Factory Hires Back Union Employees

A dueling garment factory and its union reached an agreement over the reinstatement of fired union members Wednesday, keeping thousands of laborers from demonstrating Sunday, union officials said.

Negotiations between Splendid Chance International Ltd managers and representatives of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Union ended peacefully Wednesday afternoon after the factory agreed to uphold orders from the ministries of Labor and Commerce to reinstate three fired workers and issue back pay.

“The money is not a problem. But we are very worried that these workers will continue to cause problems, and we want someone to take responsibility,” factory manger Lin Chih Wen said.

He deemed the workers troublemakers and said he feared Sorn Mean, Ly Bun Sao and Kim Yong would cause problems with em­ployees as they had allegedly done before their January dismissals.

Lin Chih Wen said he was dissatisfied with the agreement because no party is willing to take responsibility for potential problems instigated by workers. But he said the Commerce Ministry left him little choice but to reinstate the workers after threatening to suspend his export license.

Kim Mes Sos Seiha, deputy chief of the Commerce Ministry’s Office of Certification, said the factory’s six-month refusal to reinstate the workers and pay a Labor Ministry fine was an “overwhelming violation of the labor code.”

The agreement between Splen­did Chance and union representatives followed a threat by union President Chhorn Sokha to mobilize workers in a large rally Sun­day. She complained that the factory had twice broken its promises to reinstate workers July 7 and July 14 and said up to 10,000 workers were ready to protest if the factory did not honor the agreement.


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