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Cops allegedly attacked garment strikers

120725_06

Workers employed by the Golden Gain Shoe company protest yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Police have been accused of punching and shoving garment workers from Tai Yang and Camwell factories in Kandal province as the month-long strike over bonuses continued yesterday.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said 11 people had been slightly injured after being attacked by about 60 police who were trying to prevent them from standing near National Road 4 in Ang Snuol district.

“The police officials came to push and beat the workers without talking with us in advance,” he said.

“Nine workers and two union leaders – me and Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance Trade Union – were slightly injured,” he said.

Chhun said the workers, armed with banners they had wanted to show passing motorists, had moved from their usual spot outside the Tai Yang factory to the nearby national road where police and military police had set upon them.

“The workers have the right to stand along the road. They should tell us if they do not want us to stand over there, but they used violence,” said Chhun.

Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun, however, said that police did not attack the workers.

“What [Chhun] said is wrong. We did not use any violence,” he said. “We told and begged them not to come to strike on the national road, but they did not listen to us. If [Chhun] keeps disrespecting the law, we can arrest him.”

The workers, who claim the Tai Yang factory’s name was changed in 2010 so management could avoid paying them seniority benefits, have been striking since June 25.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 workers from Golden Gain Shoe Company in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district will return to work today after they blocked a road and marched towards the Ministry of Labour yesterday.

Management agreed to 13 of the workers’ 17 demands, some of which related to overtime and benefits, and will send the rest to the Arbitration Council.

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

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