Striking Workers at Factory Decry New Working System

About 500 workers at San San Garment Cambodia Co Ltd in Stung Meanchey commune, Mean­chey district, on Wednes­day joined 364 of their co-workers in a strike. The walkout began Monday over a new labor system.

Meetings were held between worker representatives, factory officials and members of the Gar­ment Manufacturers As­so­cia­tion of Cambodia. Worker representatives and company officials do not agree on whether the workers are still employed by the factory.

A Ny, the workers’ chief representative, said 364 workers sent a letter and a petition to management last Friday protesting work rule changes. On Monday those workers went on strike, but factory officials interpreted their ab­sence as resignation, A Ny said.

Christopher Phua, the factory’s general manager, said no workers were fired by the company.

“We have all worked here for a long time,” A Ny said. “We are not brainless. We would not quit our jobs without money.”

Mom Vey, a deputy chief of inspection at the Ministry of La­bor, said that he asked the factory to negotiate with the workers three days ago, but the factory would admit no fault. “They said the workers want to stop working themselves,” Mom Vey said.

The new work system contained three major changes. First, all workers must be interviewed again to keep their jobs.

Second, in the past workers were given a daily production quo­ta. If they met the quota be­fore 4 pm, they were free to leave work. Now they must work until 4 every day, regardless of production rate.

The third change, and a major point of dispute, is that the workers’ established groups are being reshuffled.

“The workers are upset be­cause changing the people in the groups will make it harder to work. It will be a very big mess,” A Ny said. “We agree to the other changes, but to changing people in the groups, we disagree.”

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