Suspended Workers Quit

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.

 

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