Garment Workers Seek Help With Rides to New Factory

Workers struck for the fifth day Sunday at a garment factory off National Road 4 near Tek Thla pagoda, demanding help with transportation when the factory relocates.

The factory, operated by Tai­wanese clothing company Kun Mao Hsing, is moving 23 km to Ang Snuol district, Kandal pro­vince. The workers say they want to keep their jobs, but cannot af­ford to commute.

Hong Huo, a KMH official who was present at negotiations with the workers, would not say why the factory was moving.

The workers want the company either to provide transportation from their homes to the new factory, or to pay each worker $5 a month for transportation.

Most of the workers live in Russey Keo and Tek Thla, neigh­bor­hoods near the factory.

“Right now we live close to the market. If we move to a new place, it’s hard to shop and to rent a new house,” workers’ representative Kim Srun said, standing out­side the factory with about 45 strikers.

At a meeting Saturday, Chen Chin Chung, a KMH manager, agreed to provide transportation for the workers for 1 1/2 months. After that, they would have to provide their own transportation with no increase in wages.

New workers at the factory said they make $30 a month, while those who have been there longer make $45 a month. The factory employs about 500 workers, Hong Huo said.

According to the workers, a week before striking they sent a written protest to the company and the Ministry of Labor. But the company did not respond, and the ministry told them there is no provision for their demands in the labor laws.

The workers also want the com­pany to provide for those who leave the company rather than move. They have asked for 15 days’ notice, annual leave equal to 18 days’ pay, severance pay and additional damages. The company has agreed to pay the annual leave and provide the 15 days notice.

Hong Huo said KMH cannot afford to give the workers what they want.

“The company is in a bad economic situation,” she said. “There are fewer orders.”

 

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