A garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district is being sold in order to pay two months’ worth of workers’ salaries, a bill totaling at least $400,000, a union official and factory representative said Tuesday.
More than 1,700 workers have not been paid salaries since December at LA Garment Factory, which closed earlier this month, said Ann Oudam, chief of the factory’s human resources department. The factory, in Toek Thla commune, needs $400,000 to settle the debt with the workers, he said. Workers want the whole of January’s pay in part as severance for losing their jobs, he added.
The factory’s Malaysian owner has not declared bankruptcy but gave the factory’s lawyer and Ann Oudam legal permission to act on his behalf, Ann Oudam said. Ann Oudam and the factory’s lawyer agreed to sell the property Jan 11, he said.
“We are thinking of the workers’ interest, which is why we need to sell the properties by auction first, then we will consider other liabilities,” he said. “Even I have not yet received salary for two months of my work here.”
Chuon Mum Thol, president of the Cambodian Union Federation, said a buyer toured the property Monday and agreed to purchase it but has not settled on a price.
He declined to give details about the buyer.
Khiev Savuth, bureau chief for labor conflict at the Ministry of Labor, said the ministry will not participate in the sale but will ensure the sale money goes to the workers.
“We need to ensure the workers get their wages no matter where the company gets the money,” he said.