Seven union activists at MSI Garment (Cambodia) Ltd—suspended last week for allegedly inciting workers to strike— resigned Tuesday, an activist said.
They sent letters of resignation to the factory’s owners via union leaders, said Nhim Nhoeun, 20, one of those suspended Monday. “I asked to stop working because how do I know how many months or years I will be suspended?”
Other suspended activists agreed, saying they were aware of a lawsuit filed against the activists by factory owners on Monday. “I lost my patience. I can’t work with a factory that violently pressures its workers,” said Sim Veasna, 25.
Union officials last week said police beat workers with batons and fired bullets into the air to break up an 11-day strike, though police denied the allegations.
The National Independent Federation of Textile Unions of Kampuchea sent a complaint to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, the International Labor Organization and the US Embassy, asking them to intervene, said federation President Morm Nhim.
“We have tried our best to lure workers back to work and give the Arbitrator Council the opportunity to resolve the problem,” she said, adding that she would try to enforce the law rather than assemble a fight against factory owners. “We are always accused of violating the law whenever we hold a strike. What will the court or factory owners do when we stop the strike and ask that the law be enforced?” she said.
Garment Manufacturers Association officials in Cambodia and factory owners could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.