Family Wants To Know Why Worker Died

A Dangkao district garment factory has compensated the family of an employee who fainted and died last week, but the family still wants an explanation for the woman’s death.

“It can’t compare to my daughter’s life,” said Uy Monirath, the mother of Sok Sinath, of the $800 compensation paid by the United Arts garment factory, which em­ploys about 1,300 people.

Sok Sinath, 24, fainted during lunch break on July 24 and died enroute to the hospital, Dang­kao district Deputy Police Chief Sok Heng said. Four more workers who learned of Sok Sinath’s death fainted later that day, and several other workers went to the hospital for checkups, he said.

Two more workers fainted the next day because of “health problems,” Sok Heng said. He said Sok Sinath had not eaten enough that day and she was in poor health. Many workers skimp on lunch to save money, he said.

But Sok Sinath’s family said she was in good health and ate a full lunch.

They said police investigators and a prosecutor did not explain to them what had happened when they came to see the body. Autopsies are not customary in Cambodia.

More than 40 workers fainted at a Russei Keo district factory in early July. Labor ministry officials said overwork and chemical fumes were likely to blame for the faintings at FP Light Industry. Earlier this year the International Labor Organization found that nine of 30 factories surveyed had ventilation problems.

Factory administrator Som Vithyea said Sok Sinath died after having lunch with friends or relatives. He said his factory produces no fumes because it only sews clothes, though a factory next door produced fumes. He said the factory had good ventilation.

Sok Sinath occasionally worked overtime but never was forced to do so, Uy Monirath said.

In addition to the compensation, the factory also paid the family three months’ salary—about $165—and contributions for the funeral, she said.

Sok Sinath leaves a husband and two small children.


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