CAMBODIA: Phone project shows worker knowledge improving
Findings from the second phase of a pioneering mobile phone call-in project in Cambodia suggest garment and footwear workers are improving their knowledge about labour rights, occupational safety and health, and personal health.
The Kamako Chhnoeum ("Outstanding Worker" in Khmer) project is organised by the International Labour Organization's Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programme.
Launched on 1 September last year, it gathers information about the level of knowledge the workers possess, as well as recorded factory-specific information. Initial results were released in a report in late October.
Results of the second phase covering November and December showed 1,991 valid calls were received - a drop on the 3,245 recoded in the first two months, which the BFC partially blamed on widespread strikes and factory closures across the industry.
Key findings show 24% of the callers incorrectly believe that workers on strike are entitled to receive wages - although this figure is an improvement over the previous reporting period in which 32% of callers answered this question incorrectly.
There has also been a significant increase in respondents' understanding of occupational health and safety. 70% understood correctly that twice/year emergency drills are needed, 76% knew what do when a fire alarm rings and 80% clearly understood the importance of needle guards on sewing machines.
And 65% correctly answered that workers who have worked for less than one year are entitled to unpaid maternity leave; an increase from 53% in the last reporting period.
The project, which is available for free to workers calling on two networks, uses an Interactive Voice Response system to educate the workers.
The format is a phone-in quiz where workers answer questions related to salary and allowances, occupational health and safety, and personal health. The caller chooses one topic on which they would like to be quizzed and is then asked a series of three questions.
BFC says it is in discussions with other phone companies to expand the programme.
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