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Factory clash has familiar feel

130118 05
A representative from the Ministry of Labour addresses striking workers at the International Fashion Royal Factory in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Two protesters and three factory officials were injured in a clash at a garment factory in Kampong Speu province yesterday as a report revealed that more than 60 unionists and workers were injured in such incidents in 2012.

Vann Bun, a Free Trade Union activist, said a factory official used a lead pipe to beat him and others at the Winson International garment factory in Samrong Tong.

“Protesters and company officials pushed each other as the workers tried to get into an [off-limits] area of the factory,” he said.

“The administrative manager tried to record it on video. There was a clash and a factory official used a metal pipe to hit me and other workers.”

The factory’s administration manager, Kang Vannet, said he intended to sue the FTU officials, because he himself had been punched in the head and had his cell phone smashed.

“I tried to escape from them, and I took the phone to record the video as evidence, but they destroyed my phone,” he said.

According to a Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) report released on Wednesday, injuries occur regularly in strikes in the garment industry.

Of 150 labour disputes last year – 115 of which C.CAWDU claims resulted from discrimination against unions – almost 20 resulted in injury.

“There were 19 cases of violence at 16 factories,” the reports states. More than 60 union leaders were injured, including 20 people seriously injured.”

Meanwhile, about 200 workers from the International Fashion Royal factory in the capital’s Meanchey district rode tuk-tuks to the Ministry of Labour to ask for help to have their wages increased to $93 per month.

“Our representatives were allowed to negotiate with the boss and ministry officials,” representative Hem Sitha said.

Thousands of workers at Gladpeer garment factory will continue their days-long strike by marching from Por Sen Chey district to the National Assembly today to ask lawmakers for help.

Workers at Kingsland garment factory who have protested – and slept – outside their workplace since their bosses disappeared owing them money will seek the help of the Arbitration Council, they said yesterday.

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

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