Striking Workers Settle for 50 Percent of Their Pay Demands

About 400 garment workers from a factory that closed abruptly earlier this month agreed Monday to stop protesting and blocking the road to Canadia Industrial Park in exchange for half the severance pay they are owed.

The workers from the Hongkong Yufeng garment factory, which shut down on June 9, were demanding severance pay from Canadia Industrial Park because the factory’s Japanese owner unexpectedly closed shop and disappeared.

Workers protested and blocked the road on Saturday and again Monday, despite the presence of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers sent to monitor the protest.

During negotiations with worker representatives Monday while the roadblock was ongoing, Canadia agreed to pay half the severance pay owed to them.

“After negotiations with all related partners, the Canadia Industrial Park agreed to pay workers 50 percent of their severance pay,” said Ing Dara, a representative of Hongkong Yufeng.                                                 “We forfeited the equipment in the factory to Canadia Park to pay the severance to the employees.”

Mr. Dara identified the factory owner as Watanabe Yutaka.

Oem Phors, 27, a former worker who joined the protest, said he and his fellow workers had no choice but to accept the 50 percent severance pay offer.

“I’m forced to accept this despite losing half of the severance,” said Mr. Phors, explaining that he cannot afford to continue protesting without a resolution. “I had no choice.”

Liv Tharin, president of the Independence of Democratic Youth Trade Unions, one of the unions representing the workers, said the workers agreed to stop blocking access to the industrial park by accepting the 50 percent offer.

Hak Mao, deputy commander of RCAF’s Brigade 70, said his unit sent armed soldiers to the industrial park to maintain security during Monday’s protest.

“We sent soldiers to that area to keep order and public security upon the request made by the Canadia Industrial Park,” he said. “We did not go to crack down on them.”

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