Garment Factory Workers Await Decisions

As many as 70 of the 480 workers at the Cherry Fashion Gar­ment Co Ltd remained off the job Friday, pending resolution of an ongoing dispute.

Khem Bunchhean, vice chief of conflict resolution for the Min­is­try of Labor, said a disagreement flared at the factory on Thurs­day over unpaid lunch allow­ances, salaries less than the minimum wage, and insufficient time off to register to vote.

As government negotiators attempted to reconcile the two sides, factory managers became up­­­set when workers threw stones and attempted to stop other employees from working, Khem Bunchhean said.

Phoung Montry of the Free Trade Union of the Workers of Cambodia said only one in five of the employees had been able to register to vote. The rest, he said, “are afraid to take off time to register for fear of being fired.”

Chea Vichea, FTU president, said two workers at the plant had been fired for taking three days off to register to vote.

The plant’s general manager said Friday that the pay issue is being investigated. He accused the strikers of unnecessary violence and said the number out of work is less than 70.


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