More Money, Better Terms, Workers Say

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.

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