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Factory sequestering unionists from others

Eight union representatives at a Chinese-owned window factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town say they are being illegally detained by security guards in a separate room at work each day after leading recent protests.

Choeun Sinoeun, a representative for the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) said that he and seven others, including a pregnant woman, have been locked in the room within the factory every day this week, supposedly to clean it.

The representatives haven’t been given any work, and are allowed to return home at the end of their shift.

“It is a deprivation of our freedom,” he said.

On Monday, about 400 workers returned to the Beautiful Windows factory after their dispute demanding better working conditions was sent to the Arbitration Council.

The workers had been striking for two weeks and caused a company-estimated $50,000 of damage when they pelted the factory with rocks on August 19.

CUMW president Pav Sina said the representatives were accused of inciting the workers to throw rocks, which he denied was the case.

He said he would file a complaint to the Labour Ministry.

Has Bunthy, director of the Svay Rieng Labour Department, denied that the detention was illegal. “The company put them in a separate place while they waited for a decision on their dispute,” he said.

The factory’s administrative manager said he was unaware of the workers’ allegations as he was in Phnom Penh.

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