Phnom Penh (FN), July 10 – Over 100 Cambodian trade unions leaders met to deliberate on filing a joint petition to the European Union (EU) to continue granting the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) preferential system to Cambodia, according to Som Oun, president of National Union Alliance Chambers of Cambodia on Wednesday.

We would like to urge the EU to grant EBA scheme to Cambodia so that our families have jobs to support the living, a better working condition, and freedom of unions in Cambodia, the union leaders wrote in the joint petition to be submitted to EU delegation at 2 p.m Wednesday.

On 10 July, five of Cambodia’s largest unions, representing thousands of workers in the garment and footwear sectors, separately filed petitions to EU to continue granting the EBA preferential system to Cambodia.

The unions strongly urged the EU to fully consider the impact of the withdrawal of the EBA preferential system from Cambodia, which will have a direct negative impact on the garment and footwear industries.

EU is Cambodia's second largest trading partner. EBA has created tens of thousands of jobs and incomes to hundreds of thousands of workers, allowing rural families to escape poverty and grant their children opportunities to pursue their education.

EBA, indeed, has promoted the increase of minimum wage, a better working condition, and union freedom.