A national garment workers union has asked the government to reinstate 15 of its local union leaders it claims were fired simply due to their union membership.
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Labour on Monday, Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, wrote that the 15 FTU unionists who have been fired separately since 2014 and were stationed in seven factories across the country were clearly discriminated against because of their status as leaders of local union chapters.
“I understand dismissals made when the garment sector is shaky or experiences a drop in orders, but the factory cannot just fire the leaders immediately,” he said.
The letter also demands unspecified compensation be paid for the leaders’ loss of work.
Mony warned that he would send the letter up to higher levels of government should it go unheeded, threatening a “huge demonstration” if nothing was done.
The sudden dismissal of union leaders is common in the garment sector, even though by law employers have to file extra documents to ask permission from labour inspectors first, said Moeun Tola, director of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.
“Another thing which we see is that sometimes labour inspectors make mistakes, and usually sign off without conducting any investigation,” he added.