3,000 Workers Strike Again at Phnom Penh Garment Factory

About 3,000 workers at PCCS garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district went on strike again yesterday afternoon after returning to work briefly in the morning, a union leader said.

The return to work followed a weeklong strike at the factory, sparked by the suspension of union official Man Channa, which ended Tuesday after 50 armed police intervened.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said workers respected a Phnom Penh Municipal Court ruling issued on Monday to return to work within 48 hours but that workers later resumed the strike.

“The workers will go on strike until their representative is allowed to come back to work,” Mr Mony said.

He accused the factory management of breaking the labor law by suspending a union representative without approval from the Labor Ministry. However, a factory official said that only some workers returned to the factory yesterday morning and these just sat there without actually working.

Therefore the court-ordered deadline for employees to resume work by noon today or face dismissal was still in effect, said Eric Mah, administration and human resources manager at PCCS.

“If they do not go back to work, they abandon their jobs and we have no choice but to terminate them,” Mr Mah said.

Mr Mah said that he did not want to fire the workers and that union leaders had caused the problem by calling on them to strike. Mr Mah denied the claim made by Mr Mony that the factory did not have approval from the Labor Ministry for the suspension of Ms Channa.

Mr Mah claimed that Ms Channa is suspended for allegedly falsifying medical certificates and evidence has been submitted to court.

However, Ms Channa claimed Tuesday that she was suspended for protesting against new factory regulation requiring all workers to submit medical certificates to cover absence.


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