Beyond the Mekong

Solidarity in Cambodia

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Beyond the Mekong | Politics | Southeast Asia

Solidarity in Cambodia

A conversation with the trade unionist Wim Conklin.

Solidarity in Cambodia

Workers at a garment factory in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Credit: Flickr/UN Women

Wim Conklin has served as Country Program Director for the Solidarity Center Cambodia for the past five years and has worked on international labor programs in South and Southeast Asia since 1994.

In recent years he has also worked closely with garment workers and their employers and the hotel industry. Both sectors have been severely punished by the COVID-19 virus, which has escalated in Cambodia with authorities scrambling to rollout the government’s vaccination program.

Conklin spoke with Luke Hunt about the plight of low-paid workers in Cambodia, the difficulties they are facing due to the pandemic, and what industry needs to do once the virus subsides.

The garment sector, which at its peak employed around 800,000 people, has also been hit by the withdrawal of some trade perks by the European Union, under its Everything But Arms policy, due to this country’s human rights record.

Conklin is also a member of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, Communications Workers of America.

Luke Hunt can be followed on Twitter @lukeanthonyhunt