AROUND 2,000 garment workers held fresh demonstrations at the Ocean Garment Factory in the capital’s Dangkor district on Monday, calling for the reinstatement of seven union representatives suspended after protesting the introduction of overtime hours.
Mann Seng Hak, secretary general of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said during the protest that the factory owner violated the Labour Law by suspending the representatives.
“Based on labour laws, the company cannot suspend workers before sending their names to the Ministry of Labour,” he said, and argued that workers could only be fired with the ministry’s approval.
Sam Ty, chief of the workers’ syndicate at the factory and one of the seven suspended representatives, accused Lay Sokchea, the company’s chief of administration, of lobbying factory owners to prevent members of his union from working.
When contacted on Monday, Lay Sokchea dismissed the accusation and defended the factory owner’s decision to suspend the representatives.
“I cannot lobby factory owners to suspend the workers,” he said. “The factory owner saw their activities with his own eyes. The representatives made the mistake of stirring up workers and lobbying them to not work. They did not do their duty.”
He added that the company had delivered the names of those who were suspended to the Ministry of Labour, but that the ministry had not yet reviewed the information from the company.
Va Yuvavadhana, chief of the ministry’s Labour Litigation Office, said the suspension of the unionists could very well have been illegal, saying it “did not make any mistakes”.
The protest was dispersed at around 8:30am by both police and military police.