Entertainment Worker Groups
Social Protectin For The Informal Workers
Paper publication date:
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Who are Entertainment Workers?
In Cambodia, there are around 70,000 (75% female) entertainment workers including massage workers, restaurant workers, and beer promotion workers as well as those working in hotels and casinos. Some laws and policies have been put in place to improve the situation of the entertainment workers e.g. laws to protect against violence against women and girls. However, entertainment workers still face many issues and problems such as violence, sexual harassment, rights abuses and a lack of full access to the social protection scheme.
“Stand Up for Entertainment Workers’ Rights, Social Protection and Stop Discrimination,” said Ms. Sor Sonita, 33 years old, who is working as an entertainment worker in one of the entertainment centres in Sen Sok district, Phnom Penh. She has been working as an entertainment worker at night clubs and KTVs for almost 8 years. She has faced sexual harassment, sexual abuse, violence, discrimination, and been forced to drink alcohol. She is discriminated against by her neighbours. Her group has also been faced with bad working conditions, such as having to work every day and not being allowed a day off, and having no access to health care.
Sonita said, “I met with union staff in 2016 when they came to organise a union group. I did not want to participate through fear of losing my job and I also did not understand well the benefit of being a union member.
However, after I tried to participate two times in their meetings, I received information on workers’ rights; workers have the right to request leave or have a day off. I started to participate with the CFSWF in 2017, and I have learnt about organising, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gender, union, and social protection. I gained confidence and dare to negotiate and dialogue with the owner and manager. My group organised many meetings, with support from the CFSWF, and we convinced the owner to give us a weekly day off/leave, and deduct salary/earnings by percentage of the day only (not like before to deduct three days salary for one day off).
The company I work for now has registered with the NSSF to pay for health and work injury for workers and also apply other benefits and work conditions for entertainment workers. I am confident to talk in public to advocate to stop discrimination against entertainment workers, and request customers to stop sexual harassment and violence against women. We also advocate for decent work and decent wages for our entertainment workers.”
Established in 2007, the CFSWF promotes workers’ rights and interests, especially women, by empowering them through awareness raising, organising, advocacy, strengthening workers’ representation in negotiations for collective bargaining as well as promoting them in leadership positions. Entertainment workers are one of the CFSWF target informal workers groups and include massage workers, restaurant workers, and beer promotion workers.
There are 2,234 members (85% females) who migrated from their home town to work in urban areas and cities. The CFSWF provides support to entertainment worker members to have better organised unions, supports them in capacity building and empowering, supports them to access legal support and dispute resolution services, and have better safety and health in the work place, protects them from violence and sexual harassment in the work place, and promotes decent work and decent salary.
The CFSWF also supports entertainment workers to access the NSSF for the health care scheme. As a result, 5,000 entertainment workers have registered with the NSSF and receive health insurance, work injury, and maternity benefits.