A strike of hundreds of workers at the Global Footwear factory in Kandal province dragged into its 10th day yesterday with no end in sight over a list of 12 demands including a $9 monthly pay raise.
Mao Mol, representative of Free Trade Union at Global Footwear in Ang Snuol district’s Poeuk commune said that the strike for better pay started November 15 and that workers have informed both the factory and provincial labour department in advance.
“Our basic salary is $61, but we want a raise up to $70 like the other nearby factories,” Mol said.
He added that workers also asked the factory not to violate their contracts and not to file lawsuits if a negotiation is not brokered.
“Since we started to strike, there has been no negotiation from the employer with us, but labour officials visited the employer and met only the factory,” he said.
“If there is no solution for us, we still continue to strike.”
Mol said more than 1,000 workers had been involved in the strike, though factory representives put the figure at closer to 300. Sok Kheng, deputy chief of the labour dispute unit at the provincial department of labour, said the department had been unsuccesful in negotiating a deal and subsequently sent the case to the Arbitration Coucil.
The Council issued a decision on November 16 telling the workers to return to the factory, though they have ignored it, he said.
Phu Chikay, director of administration for Global Footwear factory, said the demands were impossible as they were “over the law”.
He added that authorities had advised workers not to strike. However, the workers did not comply, which is why the company resorted to a legal complaint against the worker representative leading the strike.
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