Factory to Reopen After Mass Faintings

A garment factory in Svay Rieng province where more than 100 workers fainted in recent days invited six monks to drive out the building’s “bad spirits” on Tuesday and will reopen on Wednesday after agreeing to improve the facility’s ventilation.

Workers at the Taiwanese-owned You Li International factory, which has about 1,800 employees, collapsed after witnessing co-workers vomit while handling glue on two separate occasions on Friday and Monday. The provincial labor department ordered the facility in Bavet City to close on Monday, citing “hot weather and a lack of oxygen” for the incidents.

On Tuesday, labor department deputy director Ou Sothoeun said the factory would reopen Wednesday and had a week to add more fans and clean the toilets to eliminate fumes.

The workers who collapsed were all sent to the Chi Phu referral hospital in Bavet City for treatment.

“They are not in serious condition,” Mr. Sothoeun said. “Most of them left the hospital today.”

A factory administrator initially said the company had not yet decided whether to pay the workers for the time off, but Mr. Sothoeun said it would.

Factory officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Put Srey Tuoch, a garment worker at the factory, said managers had indeed agreed to pay them.

“The company promised that it will not cut our salaries for the day off after the fainting,” she said. “We will go back to work tomorrow as normal.”

Ms. Srey Tuoch was also among the roughly 600 workers who joined the ceremony to ready the factory for their return.

“The factory called us to join the ceremony in the factory and told us not to be scared about fainting because they had fixed some of the problems,” she said. “They invited the monks to chant and kick out the bad spirits.”

Sam Chenda, a local representative for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, urged the company to follow through on all the necessary upgrades.

“If the factory just holds the ceremony and does not fix the problems quickly, the situation won’t change,” he said. “I ask the factory to take care of the workers’ health and to not take advantage of them.”

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