Several dozen representatives of a Kompong Chhnang province garment factory involved in a labor dispute rallied outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Phnom Penh home on Thursday, while about 1,000 of their colleagues marched in the province.
Some 60 workers from the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment factory were briefly stopped by police in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district on their way to petition the prime minister, but eventually made it to his home at about 10:30 a.m.
The group, which was smaller than the 500 workers unionists expected to join, was representing roughly 3,000 workers who first went on strike more than 10 days ago after discovering that their monthly bonuses were missing from their most recent paychecks.
Although the factory has promised to pay the missing funds next month, the workers have since assembled a list of 17 demands, including an increase in their monthly attendance bonus from $10 to $15.
The workers demonstrated for about an hour outside Mr. Hun Sen’s home before Kong Chamroeun, a secretary in the prime minister’s cabinet, arrived to receive their petition.
“There is a committee to deal with [protests in Phnom Penh] and I will bring the petition to them,” Mr. Chamroeun said.
An additional 1,000 Jiun Ye workers who could not afford to travel to Phnom Penh marched from the factory in Kompong Chhnang’s Samakki Meanchey district along National Road 5 in solidarity with their colleagues.
Eng Vanna, a representative of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, called on the prime minister to intervene in the dispute.
“We acknowledge that we have recently had GMAC [the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia], the Arbitration Council, the provincial labor department and the Ministry of Labor come to negotiate between representatives of both sides, but there has been no resolution,” Mr. Vanna said.
Nget Rasmey, Jiun Ye’s human resources director, said the factory would review the workers’ demands, but could not afford to increase their salaries.