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Hundreds fired after garment strike ends

Management at one of Asia’s largest garment producers yesterday fired at least 600 employees, days after thousands returned to work following a two-week strike.

Most of the workers fired by SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd – which supplies Gap, Levi’s and H&M – were members of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), said Chhin Sao, SL’s administrative manager. The 600 to 700 terminations came after the employees refused to return to work, he said.

But Kong Athit, C.CAWDU’s vice president, said the company is targeting union members.

“They want to have their own administrative power without consulting with a real union,” Athit said.

SL’s short notice for the firings and intended severance pay, which a C.CAWDU member said only includes last wages and annual bonuses, appear to violate the Kingdom’s labour law, said Moen Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.

C.CAWDU is currently attempting to negotiate with SL, Athit said. If efforts are unsuccessful today, SL workers will begin demonstrating again.

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