Labor Firm Sued in S Korea Closes Its Doors

A Phnom Penh-based labor supply company has temporarily shut its doors pending the resolution of a lawsuit in South Korea, its chief of administration said Monday.

The lawsuit, filed by the South Ko­rean Federation of Small and Me­dium Businesses, alleges that International Manpower Cam­bo­dia Co Ltd was trying to overcharge Cambodian workers who paid to secure work in South Ko­rea, IMC Chief of Administration Heng Seyla said.

“If we win the court case, we will continue to send workers,” he said, adding the company will re­open its office Nov 1.

The firm has been sending in­dus­trial workers to South Korea since July 2004 and Prime Minis­ter Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Ma­na is a shareholder, Heng Seyla claimed.

“Hun Mana is a shareholder,” Heng Seyla said, though he did not provide contact details for her.

Last week, 10 workers filed a complaint with the International La­bor Organization after finding IMC’s office shut on Oct 17, a representative Ros Sokha said last week.

He said that 284 workers who had each paid a $130 application fee to the company are concerned about IMC’s future.

“We have been waiting a long time to go [to South Korea],” Ros Sokha said.

He claimed that the South Ko­re­an Federation of Small and Me­di­um Businesses is suing IMC for con­tract violation. The federation has alleged that IMC has de­mand­ed that Cambodians who se­cure jobs refund IMC $3,000 each for finding the job and expenses such as airfare and passports. How­ever, workers who signed up to the agency believed that only about $1,000 would be deducted, Ros Sokha said.

Heng Seyla confirmed that the law­suit involves this allegation though he declined to provide further details. Heng Seyla said that next month, the 284 workers will be able to request a refund of their ap­plication fee.

Attempts to reach Hun Mana through her offices at Bayon Te­le­vi­sion were unsuccessful Monday. Hun Mana was made director of the CPP-affiliated Bayon radio and television network in 2004.

Bayon Deputy Director Rith Chet­tra said he did not have contact information for her or her ad­vis­er.

Cambodia Labor Supply Pte General Manager Mei Dine said the Labor Ministry asked her company earlier this year to take responsibility for the 1,700 workers IMC had already sent to South Korea. She said her company is also willing to help find jobs for the 284 workers until IMC’s lawsuit is resolved.


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