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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment staff promised new work

Garment staff promised new work

One thousand employees from the gutted Grandtex International garment factory will

be back at work by mid-June, said the factory's labor union head, Duong Vunthet.

The factory burned down on May 21, injuring twelve people. Several others are feared

dead, although clearing work has still not commenced.

Vunthet said he had met with company representatives who told him the employees would

receive 45 percent of their salaries until work commenced at the new site.

"The company will choose those workers who were already employed at the old

factory," he said. "We were concerned that some employees would not be

able to get to the new location as it is further away from their homes, but the factory

says it will use its vehicle to transport those who don't manage to find housing

close by."

Deputy district governor Em Sokleang welcomed the news, saying he had been concerned

that some employees would have been forced to turn to theft to feed themselves. His

fear of social problems was echoed by Ker Soksidney, an advisor at the Minister of

Labor and Social Affairs.

"But right now there is no point worrying about that because until now we haven't

had any complaints from the workers," Soksidney said. "So they may well

be happy enough with the company."

He added that if Grandtex did not resolve the issue, the ministry would step in under

the provisions of the Labor Law. He said the law entitled the ministry to obtain

Grandtex's deposit at the Ministry of Interior to ensure that workers and creditors

were paid.

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