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Garment meeting: Official vows to stamp out corruption

A Ministry of Labour official yesterday vowed to go after any of his “corrupt” colleagues that deal with the garment and footwear sector, and urged workers to file complaints about substandard working conditions.

“The [ministry] allows you to create unions to protect you when you are abused by employers,” said Pok Vanthat, deputy director of the ministry’s labour health department. “If they force you to work overtime, you should complain [to the ministry].”

Vanthat’s comments came at a roundtable on health and safety in the garment sector convened by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media.

“The ministry will punish the officials who are corrupt and take money from the factories [to not] find a resolution for the workers,” he continued.

But a number of workers were not convinced.

“Almost all the factories have had the same problems for the past 20 years.… The ministry has not been able to solve them for us,” factory worker Suth Sophorng said.

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