Textile Union Takes Protest To Legislators

More than 100 Phnom Penh gar­ment factory workers resumed demonstrations at the National As­sembly Wednesday, claiming they had waited too long for the Min­istry of Com­merce to resolve a fight over un­paid wages.

“They’ve cheated us because they promised to resolve this problem for us. We haven’t received any solution or information from them since,” Sino Nature Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd union leader Khut Sarun said as workers gathered in front of the Assembly.

The union claims workers in the factory have not been paid since last month and that the company used the unpaid wages as leverage to break the strike. The union also said workers have been threatened and assaulted by a “gang of thugs” as they took their protests to the government.

The demonstrations began Mon­day, when workers marched on the Ministry of Commerce, claiming they had been cheated out of their bonuses. The ministry, according to the workers, promised to intervene.

But some in the government have defended themselves, saying the workers have not shown enough patience and that their demonstration is another example of the kind of strikes that have damaged Cam­bodia’s labor sector.

“They don’t understand, these workers, because we have tried to help them by contacting the owners of the factory. We still haven’t been able to find them,” said ministry official Mak Pichrith.

His comments echoed those made in the past by other industry leaders who say that too many strikes dissuade buyers from using Cambodian factories.

Regardless, Mak Pichrith prom­ised to solve the crisis, even if it means shutting down the factory to get the owners’ attention.

“I will ask the ministry to stop exporting from the factory until we find the owners and resolve the problem,” he said.

 

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