Garment Workers Rally for Unpaid Salaries

Approximately 300 garment workers, mostly women, protested in front of the Phnom Penh Mu­­nicipal Court on Monday seek­ing a quick resolution to a law­suit filed against the management of Hang Fung Shing garment factory.

Workers allege in the lawsuit filed Jan 12 that the factory’s manager, Dong Ai Quan, fled Cam­bo­dia without paying their salaries. The complaint asks the court to sell the factory’s property to compensate 499 employees who are due wages for December, Seng Hak, secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, said Monday.

“The workers came today just to find out when the solution will be,” Seng Hak said at the protest.

“I need that money to pay for my room’s rent,” garment worker Thung Sophea added.

Seng Hak said that the factory had promised to pay 50 percent of the employees’ $45 monthly salary if they worked one day per week in December. The factory had suspended operations in No­vem­ber, and on Dec 20, workers said that the manager fled the country.

In Khemara, deputy director of the Ministry of Labor’s Inspection department, said Monday that Hang Fung Shing factory shut down because it had no buyers from abroad.

“I am afraid more factories are going to shut down because of no orders from abroad,” he said. “And everybody is afraid about it.”

Monday afternoon, Seng Hak said that a court clerk had told the work­ers to disperse and encouraged them to loot the factory.

Reached by phone, a court clerk who gave his name as Pheak said there is no solution to the court case yet and refused to give the name of the judge handling the case.


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