Garment Workers at Two Factories Go on Strike for More Pay

About 3,000 garment workers went on strike in Kompong Chhnang province for a second day Tuesday, accusing their factory of withholding some of their monthly bonuses.

Employees from the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment factory blocked National Road 5 for more than four hours Tuesday, claiming that their latest bonuses were $5 to $20 shy of what they should have been.

Mum Siek, president of Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, accused the factory, which produces children’s clothes for U.S. brand Carter’s, of deliberately trying to short-change the workers.

“The workers are striking because they believe that the factory is cheating them out of their bonus payment of $5 to $20 per month for each worker,” he said.

Nget Reaksmey, the factory’s human resources director, said the bonus cuts were not deliberate.

“We acknowledge some technical errors and appeal to workers who are missing payments to come to work and we appeal to them to double check with us,” he said.

Although the factory refused to engage in negotiations Tuesday, representatives are expected to meet with union officials Wednesday.

In a separate incident, more than 400 workers from the Taiwanese-owned Xin Fang Garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district have been striking since Monday.

They have a lengthy list of 19 demands, including a lunch allowance, benefits for pregnant women and new mothers, a $3 bonus for working on holidays and $15 per month for accommodation.

Chhun Rinda, a worker representative, said the workers had no plans to end their strike.

“The workers will not go to work if the factory does not accept whatever the workers demand,” he said.

Factory administrative director Vong Thavin said the firm could not make additional payments but would consider some demands.

“The union has the right to lead the workers in the strike and protests in front of the factory, but the factory also has the right to not negotiate with them,” he said.

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