Protest Continues as Shoe Factory Spurns Talks

Thousands of striking workers protested in front of a shoe factory in Kompong Cham province for a second day Tuesday after factory management refused to take part in negotiations organized by provincial labor department officials.

About 5,000 workers rallied outside the Taiwanese-owned Juhui Footwear factory in Choeung Prey district to demand that the factory meet 15 demands including extra pay for skilled workers and overtime shifts.

Mon Sarem, a representative from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said the workers would block National Road 7, along which the factory is located, today if management refused to act on their demands.

“We will block the road into the factory and not allow them across if they still do not respond to the workers’ requests,” she said.

Teng Sambath, the factory’s administrative director, said the workers had the right to protest but must also respect the company’s rights.

“Our directors are considering their demands,” he said. “We do not know yet when a solution will be reached.”

Cheng Heang, director of the provincial labor department, said he believed the factory, which ignored his officials’ calls to enter into talks, was now preparing to submit a complaint to the provincial court.

“We do not know how we can do anymore if the case arrives in the court’s hands. We just appeal to workers not to block the road because then they will face the law,” he said.

More than 10 union leaders have been arrested this year for leading strikes that allegedly violate the law, usually by blocking major roads.

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