Garment Workers Protest, Say Managers Fled

More than 400 workers pro­tested in front of Phnom Penh’s Hang Fung Shing garment factory on Monday demanding sal­a­ries that workers said the factory manager fled the country to avoid paying.

Meanwhile, negotiations over the shuttering of Kandal prov­ince’s You Cheng garment factory, whose manager was also ac­cused of attempting to flee Cam­bo­dia without paying workers, deadlocked after the factory’s Chinese owner did not compensate workers on Monday as an­nounced.

Phoeun Veasna, the Free Trade Union leader at Hang Fung Shing, said Monday that Dong Ai Quan left Cambodia without informing workers that the Meanchey district, Chak Angre Leu commune, factory would close.

The factory had suspended operations in November and promised to offer regular workers 50 percent of their December salary on Jan 10, Phoeun Veasna said. But on Dec 20, “when workers arrived, the factory’s general manager had already fled the country,” he said.

Phoeun Veasna said workers will guard the factory’s equipment and file a complaint in the Municipal Court.

Dong Ai Quan could not be reached for comment, and the factory’s listed num­ber did not work Monday.

At Ang Snuol district’s You Cheng garment factory, FTU representatives met with factory representatives, government officials from the Ministry of Labor, Kan­dal province officials and a representative of the Garment Manu­facturers Association on Monday.

GMAC official Cheat Khemara had stated last week that the factory’s Chinese owner would travel to Cambodia on Monday to compensate the workers. But he did not appear at the meeting.

Another factory representative said that You Cheng would not close but only suspend operations, according to Khieu Savuth, director of the Labor Ministry’s labor dispute department.

He said the factory offered to pay workers $5 per month each during the suspension, but workers asked for $20 per month.

According to FTU President Chea Mony, You Cheng representatives said the factory would offer no compensation until the re­turn of the passport confiscated by Immigration Police two weeks ago from the factory’s manager, Hu Shu Hau, at Phnom Penh International Airport.

Chea Mony said this was an im­possible request because po­lice are holding the passport.

Airport immigration police Chief Duong Ngeat confirmed Mon­day that police are holding the passport and will only release it at the request of the Ministry of Labor.


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