Wing Star Workers Strike Despite Closure Threat

One day after the Wing Star garment factory threatened to shut down, thousands of workers responded by protesting Friday, demanding hikes in lunch and transportation bonuses.

If the owners shut down the factory, they will incur large labor severance costs, warned Sim Rattanak, labor department director for Kompong Speu province, the region west of Phnom Penh, where Wing Star is located.

“Until now, I have not heard the factory call to say they will solve the problem or not, the factory should have the solution,” said Mr. Rattanak. Mao Chhiv Song, a Wing Star adviser, could not be reached.

A trade union leader also warned that the factory will have to compensate thousands of workers if it tries to close.

Mr. Phorn Phal, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union, said that protesting workers have only interrupted production by temporarily leaving their work places.

“The protesters didn’t do anything to interrupt the factory, they just demand what they want, they will continue to protest until the factory finds a solution,” he said.

“Today, the provincial court issued injunction order asking all workers in the factory to return to work. Even though they know about this, all the workers still are protesting.”

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