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Chea Mony sued over strike

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Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court has summonsed Free Trade Union president Chea Mony and two of his officers to answer incitement charges at the court tomorrow relating to his alleged involvement in a mass strike at a garment factory last year, officials said yesterday.

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M&V garment factory bosses lodged a complaint with authorities accusing Chea Mony of incitement and property damage incurred when more than 3,000 of the factory’s workers went on strike last October demanding the company deliver on eight points for improved working conditions.

M&V factory 4 administration chief Yin Nak said the October strike was contrary to legal procedure.

“The union exploited workers and tried to trick me at the negotiation table when the company and union were negotiating at Kampong Chhnang’s Labour Department,” Yin Nak said, adding the company had suffered a great loss of revenue due to the October strike.

“In the complaint, the company has sued the three for compensation of US$850,000 for blocking the production chain and causing slowness to deliver products for company orders,” he said.

Chea Mony said yesterday he would attend court tomorrow.  

“It is the company’s right to file a complaint and I welcome a legal resolution,” Chea Mony said, adding the only charge he was guilty of was protecting the rights and interests of workers.

FTU adviser Mann Seng Hak, who has also been summonsed, said the company’s complaint and accusation was “a threat to the demand of workers’ rights and freedom”.

M&V factories were plagued by mass fainting episodes last year, and the 3,000 workers at Factory 4 had demanded that 20 union leaders who had been bounced by the company be allowed to return to work, among other requests related to the health and safety of workers.

Moeun Tola, labour program director at the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday that the court complaint was a weapon of the “rich and powerful to use the impressionable court system to eliminate the rights of workers”.

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