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Kampong Speu factory workers walk

Nearly 2,500 garment workers at three factories staged protest strikes yesterday demanding that factory owners deliver improved working conditions to the workers in Cambodia’s prized manufacturing industry.

In Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district, about 1,700 workers from two factories picketed yesterday, calling for better working conditions and accusing company owners of abusing workers’ rights.

Labour unionist Chea Mony said more than 1,000 workers striking at the Anful factory were requesting travelling allowances and payment for  overtime.

More than 700 striking workers at the nearby Fabric Art factory had a 15-point list of demands that included reinstatement of workers they say were unfairly dismissed earlier this week and improvements to the health and safety of the factory conditions.

“Fabric Art’s owner violated workers’ labour rights, and the Anful workers made their outburst of anger after their proposal for improvement to working conditions was not solved,” Chea Mony, who heads the Free Trade Union, told the Post yesterday.

But Huy Chen, director of the provincial labour office in Kampong Speu province, said  the owner of Fabric Art had already accepted the workers’ 15 points.

Workers had continued to strike to lobby the company to provide their full salaries for time spent striking, he said.

The Arbitration Council also released a decision yesterday ordering the 700-plus striking workers from the SH factory, in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune, to return to work.

A worker representative, however, told the Post that workers would not obey the Arbitration Council order until the factory’s owners agreed to the workers’ nine-point list of demands.

SH workers have been striking for six days already, and their decision to continue striking comes one day after the Garment Manufacturing Association in Cambodia called for a blanket prohibition of “illegal” strikes.

GMAC president Van Sou Ieng said strikes were increasingly descending into violence and mayhem.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tep Nimol at nimol.tep@phnompenhpost.com

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