On January 30, 2018, the one-day workshop on Freedom of Association and Dispute Prevention and Resolution to all Gap’s suppliers at InterContinental Hotel Phnom Penh with the participants from 47 factories in Phnom Penh and nearby provinces in total there were 183 representatives of employers and employees.

The workshop was co-organized by the Arbitration Council Foundation, International Labour Organization – Better Factories Cambodia (ILO-BFC) and Gap Inc. and funded by Gap Inc.  This workshop focused on discussion of the importance topics as: FOA, Labour Dispute Resolutions and the Arbitration Council and Workplace Cooperation.

In welcoming remark, Mr. Men Nimmith – Executive Director of the Arbitration Council Foundation (ACF) said “ACF welcome Gap Inc. and ILO-BFC for the cooperation in promoting Rights and Freedom of Association (FOA) of employee and employer”. He added that the foundation is continuing its role in providing training courses and facilitating dialogue for all stakeholders of Cambodian Industrial Relations under the laws. The implementation of FOA and its duties with integrity will result in stability of industrial relations, high productivity and high prosperity in labour sector.    

During her remark Ms Esther German, Programme manager ILO-BFC, mentioned that Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) is an organization that seeks to establish an ethical commercial environment and improve the workers lives within factories in Cambodia and increase productivity.

“Gap Inc. supports freedom of association and the rights of workers to lawfully and peacefully associate, organize and bargain collectively. FOA has been a core tenet of our Code of Vendor Conduct (COVC) for over two decades.” Said by Mr. William Lee, Senior Director, Global Sustainability, Gap Inc. during the opening remark of the workshop.

Mr. William Lee said some data shows that a number of labour disputes in this sector contribute to the declined productivity. Therefore, harmonized industrial relations and sound dispute resolution is essential for the continued growth of the industry. We as brands have also supported the Arbitration Council Foundation and Better Factories Cambodia to build capacity of workers and employers to prevent and resolve labour disputes at the worksite level, and to raise awareness of and encourage appropriate use of labour dispute resolution mechanisms and services. We, Gap Inc., do support Arbitration Council Foundation and Better Factories Cambodia because it is highly credible with high degree of trust and support from stakeholders. Our goal here today is to provide you with both technical guidance on this, as well as “soft-skills” training on how best to address this important issue in your factories.

Mr. Daniel Fibiger -Director of Gap Inc’s Global Sustainability, said this in his closing remark: “Gap Inc. as a company fully respects and supports the rights of workers to collect and organize. Cambodia is one of the most important countries to their company and Gap Inc wish to continue to invest in Cambodia. Investment in Cambodia is reliant on suppliers trusting and respecting their workers and trusting and respecting the ACF and BFC because they are the two most important partners in Cambodia.  Gap Inc’s commitment to Cambodia is largely based on the work of BFC and the ACF.”