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Manhattan melodrama

Nearly 2,000 workers from the Manhattan Cambodia garment factory in Kampong Cham province’s Kampong Siem district protested in front of the factory yesterday to urge its owner to implement multiple orders by the Arbitration Council on worker demands, a union official said.

Yen Sokheang, vice-president of the Free Trade Union of Cambodia at the factory, said workers had protested all day with no reaction from factory representatives or provincial labour department officials.

Yen Sokheang said that last Thursday, workers had sent a letter to the factory stating that they would strike if a  resolution was not reached.

“The Arbitration Council ordered the factory owner to agree to five of  the 12 points demanded by workers, but the company did not follow [the order],” he said, adding that the most recent ruling had been handed down in October.

The Arbitration Council has ordered that the company offer permanent contracts to employees who have worked in the factory for more than two years, to provide a bonus of two months’ salary for workers on permanent contracts who resigned and to allow workers to wear shoes at work to protect their safety.

It also ruled that workers whose contracts were not renewed immediately after they expired should receive extra money for the time they worked without a contract, and that the company must pay one month’s salary and other financial benefits to former worker Chea Phalla, who workers claim was unfairly dismissed.

Sam Seyha, administrative manager at the factory, could not be reached for comment yesterday, but has previously told the Post the company would not go against an Arbitration Council decision.

Provincial hall administrative manager Kun Navuth said an inspection team from the Labour Ministry would travel to the factory today to investigate the dispute between workers and the company owner.

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