Firings Prompt Factory Strike

About 300 workers continued to strike Monday at a Phnom Penh garment factory, protesting the firing of a union leader and 11 other workers, union and factory officials said.

The workers were fired after causing unrest at Flying Dragon (Cambodia) Garment Ltd when the union leader was transferred to another factory.

Factory management has said Pin Vibeng Chetra was transferred because his experience was needed elsewhere. But the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cam­bo­dia said the transfer was made to disrupt union cohesion.

“They forced us to strike,” said union President Chea Vichea.

Negotiations between the workers and management will be held at 8 am today, according to Kuch Kimlong, an inspector for the Ministry of Labor.

About 100 workers demonstrated Monday outside the factory gates in Stung Meanchey commune, Chea Vichea and factory Director Meas Sotha said.

Meas Sotha said he stands by his decision to fire all 12, because they made workers nervous and hurt production. He said Pin Vibeng Chetra, a sewing machine mechanic, was set to be transferred to another of the company’s three factories last Tuesday, and was not transferred because of his union status.

Last Wednesday, the 12 were fired and the strike started, Chea Vichea said Monday.

Meas Sotha said no efforts were made between the 12 employees and management to settle the affair before a strike was called.

He said that about 350 missed work Monday, but said some stayed away from work because they had been intimidated by protesters.

“Some people had to jump the fence to come to work,” he said.



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