Workers Get Loans After Fire, Vow More Protests

About 900 employees of a Phnom Penh garment factory destroyed last week by a fire were provided with loans to cover their expenses while they are out of work, but will continue to protest to demand their full paychecks and severance, a factory administrator and the workers said Monday.

“We loaned about $85,000 to 885 workers this afternoon, but the workers still keep protesting to get their last payment,” said Hel Phalla, the head of administration at the Chinese-owned Cheng Sheng Garment factory, which made clothes for U.S. retailer Kmart.

Hong Chenda, a representative of the workers, said while some workers are happy to receive the loans, they still want to receive the entirety of what they are legally owed.

“We will keep protesting in front of the factory until we find the solution. If not, we will march to the Ministry of Labor,” he said.

The fire last Monday killed one of the factory’s Chinese supervisors and injured three others. The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

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