BACKGROUND & STRATEGY VISION
Workers’ Information Center (WIC) is the women garment workers based association and registered at Ministry of Interior (MOI) in 2009. WIC was emerged from the Womyn’s Agenda for Change (WAC)’s project called the garment workers’ empowerment. WIC supports women garment workers to advocate for and realise their rights. WIC’s long term strategy focuses on building and strengthening a movement of garment workers towards realisation of accountable and legitimate leadership within the sector, which responds to women worker’s rights and needs.
WIC seeks to create space for women to become leaders within the garment and union sectors and for women’s voices to be heard and responded to nationally, regionally and internationally. Towards this strategy, WIC effort is on organising, empowering by provides spaces where women can meet to discuss workplace issues, plan collective action and seek a broad range of services and support. WIC‘s drop in centers provide a safe space for women workers to come together to build knowledge, confidence and power.
The centers also provide access to critical services such as healthcare, legal assistance and training opportunities. Through outreach, training, forums and exchange, WIC support women garment workers to become informed and organised. The approach adopted is one of empowerment. WIC seeks to equip women workers with skills, knowledge and information to collectively enhance realisation of workplace rights, status and leadership. WIC also works with labour networks, trade unions, legal and human rights organisations who have close relationships with government institutions (such as the Ministry of Labour), and buyers in order to gain their support for the improvement of working conditions. WIC primarily works with young women employed by Cambodia’s garment factories. Low wages, hazardous working conditions, sexual harassment, discrimination, short term contracts and limited social security provisions are all hallmarks of the Cambodia garment industry.
Despite implementation of the ‘Better Factories Cambodia Project’, overseen by the International Labour Organization (ILO), working conditions in garment factories in Cambodia remain poor. Women in the garment factories contribute substantially to Cambodia’s economic growth, yet often remain marginalised, without representation, leadership, or a voice in decisions that affect their lives. WIC is a member of the United Sisterhood Alliance (Us). “Us” is an alliance of four social groups that evolved from an organization established in 1999, the Womyn’s Agenda for Change (WAC).
Other members of “Us” include: the Women’s Network for Unity-WNU, a union of sex workers; the Messenger Band, a group of former garment workers; and Social Action for Change-SAC, a group of activists who support the mobilisation and growth of grassroots democratic action in Cambodia. See more at: http://www.unitedsisterhood.org Vision: A unite voice of the women garment workers to demand economic and social justice and human rights and the right to access to adequate health care and treatment and decent living condition. Mission: To empowering women workers to building their common understanding, idea and analysis, and involved by ensure workers’ decisions are reached and consensus. Value: WIC believes in workers’ rights as human rights. We believe that as a step toward reaching the economy, political, social change for garment workers, emergence of a strong women workers’ movement is important. And therefore, WIC commits to invest its energy into organising and empowering women garment workers to enable a united voice.
Goals: Increase gender equity and equality where women garment workers take the leadership role within the unions and/or federations as well as within the Cambodia society. Improvement of working conditions and the decent wages that women worker’s rights and benefits are respected and protected. A common voice of the women garment workers advocate for the improvement of social services and social protection (which specifically the rights to access to adequate health service and a decent living condition are covered) for women garment workers. Objective: Empowering garment workers (GWs) through organising and providing the safe space where garment workers can gain knowledge and power, and access counselling, peer networks, training, basic healthcare and legal advice toward improvement of garment workers involvement in labour’s movement and social movement. Advocate and work towards gender equality and equity by promote and support women workers to take the leadership roles to improve women workers’ rights and rights to social services and social protection. Build worker’s confidence to advocate for improved working conditions and decent wages and produce/provide access to materials to support this advocacy.