Union leader Pav Sina on Monday filed a complaint with the Interior Ministry after an administrator at a Chinese-owned window factory in Svay Rieng province allegedly told three other members of his union that some factory owners were pooling money in order to have Mr. Sina assassinated.
“We filed a complaint to the Ministry of Interior and ask for protection from the ministry for my safety because I am concerned about my safety after the threat,” said Mr. Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), adding that he also filed complaints with rights group Licadho and the U.N.
According to Mr. Sina, three CUMW members met with an administrator—a Chinese man known to workers only as Mr. Lim—from the Beautiful Windows factory in Bavet City’s San Tong Special Economic Zone on February 16 to raise their concerns about a union election in January.
“According to my members and a sound clip, [Mr. Lim] said owners of factories are raising funds to hire a killer to kill me since I have been intervening to help workers get their benefits and rights,” Mr. Sina said on Sunday.
In an audio clip provided by Mr. Sina, allegedly of a man translating for Mr. Lim at the February 16 meeting, a voice says in Khmer: “There are some factories that have been raising money to hire people to kill the union leader.”
Mr. Sina is not specifically named by the man speaking and most of the clip is inaudible.
According to Thoeun Sinoeun, one of the three CUMW members at the meeting, Beautiful Windows did not include CUMW as an option in the January 23 election for workers seeking a union to represent them.
The workers’ only choice was a union organized by the factory itself, Mr. Sinoeun said Sunday, adding that he and other CUMW members wanted a new election.
“[Factory managers] do not want to have a union in the factory because it is easy for them to control workers [without one],” he said.
Representatives of Beautiful Windows could not be reached. Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak also could not be reached.
Am Sam Ath, senior technical adviser for Licahdo, said the alleged death threat should be taken seriously.
“We are concerned about his safety because his life was threatened,” he said. “It is like Chea Vichea’s case. First he was threatened, then he was killed.”