Some 200 workers from two shuttered garment factories protested at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday, in an effort to get the court to auction factory assets and pay them back wages and compensation they say they are owed.
Mann Seng Hak, secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, said Dangkao district’s Century Rich Company Ltd factory shut down four months ago and Tuol Kok district’s M&A Cambodia Garment Ltd factory closed three months ago, without informing most of their employees, who thought the factories had simply suspended operations.
“Employers should have told workers if they planned to close down,” he said. “They should not keep workers waiting.”
If a factory suddenly closes, it must also pay workers significant compensation, as well as explain to the government its reasons for closure, FTU officials said.
Officials from the two factories could not be reached for comment.
Phean Mala, one of the 316 affected workers at Century Rich, said she was owed $120 and could not pay her rent. “The landlord wants me to leave in a few days if I don’t come up with rent money,” she said.
Kin Saroeun, also from Century Rich, said she was owed $155. She urged the court to auction the factory’s equipment and other salable assets quickly. “I am in debt,” she said.
Ke Sakhorn, the court’s deputy director, said Tuesday that he has assigned a judge to deal with the case. “According to the law, the judge has a right to…audit the assets of the factory and sell it to collect the money and pay the workers,” he said.
Van Sou Ieng, chairman of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said the factories had previously been members of GMAC, and that they probably went bankrupt.
“They would not close without reason,” he said. “I am sorry for the workers who lost their jobs. We at GMAC have been trying to attract factories to open here to provide jobs for workers,” he added.