Union Alliance To Demonstrate Against Local Garment Factory

A coalition of 50 garment factory unions will demonstrate early next month against the Kings­land garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, which is involved in a long-running dispute with its workers, union leaders said Wednesday.

Since Jan 11, around 300 Kings­land workers have been on strike over the firing of 19 union leaders and the factory’s alleged failure to pay employees the minimum wage.

The Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union will meet Sunday to plan the demonstration, which will protest the Ministry of Labor’s alleged ignoring of the workers’ plight, CCAWDU Director Ath Thon said.

“The Ministry of Labor must punish the factory owner who refused to join the meetings to resolve [the matter],” he said.

Ath Thon also alleged that Kingsland has been illegally recruiting new workers to replace striking staff.

Kaing Mey, administration chief for Kingsland, could not be reached for comment this week, and guards prevented a reporter from entering the factory on Wednesday.

Khiev Savuth, chief of the Labor Ministry’s Labor Conflict Office, dismissed CCAWDU’s accusations, saying that the ministry had “worked every day” to resolve the strike.

“Both parties should calm down and completely control the conflict, otherwise they cannot reach an agreement,” he added.

Cheath Khemara, labor issue officer for the Garment Manu­facturers Association of Cambo­dia, said that Kingsland had refused to reinstate the fired workers, but has been actively negotiating with the union through GMAC, the Labor Min­istry and the Arbitration Council Foundation.

“We have sent all docu­ments…to the Arbitration Council to get a good resolution,” he said, adding that the majority of Kingsland’s workers are not participating in the strike.

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