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Heng Samrin flags pay dispute

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Garment workers formerly employed by the June Textile factory gather at the office of the local rights group Adhoc earlier this month to seek help after the factory burned down in March.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin has called on the Ministry of Labour to resolve a dispute over severance pay involving roughly 4,000 workers from the June Textile factory, which burned down in March.

In a letter dated Friday, Heng Samrin and Khoun Sudary, a parliamentarian and chairwoman of the National Assembly’s human rights committee, told Labour Minister Vong Soth that they had received a request from the workers to intervene in the case.

“The Committee of Human Rights of the National Assembly and Senate sends this case to the Minister to check, research and solve, and then, requests that he report the solution to the Committee, so that the Committee can reply to the requests of workers,” the letter says.

The company has offered workers severance payments of US$20 for every year they have worked at the factory, though roughly 1,000 workers are holding out for payments of $100 per year. Dave Welsh, country director for the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, said last week that the case was set to be heard today by the Arbitration Council.

Khieu Savuth, deputy director of the department of labour disputes at the Ministry of Labour, said yesterday that the case was in the hands of the Council. Sok Lao, executive director of the Arbitration Council Foundation, said a decision in the dispute would likely be handed down in mid-June.

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