Management at the Rav Yu garment factory agreed to rehire 41 former employees Tuesday evening, following two days of protest by some 1,000 workers from the Sihanoukville factory, a union leader said.
During negotiations to end the strike, factory management also agreed that employees who had worked for more than seven years are entitled to receive full payment if they choose to work on their vacation days, said Free Trade Union president Chea Mony on Tuesday.
“This is good news for…factory workers at Rav Yun,” he said.
Protesters walked out of the factory around 8 am Tuesday, planning to march straight to local parliamentarians’ and governors’ offices to demand that the factory rehire 41 co-workers fired during a labor dispute in September.
When the protesters stepped out from the factory, they were confronted by some 30 anti-riot police and fire fighters standing 200 meters away from Rav Yun factory, who blasted fire hoses to disperse the crowd. The protesters managed to escape after a brief clash. Calls made to the Rav Yu garment factory were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Protest organizer Leang Chan Bunarith said the workers petitioned to the parliament and governors to intervene.
The dispute that led to the employees’ sacking started on Sept 25, when the factory did not rehire three employees whose contracts had expired. Two of those workers, Srey Pheakkdei and Chea Dachy, refused to accept the factory’s buy-out deal and demanded that Rav Yu take them back, said Leang Chan Bunarith. The management refused, he said.
Trying to help, two garment union workers tried to mediate negotiations. Rav Yu fired those two on Sept 30, Chea Mony said. Another 36 workers protested the management’s actions and were also fired, he said.
The first three terminated workers had committed no offense, said Leang Chan Bunarith. “Their only guilt was to take their annual vacation that are qualified within the factory regulations.”
According to the Cambodia labor law, garment factory workers are allowed to take 18 paid vacation days annually.