Amid concerns of legal violations on the part of their employer, about 400 workers at the USA Fully Field garment factory in the capital’s Meanchey district accepted payouts for their factory closing – even though it hasn’t.
Workers protested last week in fear that the factory was shutting its doors, leaving them left without seniority benefits accrued from as far back as the 1990s.
But a factory representative, who declined to be named, said yesterday that the factory would stay open under the same name and owner, but would mark a new beginning on Friday with new contracts.
“The company is not going to close, but we just appointed a new general manager and have made new contracts,” he said. “Workers who want to stay here have signed a new contract and will come here on [Friday].”
Soy Nakri, a worker representative, said that meant long-term workers had accepted $650 to end their previous contracts.
“There are 22 workers who have worked for longer than 10 years who did not accept,” Nakri said, adding they were entitled to more compensation.
Dave Welsh, from labour rights group Solidarity Center/ACILS, said it was “totally illegal” under the Labor Law for a company that has changed managers to clear the contract history of its workers. “The workers can’t negotiate below the minimum standards of the Labor Law. In this case, frankly, they probably don’t know the law.
“Responsibility [to help them] lies with organisations like us, the ILO and unions,” he said, adding he would meet with workers today.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHANE WORRELL