More than 1,000 garment workers from three factories converged on the US Embassy on Wednesday, with demands for overtime pay and complaints that some had been paid with counterfeit cash.
The protests began Wednesday, when about 300 workers from the CPG Garment Export factory in Tuol Kok gathered in front of the embassy, then proceeded to the National Assembly.
By the afternoon, the crowd at the embassy had grown to more than 1,000, organizers said, as workers from Winner Knitting Factory and Golden Thay Garment factory, both in Kandal province, joined the protest. Police were present but the demonstrations remained peaceful.
Most of the demands by the employees related to working conditions and wage complaints. Workers from Winner, a Chinese-owned factory, claimed that they are only paid between $13-$20 a month and want their salaries raised to $40.
Gold Thay workers were demanding their wages be paid on time. They also wanted a yearly bonus and clean drinking water.
Wednesday was the second day of protests for CPG employees. The workers staged a similar protest in front of the Thai Embassy on Tuesday with a 10-point list of demands, including medical care, an end to forced overtime and pay raises. Workers said management had only agreed to six of the demands on Tuesday, so the strike was continuing.
One organizer, Hong Sokly, claimed Wednesday that CPG has been paying them with counterfeit US notes. A US Embassy spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse the notes looked “funny” and offered to send them to Bangkok for examination. The workers, however, declined.
None of the companies could be reached for comment.