Strikes Hit Pair of Taiwanese Garment Factories in PPenh

Hundreds of striking workers converged Wednesday on two Taiwanese-managed garment factories to demand better pay and working conditions. Both ended with agreements, according to a government official.

About 200 striking workers at the Kin Tai Garment Factory in Meanchey district held a protest demanding higher pay, medical care and the reinstatement of fired workers, according to a press release from the group.

Local district police were on hand to protect the factory, and two truckloads of riot police appeared briefly but left after 15 minutes when they found no violations.

“The strikers did not ask for permission at all, so police will not hesitate to crack down in case of a violation,” said Nhonh Botha, Chak Angre Krom commune chief of police. He claimed that half of the factory’s workers did not appear at the strike, and those who were there had been forced to participate.

The strike stemmed from a disagreement over the selection of worker’s representatives, said strikers, who asked not to be named.

They said management initially allowed the employees to vote for workers’ representatives, but rejected those chosen and de­manded a new vote.

Labor representatives also complained of some workers being fired unjustly and demanded they be reinstated.

The factory management ag­reed Wednesday to the workers’ demands, said In Khmar, the deputy chief of the Inspection Depart­ment of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

A strike at the E Khang Ltd garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district also ended with an agreement between wor­kers and management, In Khmar said.

About 400 strikers at the Tai­wanese-owned factory on Route 5 complained of physical harassment by supervisors and de­manded higher pay.

Strikers, who asked not to be named, said security guards had struck employees and threatened them at gunpoint.

Workers were also demanding $40 a month in pay and a $5-a-month bonus for working overtime.

In Khmar said the factory management agreed to a 21-point list of demands from the workers that would be signed today after it is translated into Chinese from Khmer.

Managers of the two factories could not be reached for comment.

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