Factories to Withhold Wages After Bavet City SEZ Protests

Factories in the Manhattan and Tai Seng special economic zones (SEZs) have decided to pay workers half-wages for the two days in which they were ordered closed amid last week’s violent protests, an administration manager said on Monday.

On Tuesday last week, a violent protest swept through the Manhattan SEZ—one day after a similar protest at the nearby Tai Seng SEZ—prompting the provincial government to order a two-day shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday.

Men Chivoan, administration manager at the Manhattan SEZ, said on Monday that factory owners in the two industrial parks held a meeting on Thursday afternoon in which they decided to pay workers 50 percent of their daily wage during the two-day work stoppage.

“If the workers work regularly from [last] Friday until their payday next month, the factories will pay 50 percent of their daily wage for the two days off last week,” he said. “And if they don’t do that, they will not be paid [for the two days].”

Mr. Chivoan said he was unsure whether workers would accept the decision.

“If [the workers] accept the half-payment for the two days off with clear understanding, it would be good. But if they don’t understand and instead want full payment, it might mean a different situation,” he said.

“So we are still concerned that risks or problems still could happen.”

Chheng Chhoan, head of the Independent Labor Union of Cambodia, which claims 2,000 members in the Manhattan SEZ, said on Monday that workers would protest if they do not receive 100 percent of their daily wages.

“For the two days off, workers want full payment because they went to work, but the authorities blocked them from working. This is what they told me,” he said.

“They also told me that if there is any cut of their wage, they would not be happy and would protest.”

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