Unionists Freed After Strike Called Off in Kampot

The Kampot Provincial Court on Thursday released three union leaders without charge after the Cambo T.D.G. garment factory dropped its complaint against the trio in return for an end to a two-week strike.

Nearly half of the South Korean-owned factory’s 700 employees had been on strike since 21 workers were fired on June 24 for attempting to unionize, according to staff representatives. The three unionists were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly blocking the factory’s front gate and attempting to stoke the strike.

On Thursday, deputy prosecutor Mut Dara said he had freed the three men: Yon Sambou, 36, deputy secretary-general of the Cambodian Federation Labor Union; Sok Siden, 36, of the Cambodian Federation of Freedom Union; and Meas Touch, 35, also of the Federation of Freedom Union.

“They reached an agreement, and the company withdrew the complaint,” he said, referring further questions to court spokesman Khann Sophal.

Mr. Sophal said the three men had signed contracts to secure their release. But he said he did not know the contracts’ terms and referred further questions back to Mr. Dara.

Toch Sothea, who heads the provincial government’s labor dispute resolution bureau, said the decision to end the strike helped seal the deal.

“It was resolved because the workers agreed to go back to work, and the union leaders stopped the strike because the company agreed to withdraw the complaint,” he said. “Two workers who are [still] suspended have agreed to resign, and the company is calculating their severance pay.”

The two were the last of the 21 workers fired on June 24. The other 19 have been reinstated.

Federal Labor Union president Den Sam Ath confirmed the decision to end the strike in return for the withdrawal of the company’s complaint.

Mr. Sambou, one of the arrested unionists, said he was released at about 4:30 p.m. He denied the company’s claim that he had incited the workers.

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