Workers Continue to Protest at Factory After Alleged Attacks

A group of workers who claim they were attacked on Monday by men carrying meat cleavers and steel pipes waged a protest outside their factory in Kandal province on Tuesday, calling for the reinstatement of eight workers they say were unfairly dismissed.

Seang Rithy, president of the Cambodian Labor Solidarity Union (CLSU), said that hundreds of workers protested in front the Star Light Apparel Manufacturing factory inside the 7NG Special Economic Zone to demand that eight employees be allowed to return to work.

The protesters also called on the factory to compensate them for a car and two motorbikes that were destroyed by about 40 security guards and other plainclothes men as they attacked workers Monday—leaving eight of the demonstrators injured, he said.

“The workers demanded the company’s owner take responsibility for the damage of the workers’ property because the security guards from the company destroyed them during yesterday’s fight,” Mr. Rithy said.

The union leader said he was working with lawyers to compile a complaint to file with provincial police accusing the factory and SEZ of orchestrating the attack, which left one worker hospitalized after being hacked in the back with a meat cleaver.

Negotiations between unionists and factory managers broke down at the Khsach Kandal district office on Tuesday as factory bosses refused to budge on their vow not to allow the eight sacked workers to return, said CLSU representative Phorn Neuk, who was among those who say they were attacked on Monday.

“The company kept a strong stance not to allow the eight sacked union officials to return to work because they told the meeting that the eight people were lazy in their work,” Mr. Neuk said.

Din Chandy, an official from the provincial labor department, said negotiations would continue today.

“We will try to negotiate…and ask the company to let the eight unionists return to work,” he said. Factory and SEZ representatives could not be reached.

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