No End in Sight to Garment Strike Over Bonus Pay

Workers at the U.S.-owned Galey Global garment factory in Preah Sihanouk province said they would continue to strike over more than a year’s worth of docked bonus pay after a second meeting with management failed to settle the dispute.

Factory worker Var Saul said about 2,000 employees joined the second day of the strike Wednesday calling for the firing of administration chief Sok Kong, whom they accuse of improperly docking their monthly attendance bonuses since mid-2012.

Mr. Saul said the strikers forced a second meeting with Mr. Kong and his superiors after preventing their vehicles from leaving the factory during lunch, but failed to secure Mr. Kong’s dismissal.

“We’re not opposed to pay being cut, we just request that he not cut so much,” Mr. Saul said. “We will continue to protest until the company fires Mr. Kong.”

The strikers accuse Mr. Kong of refusing to pay out their monthly $10 bonuses for good attendance even if they take just one day off with the factory’s permission, and of cutting their monthly pay by $30 if they miss a day without permission.

Mr. Kong admitted to docking workers their monthly attendance bonuses for an authorized day off, but denied ever docking $30 and, in turn, accused workers of abusing the rules by taking four or five days off after asking for only one.

He said the strikers were upset that he was enforcing the rules strictly.

“Those people are not happy with me when I started to be strict with them, and this problem is not because of me, but because I just follow the orders of my superiors,” he said.

Provincial labor department deputy chief Meth Vanna, who also attended Wednesday’s negotiations, said he believed Mr. Kong was cutting bonuses improperly and without authorization.

“The company implements properly, but the individual [Mr. Kong] has not implemented properly,” he said.

Mr. Vanna said he would refer the dispute to the national Labor Arbitration Council if the strike persisted.

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