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.