SL Factory Agrees to Reinstate 19 Union Representatives

Management at the SL Garment Factory on Thursday agreed to reinstate 19 fired union representatives around whom a bitter standoff between workers and bosses has played out.

On November 19, the factory was given 15 days by the government to reinstate the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) workers or face legal action. But after several re­fusals, SL factory bosses changed their minds following a number of meetings with government officials, the last of which was on Wednesday.

“The employers at the factory has agreed to accept the 19 people to go to work following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recommendation,” the Ministry of Labor said in a statement.

SL General Manager Koh Chong Ho confirmed the 19 would be rehired.

“The Ministry of Labor requested us and we agreed to reinstate them.”

A protest spearheaded by SL Garment Factory workers on November 12 resulted in a deadly police shooting during clashes with workers.

On Thursday, parliamentarians from several Asean member states called for an independent investigation to be conducted by the international community into the police shooting on November 12, as well as the death of 29-year-old by­stander Mao Sok Chan, who was shot in similar circumstances in September after opposition party marches.

In a statement, Thai politician Kraisak Choonhavan, vice president of the group Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, said it is time the international community takes a stand on the use of live ammunition by state forces in Cambodia.

“The United Nations and the in­ternational community must take a stand on these blatant miscarriages of justice,” he said.

“It has been over two months since security forces shot dead Mao Sok Chan and injured others when they opened fire on a crowd of protesters, and the state is not following through with a genuine investigation.

“By conducting an independent inquiry and seeking to hold the Cambodian government to account for their failure to properly investigate these deaths in line with international human rights and legal standards, we not only seek justice for the families of victims but also send a clear message that impunity for state officials will not be tolerated,” Mr. Choonhavan said.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)

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