“Translating Strategy to Action” garment and footwear factory industry seminar in Cambodia

September 16, 2019

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Transportation Working Group (TWG), a group of committed brands, factory managers, and development partners seeking to address the significant health and safety risks that factory workers face on their daily commute, met together for a one-day seminar to discuss strategies and actions for improving commuting safety for Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector workers. The seminar took place at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and was coordinated by Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), GIZ, and The Solidarity Center. 

Currently, more than 700,000 factory workers provide the labor for Cambodia’s US$7.3 billion export sector. However, the safeguards in place to promote workers’ transport safety remain low, with workers at risk on their daily commutes due to inexperienced road users lacking sufficient driver education, low helmet use, unsafe and overloaded vehicles, unenforced vehicle standards not enforced, increasingly heavy traffic, and poor infrastructure. In 2016, there were 4,451 reported commuting crash cases in Cambodia, or more than 12 workers injured per day, and a total of 43 worker fatalities that year. 

To promote discussion around factory workers’ transport safety, the industry seminar began with an overview of key initiatives and achievements, including government initiatives to educate transportation providers and workers and increase driver licensing, as well as outcomes from a one-year pilot program implemented by AIP Foundation in five factories, which reached a total of 24,773 people.

During the seminar, stakeholders assessed progress made since the Transportation Working Group launched the Garment and Footwear Sector Road Safety Strategy in January 2018, in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia and other stakeholders. The strategy outlines four focus areas: improved road safety management and accountability, safer infrastructure and planning, safer vehicles and modes of transport, and safer road users. 

Representatives from the Solidarity Center, VF Corporation, and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, also moderated discussions on how to improve access to sustainable and safe transportation options for workers. Private sector, development, and government representatives further shared information on future initiatives that will contribute to a multi-sector approach to improving safety. 

View more photos from the seminar here.

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