More than 200 garment workers gathered in front of the Ministry of Commerce on Monday to ask for the ministry’s help in resolving a dispute with the management of their factory.
The workers, employees of the Sino Nature Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd, claim their managers have held back wages and a bonus due to them as punishment for a strike they staged last month.
“We staged the strike because [the management] was late in giving us money for food and would not say why,” said Khut Sarun, the president of the factory’s union. “The strike only lasted two hours and we staged it peacefully.”
As a result of the strike, Khut Sarun said the workers were awarded their 1,000 riel per day food allowance, but were denied their regular $5 monthly bonus and their wages for the hours when the strike took place.
Commerce Ministry official Mak Pichrith said he would try to resolve the situation. “I want an explanation from the factory owners, because we have already had some remarks about them from other workers,” he said. “We can’t force them to agree [with the workers’ demands], but we do want to coordinate this problem.”
The factory’s administrative office director, Pich Rachana, was unapologetic. “We still gave them the money for food,” she said, “But our rules say if they stage a strike they will not get a bonus.
“We told them, if they write a letter apologizing for the strike we will give them the bonus,” Pich Rachana said. “But they wouldn’t, and in return some of them staged another strike.”