200 Garment Workers Protest

Some 200 workers from You Chheng Garment Factory in Phnom Penh protested Wednes­day in front of the Ministry of Commerce, claiming they are not being paid the minimum $40 a month required by law and are worked too hard.

The Chinese-owned factory requires groups of workers to complete 150 dresses per day, workers claimed. The number of workers in the groups varies from 15 to 24, but the 150-dress requirement applies to all groups. Typically, the workers earn $30 to $38 per month and often they have to work overtime to complete dresses, they said.

“When we asked the owner to pay overtime, he denied [our request] and fired us,” protester Sok Khun said, explaining that two dozen workers were dismissed last week.

Another worker, Sokhom Chany, said: “We cannot continue to work like this anymore; we are not strong enough to make 150 dresses a day. We will stop working if the Ministry of Commerce and the owner do not resolve this.”

A Commerce Ministry official requested that workers return to work today and promised to meet with You Chheng Garment Factory owners.

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