Workers in Kompong Chhnang End Protest

About 3,000 workers at the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye garment factory in Kompong Chhnang province have agreed to return to work after two weeks of strikes and protests against what they claim was a deliberate effort by management to withhold part of their last paycheck.

Despite compiling a list of 17 demands over the past two weeks, the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit said it is calling off the protest after the factory agreed to drop legal complaints against the union leaders and pay each striking worker half of their $10 attendance bonus for this month.

“Some workers went back to work on Saturday and [Sunday], all the workers will go back to work following the agreement between both sides,” Mom Siek, president of the union, said Sunday.

During the protest, representatives of the workers brought their grievances to Phnom Penh, delivering petitions to the Ministry of Labor and the cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia publicly called for authorities to punish the unionists leading the protest, in which workers repeatedly blocked National Road 5.

Neth Rasmey, human resources director at the factory, said that legal complaints against the union leaders have been dropped as part of the deal for workers to return to the factory.

“We agreed to drop all complaints against workers and unionists in order for them to return [to work],” he said. “We will resume filing those complaints again if they are still striking.”

Mr. Rasmey said that some of the remaining disagreements between the factory and workers would be sent to the Arbitration Council for a ruling.

Viech Chroeb, a representative of the workers at Jiun Ye, said she was disappointed to be returning to work.

“We are not happy to be going back to work because we did not achieve more of our demands,” she said.

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