Workers Rally in Phnom Penh

More than 500 garment factory workers protested in front of Phnom Penh’s Independence Mon­­ument Wednesday, claiming the owner of the Lucky Sweat­er Fac­tory fled the country without pay­ing salaries owed to more than 1,000 workers for December.

Factory workers from Ang Snoul district, Kandal province, appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen for help, bemoaning that they have not had jobs for nearly two months and have no money to feed their families.

“Almost all my salary is spent on food to feed my sister and to pay for her studying,” said Seak So­phal of Lucky. “And now that I haven’t received my salary and I have no job, how can I feed my sister?”

Workers have already staged two protests in front of the Kandal provincial court but did not reach a res­olution, group leader Men Bun­then said. They said they hoped this third protest will gain greater support from the government.

Men Bunthen said workers sent Hun Sen a letter earlier this week but have not received a reply.

A Hun Sen representative said the prime minister would receive the complaint Wednesday night.

Men Bunthen said Keb Sovan­na­ra, a company affiliate, promised he would take responsibility for getting salaries to the workers but that they have yet to see results.

David Chanaiwa, the workers’ law­yer, asked a Phnom Penh bank three weeks ago to freeze the $60,000 stored in owner Fan Chiang Cheng’s bank account.

“We asked the court to ban this money from being taken by the owner and to keep this for the workers’ salary,” he said.

The court issued a warrant to freeze the money. Chanaiwa has also asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Keb Sovannara.

Fan Chiang Cheng could not be reached for comment.


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