A group representing Cambodian garment makers has welcomed government action to screen union leaders for criminal records before they can register new branches. 

In a statement, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) described the move as "positive action toward enforcement of the Cambodian Labor Law concerning union registration". 

"This positive step with a clear vision will create a social, business and investment environment that is certain and favourable for economic development, especially in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community by end 2015," it added.

While the requirement that union leaders must not have been convicted of crime has been part of the country's labour law since 1997, it has not previously been enforced. But union leaders have suggested the move discriminates against them, and increases the likelihood of corruption.