Using Active Listening to Resolve Labor Conflict

Mr. Hong, Buddhist, Officer at Cambodian Alliance Trade Union in Phnom Penh, Mr. Hong has improved his listening skills as a result of studying with Peace Bridges Organization. He believes that active listening is very important so that one does not miss any information and miscommunication. Mr. Hong can now address conflict in a nonviolent manner so that all parties understand the cause of their disagreement. He is able to help all sides rather than only one side. Because Mr. Hong found peace within himself, he was able to help factory employees use nonviolence to gain fair wages. In the past, he was partial to the factory employees who were protesting and scolding the factory owners because they were unhappy with their wages. Sometimes they used violent tactics. He reflected on how using violence, like damaging company materials, caused more problems for the employees. 

After training with PBO, Mr. Hong was able to step back and observe the whole situation. He realized that he must listen to other people’s ideas and respond to conflict with nonviolence. Mr. Hong said, “Peace must start from me. I know this because I do not want to demonstrate by using violence like I used to.” He then gathered factory employees and shared about how to use nonviolence to get what they wanted. He helped them write letters of complaint to the relevant authorities, and if that does not work, he will help write a letter to the arbitration council.

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