Wing Star Workers End Weeklong Strike

Workers at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kompong Speu province on Monday agreed to end a weeklong strike and return to work today after an agreement was reached not to cut workers’ pay during the strike and raise their bonuses by $2, officials said.

“The workers agreed to go back to work tomorrow because the company this morning promised that they would not cut their monthly wage during the strike and they will raise [their bonuses] by $1 per month for both travel and lunch,” said Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, which organized the strike.

“This is a small solution, but our workers agreed to accept this agreement, and we will continue to negotiate for the rest of the points,” he added.

Last week, thousands of workers protested for five days outside the Wing Star Shoes factory, demanding 11 points, including a $5 increase to their monthly bonuses.

Mr. Phal said they would continue talks this week, as the workers also want the company to stop forcing employees to work overtime and remove male security guards from outside the factory’s female restrooms.

Provincial labor department director Sim Rattanak confirmed Monday that the company and workers had reached a temporary agreement.

“I received a document from the company this afternoon, and in the document it mentioned that the company would not cut monthly wages [during the strike] and they agreed to pay $1 for travel and $1 for lunch,” he said.

Bin Sreymom, a worker at Wing Star, said she received notice to return to work today. “I received information from the company that they accepted our demands, and we will go back to work tomorrow,” he said.

Mao Chhiv Song, an adviser to Wing Star Shoes, said he was “busy” and could not comment. He said last week that the company was losing an average of $150,000 per day as a result of the strike, and on Thursday said the factory was prepared to shut down if the strike continued.

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