200 Workers Protest Against Forced Overtime

About 200 workers from the Chinese-owned Pollysa (Cambodia) Home Textile factory in Sihanoukville protested Wednesday against the overtime they were being forced to work and the firing of 20 employees earlier this week who refused the extra hours, workers and a union representative said.

Starting at about 11 a.m., some 100 workers protested outside the special economic zone that hosts the factory, while another 100 protested inside and were prevented from leaving the building until 5 p.m., said Pao Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers.

“The factory is abusing labor rights by firing 20 workers when they refused to work overtime and demanded their labor rights. They keep threatening the workers from the factory again and again, forcing them to work,” he said.

Non Thary, 26, who joined Wednesday’s protest, said the factory’s actions were unacceptable.

“The employers are exploiting us,” she said. “They order us to work after our full time but will not pay us compensation. They called us to work for two hours, but we were not paid. When we request a day off when we are sick, they fire us. Do they want the workers to die in the factory?”

Taing Srey Em, 20, who also joined the protest, said workers want an eight-hour workday.

“We will protest until we get justice. We want to work eight hours per day, but if the company wants us to work overtime they need to give us a bonus,” she said.

Khun Savoeun, a monitor for rights group Licadho, condemned the factory’s alleged abuse.

“The factory ought to respect the labor rights of the workers according to Cambodian law. If there was no abuse, then the workers would not have protested,” he said.

Neither officials at the Preah Sihanouk provincial labor department nor representatives for the factory, which manufactures blankets, could be reached for comment.

sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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