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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment factory welcomes back striking workers

Garment factory welcomes back striking workers

Revoking its decision to sack the vast majority of its work force for a prolonged strike, the Winson International garment factory agreed to allow the 868 workers back to work following negotiations late last month, worker representatives said yesterday.

After mediation by officials from the Ministry of Labour and the Social Affairs Ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, the factory also yielded to one of the strikers’ main demands and agreed to reinstate five union members fired late last year, said Free Trade Union (FTU) officer Ry Sithinet.

“It is unusual for a company to agree to accept back union members who were sacked, but the company agreed to this in order to end the strike,” Sithinet said, adding that FTU President Chea Mony had lobbied for the unionists’ reinstatement.

The workers, who already have returned to work, had been striking for better wages and the unionists’ reinstatement for more than a week when the factory announced on January 23 that they had been fired for failing to obey a court injunction ordering them back to work within 48 hours.

The strikers then protested being sacked without appropriate benefits until the government intervened.

One employee, Horl Ra, said yesterday that the company had cut his daily wages by 50 per cent for each day he protested but had allowed him to keep his other benefits. Discipline at the factory, however, had been stricter since the protesters returned to work, he said.

Ra said workers might strike again if the company continues to be so strict.

Kang Vannet, Winson International’s administrative manager, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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

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