Strike Action In Footwear Co

About 1,000 workers at the Focus Footwear (Cambodia) Co Ltd stopped work Monday, saying the factory’s management violated the labor law on a variety of counts.

It was unclear whether the strike would continue today. Wor­kers said the factory owner had agreed to all their demands, but union leaders said they were not sure those promises could be trusted.

“I’m not 100-percent sure that the factory owner will respect his own promise, although he signed an agreement with the workers,” said Chea Vichea, president of the Free Trade Union of the Wor­kers of the Kingdom of Cam­bodia.

Factory officials could not be reached for comment. The factory is in Sangke commune, Russei Keo district.

The workers say they walked off the job after managers fired two workers who did not come to work on the King’s Birthday and Independence Day.

In addition to requiring work on holidays, the workers say the factory failed to pay the legal amount of overtime and did not pro­vide hygenic food or enough drinking water.

“With two bottles of pure water for 200 workers, how can we drink?” asked Pak Banna, who has worked at the factory since it opened in 1997. And the bosses, she said, “did not allow us to leave the factory” to buy their own food or water.

Cambodia’s garment industry was rocked earlier this year by several days of strikes and walk-outs, though union representatives and factory managers ap­pear­ed to reach compromises on several issues, mostly significantly raising the minimum wage.


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