Cambodian lawmakers have approved a trade union law that rights groups decried as designed to curb workers' rights and limit their ability to stage strikes.

The law sets rules for creating and running a union and has been fiercely contested by rights groups and garment workers, who have staged repeated strikes.

Human Rights Watch said the law "marks a further downward slide for labor rights in Cambodia."

The lower house of parliament passed the draft law Monday with all 67 lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's Party supporting it and 31 opposition lawmakers voting against it. It still needs approval from the senate, which is considered a formality.