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Garment protests hit Sihanoukville factory

More than 600 factory workers protested in front of the PY garment factory in Sihanoukville’s Number 4 district yesterday, demanding better working conditions and approval for their fired union leader to return to work.

“We won’t come back to work until our union leader is allowed to work and the company has to obey the job conditions,” he said.

Workers asked the company and the provincial department of labour to guarantee 12 basic working conditions in addition to allowing their union leader to return.

Moe Piseth, the union leader, said the garment company “discriminated and abused” his and other workers’ rights, and fired him without cause.

Yov Kemera, director of the provincial labor department, said the company had agreed to some of the working conditions in talks with worker representatives but “could not accept” the return of the union leader, who they say was fired for cursing the manager.

Meanwhile, in Kampong Chhnang province, five workers from the M&V garment factory say they plan to file a complaint against the factory owner for the unwarranted loss of their jobs.

One of the workers, Chan Sovan, said the five met yesterday to discuss complaining to the director of the provincial Labour and Vocational Training Department because the owner “called us in for thumbprints … and told us we were fired from work”.

Sok Samphorn, director of the factory’s computer section, said the workers elected to quit on their own after getting angry with their boss.

“I told them to think before they decided to stop, but they did not listen to me or the factory owner,” he said.

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