Workers March For Unpaid Wages—Again

About 200 garment workers demanding unpaid wages from Hong Kong factory owners staged their second protest in a month on Monday, creating a major traffic jam by halting traffic along National Road 1 in Phnom Penh.

The workers, from two factories in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district, took to the streets at about 8 a.m. seeking their December pay from the owners of Top World Garment and Kbal Koah Garment, according to Siang Yot, a legal officer at the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union.

The informal blockade ended when local authorities and Labor Ministry officials negotiated a meeting with workers’ representatives. Roughly 600 workers have been on strike since January 10.

“The workers really need their wages because they are facing livelihood difficulties like not being able to pay for food or rooms,” Mr. Yot said. “They face getting kicked out of their rooms if they still have no money to pay the landlord.”

Vong Sovann, deputy secretary-general of the ministry’s labor conflict department, said that unlike past cases, the factories’ owner was neither bankrupt nor on the run.

“He is still there, but he lacks the ability to pay the workers,” he said. “We need time to solve the issue because the factory says they have no money to pay the wages.”

Representatives for the factories could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Yot said the workers, who staged a march earlier this month in the capital, were growing impatient.

“If there is still no resolution, the workers say they will block the road again this week or in the next 10 days,” he said.

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