Seven Released Over Selling Factory Goods to Pay Wages

Seven people who were arrested last week for attempting to sell merchandise from a factory in Kompong Speu province were released on Friday, officials said, with factory owners paying more than 100 workers part of the wages they were owed.

The detained group, which included two buyers, three drivers and two men hired to help move the cargo, was released after showing the court a document signed by a representative of the A & J Carter factory authorizing the sale of the clothes, according to deputy provincial prosecutor Ou Phat.

“We released the seven people on Friday afternoon because they showed us a sales document from the garment factory,” he said, adding that the buyers did not show the paperwork to police at the time of their arrest on Wednesday night.

The factory, which stopped production more than a month ago, sold the clothes for $9,500 in order to pay workers for the month of September, Mr. Phay said.

Ly Cheat, an administrative manager at A & J, said on Thursday that the factory had refused a proposal by workers for the factory to sell clothes in order to pay wages.

On Sunday, however, Mr. Cheat said he was only an employee at the factory and was not fully informed about the decisions made by its owners.

Hing Bunthoeun, vice president of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit, who was among a group of union leaders that met with the factory representatives on behalf of the workers, said the workers received money on Friday and Saturday.

“The factory paid $84 to each worker and this is just a part of their wages so they can use it during the Pchum Ben holiday,” he said. “The factory owner promised to pay the workers after they sell more merchandise.”

Mr. Bunthoeun added that the factory agreed to sell more merchandise in order to pay outstanding wages to the 112 workers and severance pay to another 100.

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