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Ire raised over Kotop employees’ dismissal

Unionists reacted angrily yesterday to the firings of more than 50 workers at a Phnom Penh garment factory who were let go in the wake of a 15-day strike.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina said he would issue letters to the government and international brands that buy from Por Sen Chey district’s Cambo Kotop factory, including Gap Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“I will send a letter to Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng tomorrow to quickly intervene on behalf of the fired workers,” he said, adding that he expects more workers to lose their jobs.

Dismissals came after the employees, who walked off the job on December 15 in protest of management’s termination of five CUMW representatives, returned to work on December 31. The firings occurred on January 2 and 3.

The corporate social responsibility manager at the factory, who would only identify himself as Kwak, said the CUMW reps whose reinstatement strikers demanded were let go last month because they had disrupted operations in the factory.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued an injunction on December 23 for employees to return within two days, but the approximately 600 protesters initially ignored the order. They returned despite the fact that management at Cambo Kotop did not meet their demands, which included the reinstatement of the representatives.

Phin Rany, 28, a fired worker, said she didn't return to work in time because she was taking care of her sick son. Cambo Kotop reps could not be reached.

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