Workers End Strike After Factory Makes Concessions

More than 1,000 employees at the Sun Well Shoes factory will return to work today after the factory made several concessions to the striking workers’ demands for better pay and conditions.

Sieng Sambath, president of Workers Friendship Union Federation, which is representing the workers, said they accepted an offer from the factory to pay them a $50 annual bonus, $5 per month for medical care and to provide better safety equipment such as protective clothing.

“The workers have agreed to work because they need the money to pay for daily living expenses and they reached an agreement with the representatives of the factory,” Mr. Sambath said.

The end to the strike, which was mediated by district authorities and Labor Ministry officials, comes almost two weeks after it first began with protests outside the factory on Veng Sreng Street in Pur Senchey district.

The workers, who receive a base salary of $105 a month, had started out with a list of seven demands including a monthly $15 travel and accommodation allowance, which was not granted.

Factory officials have agreed to give consideration to covering workers’ tax payments in the future, another of the workers’ initial demands.

Roh Savath, a 34-year-old worker, said he was pleased that union and factory representatives had negotiated an agreement, but warned of more strikes if the factory went back on its word.

“We will strike again if the factory does not respect the agreement between the representatives of the workers and the factory,” he said.

Liu Chhiv Mey, the factory’s administrative director, said the strike had caused major financial losses to the company.

Ms. Mey said that although the total cost had not yet been calculated, it was significant.

“This strike had a large effect on the factory, so the factory needs to cut workers’ daily pay by 50 percent during the strike period,” she said. “Their demands were not reasonable but our directors understand the workers’ livelihood needs.”

sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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