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Another mass fainting, more fingers pointed

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A worker is carried into a hospital after a mass fainting episode at the M&V garment factory in Kampong Chhnang on Tuesday. Photograph: supplied

The second mass fainting in a month at Kampong Chhnang’s M&V garment factory, a supplier for global retailer H&M, saw 23 women taken to hospital yesterday, bringing the total number of affected workers in August to 67.

Noun Sam Ol, president of the Free Trade Union at M&V, said yesterday that the women, who were sent home to recover after their hospital visit, had been working multiple overtime shifts, leaving some feeling weak later in the day.

“There were two instances of fainting this month in M&V, because employees have been working harder and their health is not good,” she said.

Sam Ol also noted that M&V management has granted the fainting workers time to rest at home until they recover and pledged to let them work 9am to 5pm shifts going forward.

Soam Sinath, deputy director of Kampong Chhnang provincial labour department, said the faintings were not caused by the factory but rather the women’s existing health issues.

“The factory has a good environment with enough air and light,” said Sinath. “So the fainting workers is not a factory issue.”

One worker who spoke to the Post later in the day, Seoun Langdy, said she still felt unwell.

“I was sent to the provincial hospital and the doctors [administered medicine]. I left the hospital to stay at home, but I still have a headache and feel tired. I need more days to rest,” Langdy said.

Langdy lost consciousness after several other workers fainted.

“This month, I worked overtime until midnight,” she said. “I smelled a bad odour when I was inside the factory, but I do not know what it was. When I left my home, I was in good health, but when I went inside the workplace I was tired and weak.”

Yin Nak, M&V’s administrative manager, could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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