Workers Strike, Accuse Factory Managers of Attack at Protest

Workers striking at Phnom Penh’s Quantum Clothing factory have filed a complaint against their managers for allegedly attacking two workers during a protest Wednesday outside the factory, according to a union representative and police official.

About 3,000 workers went on strike Thursday in protest of a provision in the government’s January minimum wage increase that excludes workers who were already making more than $128 a month from getting a guaranteed raise.

Deputy Free Trade Union president Touch Soeu said that at about 7:10 a.m. Wednesday morning, as about 1,000 workers were demonstrating outside the factory on Veng Sreng Street, company officials attacked two protesters.

“Two women were grabbed by their hair and dragged into the factory, but one managed to escape, while the other was slapped in the face until she got bruises,” Ms. Soeu said, adding that the union immediately filed a complaint with Choam Chao commune police.

Van Kakada, human resources manager for Quantum Clothing, denied the allegation.

“Their accusation is not true because no factory official attacked any of the workers,” Ms. Kakada said. “The workers blocked the gate and the entrance to the factory with their motorcycles, which angered the workers cooperating with the factory.”

Ms. Kakada claimed that Sok Bunleng, the factory’s import and export manager, who allegedly attacked the workers, was only trying to intervene in a clash between protesting workers and their colleagues trying to enter the factory.

“He went to stop the workers from fighting. He did not attack anyone,” she said.

Roeung Chanrong, a Choam Chao commune police officer, confirmed that police had received the complaint.

“We received a complaint from two female workers this morning accusing factory officials of being violent to them,” Mr. Chanrong said, adding that factory representatives will be called for questioning Thursday.

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