The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) over the weekend released a statement condemning an ongoing strike at a Kompong Chhnang garment factory and urging authorities to “punish the perpetrators.”
About 3,000 employees of the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment factory have been on strike since August 18 over management’s failure to include their monthly bonus pay in their last paychecks. The factory has blamed the omissions on a technical error and says it is working to correct the mistake, but the workers accuse the owners of trying to cheat them.
The strikers have blocked National Road 5 on several occasions and, according to the factory, smashed the windows of a guardhouse and knocked over a gate.
“The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) would like to request the competent authorities and the Royal Government to enforce the law and punish the perpetrators,” the association says in a statement published by the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily newspaper on Saturday. “Cambodia is a state of law. Therefore, implementing the law is a priority of the country in order to make investors have confidence.”
Mum Siek, head of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, which is leading the strikes, dismissed GMAC’s statement and said the strike would continue.
“It is GMAC’s right to condemn our union,” he said. “We did not incite the workers; it was the workers who went on strike to demand their benefits because the factory is cheating them.”
Samakki Meanchey district police chief Duong Hong said the strike was illegal and that his officers would not let it continue.
Jiun Ye’s human resources director, Nget Rasmey, said the factory had been working with employees since August 13 to record the bonuses they were missing and has promised to include any missing money in their next paychecks on September 10.
“We have tried to negotiate with the union many times, but they do not want to cooperate,” he said. “So we will stop negotiating with them because the case is now in the hands of the authorities.”