The workers organising for a better future in Cambodia

When she was elected to represent the local branch of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, or CCADWU, in 2007, Srun Sokthy felt alone and disheartened. She wasn’t receiving overtime pay from her employer – Chu Hsing Garment Co. Ltd, whose clients include the global denim brand Levi Strauss – and she felt almost powerless to lobby her boss for better working conditions. After 12 years and dozens of negotiation sessions, the 39-year-old worker now earns overtime, and benefits too. But the anxiety she used to feel is returning. “There’s a lot of fear from previous situations where workers were stopped [by the authorities],” Sokthy tells Equal Times. “This makes us quite nervous so we cannot do much activity as a union.”

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