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Fainting factory dispute

The Kampong Chhnang provincial labour department has agreed to mediate an ongoing dispute between workers at a garment factory in the province and their employer over alleged violations of the Labour Law.

Pov Sitha, director of the provincial labour department, said workers at the M&V International Manufacturing facility submitted a letter late last month to him saying the company was violating 16 points of the Labour Law. They also asked him to intervene, he said.

However, when he invited them to meet with him and company representatives on Friday they refused to attend, he said, adding that he  had invited them to meet with him on Thursday.

“I will try my best to settle the dispute. If I cannot, I will forward it to the ministry to send to the Arbitration Council,” Pov Sitha said.  

The factory was hit by two mass fainting incidents in August, which prompted an investigation by one of its main buyers: H&M.

The factory employs about 4,000 workers and has several active unions. In October, the Free Trade Union led a strike at the factory, claiming that M&V had fired workers trying to form an FTU branch there.

Company officials said, however, that the worker’s contracts had not been renewed because there was no work for them.

Meas Sokhen, FTU vice-president at the factory, said the 16 points it wanted ad­dressed included canceling short-term contracts, ensuring that all overtime is voluntary and allowing workers to bring their own meals to the factory if they had to work overtime.

Yin Nak, M&V’s administrative chief in Phnom Penh, said the company had already met the demands made in the complaint and wanted to settle the dispute at Thursday’s meeting. “The union keeps pushing for new demands because it wants to get more members in the factory,” he said.



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