Bright Sky Workers Get Layoff Compensation

Some 1,600 workers at the Sin­ga­­porean-owned Bright Sky garment factory in Phnom Penh will be paid layoff compensation following an agreement be­tween unions, the government and the factory owner.

A strike at the factory on Oct 17 was violently disbursed by police, and one worker from another fac­to­ry in the same compound was shot in the back and remains in hos­pital with serious injuries.

Workers and a human rights of­fi­cial claimed that police also beat more than 100 people with rifle butts or shocked them with elec­tric ba­tons during the protest by several hundred nightshift workers.

Bright Sky’s owner Albert Tan said that he was closing the night shift and laying off the 1,600 workers in the wake of the strike and vio­­lence. Buyers, Tan claimed, ha­ve failed to place orders because stri­­­kes have caused them to wor­ry about possible delays.

Tan said that the Labor Mini­stry, Free Trade Union president Chea Mo­ny and Cambodian Union Fe­de­ration President Chuon Mom Thol agreed that the factory will pay dis­missal indemnity as laid out in Article 89 of the La­bor Law. The fac­tory will also pay salaries and annual leave owed to the 1,600 wor­kers and give them an extra $5 each, Tan said.

The indemnity entitles workers to se­­ven days additional pay if they ha­ve worked at Bright Sky for mo­re than six months, and 15 days extra pay for each additio­nal year of ser­vice.

Tan added that his factory’s day shift, which employs about 2,000 wor­kers, could expand by up to 500 workers.

Major US clothing firms Sears and The Gap, both of which are ma­jor Bright Sky buyers, did not re­sponded to e-mails seeking com­­ment on Tuesday. However, a Gap representative said last week that the company was inve­sti­gating the factory violence.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Hu­man Rights Commission issued a statement calling on the government to punish police responsible for the injuries inflicted during the confrontation.

Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sop­heak said the government is no clo­ser to discovering who shot the worker.


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