Three members of the Free Trade Union (FTU) were hospitalized after being beaten by members of a rival union during a protest Wednesday morning at the SH International garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, union and police officials said.
Srey Pov, 35; Lay Sokha, 36; and Keo Seanghai were were beaten with bamboo canes by Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS) members, according Man Senghak, an advisor to the FTU.
“We sent them to Calmette hospital,” Mr. Sanghak said, adding that Ms. Pov is the FTU’s chief representative at the factory.
“Srey Pov suffered massive head injuries and she is still unconscious,” he said, while the other two sustained minor injuries.
Kantork commune police chief Ong Teng confirmed the incident, explaining that hundreds of workers from KUFWS had been protesting over the mass sacking of 400 workers last month.
“The fight broke out because workers from FTU wanted to go inside the factory to work,” he said. “But some KUFWS workers were blocking them.”
Mr. Teng added that no arrests were made because police arrived on the scene late and the culprits had already escaped.
KUFWS president Mum Siek admitted that his members were complicit in the attack, but said that the FTU sparked the clash. “
The union of brother [FTU president] Chea Mony brought gangsters to fight with protesting workers outside the factory, so the protesters replied with the cane sticks,” he said.