Workers Threaten Violence If Strike Demands Not Met

Union leaders warned Wednes­day of potential violence at Parnas Cambodia Garments factory if workers’ demands were not met by today.

“We expect a big demonstration,” said a spokesman for the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Workers at the Parnas factory on Route 5 north of Phnom Penh have been on strike since Friday. They have demanded that sal­a­ries be paid on time and that they receive yearly raises and monthly bonuses.

Negotiations have come to a stalemate over the demand for a $5 monthly bonus for workers who take fewer than two days off a month, said the spokesman.

On Monday, workers threatened violence if their demand was not met by today, he said.

Parnas management could not be reached for comment.

The union has urged workers to keep demonstrations peaceful, the spokesman said. But he added that nearly all of the factory’s 2,000 employees are expected to attend the protest if management does not make the concession. With so many strikers, he said, violence is possible.

It was unclear Wednesday how the government will respond. Mem­bers of an inter-ministerial commission set up last month to address growing labor unrest could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The commission, headed by Cambodia’s top police chief, Hok Lundy, has said workers’ rights must be supported, violence will not be tolerated and factory property will be protected by police.

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