Press release: Oxfam and Laudes Foundation launch initiative to promote inclusive social protection for apparel employees in Cambodia
Embargoed until Monday 23 May 2022, 00.01am
Phnom Penh, 23 May 2022_Oxfam and Laudes Foundation launch INSPIRE – an initiative to help Royal Government of Cambodia strengthen inclusive social protection for apparel industry employees.
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.
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 USD$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.”
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.”
About 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).
We will also be working and collaborate closely with several strategic partners, such as National Social Protection Council (NSPC), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT), The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), international brand companies and apparel industry employers, and other stakeholders to strengthen and safeguard inclusive social protection for apparel industry employees across the Kingdom.
initiative will enable apparel industry workers to better access social protections schemes and benefits, information, and to hold service providers more accountable. It will also support the Royal Government of Cambodia to integrate gender transformative social protection approach into its social protection policy intervention.
This project will reduce the vulnerability of workers in the apparel industry and their families by improving access to the National Social Security Fund. It is expected to benefit a total of 23,000 individuals directly and 735,000 indirectly. In addition, it is anticipated that approximately 1,000,000 individuals will be sensitised by the awareness raising campaigns and communication activities foreseen under the project.
Ms. Naratevy Kek, Oxfam Communications Coordinator