2 Women Injured in Police Dispersal of Strike

Two women sustained minor in­juries outside the Kin Tai garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Mean­chey district when police armed with AK-47s, batons and shields dispersed a group of mostly peaceful female strikers on Thursday.

The group of striking workers were blocking Kin Tai’s front doors Thursday when roughly 30 police officers broke up the de­mon­stration.

During the clash, an unidentified worker threw a plastic bag with something heavy inside at Meanchey district Deputy police Chief Em Lim Hel.

Ros Chanthy, one of the injured strikers, asserted that police “violated the workers” and that the demonstration outside the factory was peaceful until authorities arrived.

“We are women and didn’t damage the factory’s property,” said another worker, Meas Sovanara.

Nov Titha, the Khmer Youth Union leader, said workers want ne­gotiations to get underway with factory officials over nine issues related to better working conditions in the factory.

The workers are demanding an­nual bonuses, an on-site baby feeding center and the firing of factory lawyer Sar Samnang, who workers accuse of encouraging factory ma­nagement to cease negotiations, Nov Titha said.

Sar Samnang said Thursday that the workers had already submitted their nine demands and that the Ar­bitration Council has denied their requests.

“They are still against the Ar­bitration Council’s decision,” Sam­nang said. “They don’t know or understand Labor Law.”

Earlier this month about 90 factory Kin Tai workers protested in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a judge also ordered the workers to return to their jobs.

The workers have been striking since March 25, but they have not yet submitted to the decisions of the court and the Arbitration Counci­l demanding they return to work.

Cheat Khemara, a senior labor consultant with the Garment Man­u­facturing Association of Cam­bodia, said that the workers were knowingly continuing their strike in the hope of getting fired and re­ceiving unemployment compensation.

Kin Tai factory reduced its staff in March to only 300 workers after receiving an order from company officials abroad.

“They fear the factory might go bankrupt,” Cheat Khemara said.



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