Garment Workers Refuse Compensation Offer

Former workers for Ho Hing Garment Factory refused a compensation offer for lost wages after the company allegedly de­manded their identification cards before issuing any payment, Som Aun, president of the Cambodian Labor Union Feder­ation, said on Tuesday.

“This is a trick by the factory,” he said. “If workers give their cards to the factory, they will have no evidence that they worked there to give to the Ministry of Labor.”

Garment workers said the factory closed Nov 29, paying the majority of its 600 workers neither their $45 monthly salaries nor compensation.

Theam Simon, Ho Hing Gar­ment factory assistant to the director, denied it has shut down, saying it had only suspended its operations.

Nevertheless, he said, the factory wanted to offer the workers compensation last Saturday, but they threw stones into the building instead.

“The union workers want the factory to shut down so they can get compensation,” he said. “But our factory is just suspended.”

Workers can contact him by telephone to arrange compensation payment, he said. The factory has to take their ID cards to prove that the factory has paid the workers, he added.

In a separate dispute, more than 1,000 Flying Dragon Gar­ment Co Ltd workers went on strike Friday, after a continuous increase in their workload, said Oum Visal, dispute officer for the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers.

“Each worker receives $1.73 per day for their work,” he said. “But if the worker can finish an extra piece of work, they get a bonus.”

When the factory found out that workers can finish extra garments, it increased the required workload the following day, he added.

Factory complaint manager Kong Karona said workers were confused about their policy. When the factory brings in new kinds of clothes, it asks the workers to sew at the lowest level until they have learned the pattern, he said.

“We increased the pieces of work because the workers al­ready learned how to make it,” he added.

He said the workers promised to go back to work Wednesday after the factory asked the Ar­bi­tra­­tion Council to rule on the case.

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