizations, development partners, and government) on pathways to transition
from truck or unseated vehicles to passenger or proper seated vehicles for garment workers.

At the beginning of the national workshop, Dr. Chan Sophal from the Centre for Policy Studies,
presented the results of a feasibility study and shared the recommendations from the study,
highlighting the necessity to transition to safer vehicles. Findings and recommendations of the
Feasibility study include enforcement of regulations on vehicle standards, raising awareness about
transport safety among workers and about safe speed among driver associations, improvement of
road infrastructures and conditions, as well as accessibility for workers to safe transports (safe access
to bus stops, solutions to lower costs for both operators and workers).

AIP Foundation, Better Factories Cambodia, Solidary Center and VF Corporation welcomed the
attendance of representatives from the relevant government bodies, private sector, development
partners, trade unions (regional and national), the association of collective transportation drivers,
garment and footwear brands and factory management, indicating the importance of joint efforts in
reaching safer commuting for workers in Cambodia.

H.E. Min Meanvy, Secretary of State of Public Works and Transport and Secretary General of the
National Road Safety Committee, shared, “Workers are indispensable human resources that we need
to pay greater attention and help to improve their road safety and welfare. This will support the
production chain of the factories; contribute to the stability of the national economy and income for
their families. Today’s workshop inspires practical solutions to ensure that factory workers are
commuting safely.”

To view more photos from the event, please click here.

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