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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pair of garment strikes sees 2,000 protest

Pair of garment strikes sees 2,000 protest

Demanding points ranging from the reinstatement of union representatives to maternity benefits, nearly 2,000 garment workers from two separate factories in Phnom Penh and Kandal province held demonstrations yesterday.

The lion's share of protesters demonstrated in front of Now Corp., a garment factory in Kandal's Ang Snuol district, said Seam Sambath, president of the Workers Friendship Union Federation. About 1,600 strikers participated in the demonstration, he said.

Factory information listed on the website for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia says Now Corp. employs 1,600 people.

"The workers will continue protesting tomorrow," Sambath said. He listed some of employees' demands as $15 for accommodation or transportation, $26 per month for lunch and allowing pregnant workers to leave 15 minutes before the workday ends.

"I am not sure if the workers will block [National Road 4] or not; it depends on whether the workers decide to take that action tomorrow," Sambath said yesterday.

When contacted by the Post yesterday, a Now Corp. official who answered the phone said she was not aware of a strike, and refused to connect a reporter with the factory's administrative manager.

As the strike continues, Sambath noted his concern about a possible police crackdown.

At a much smaller protest in the capital yesterday, about 100 people stood outside UDS Garment Co., after the firing of three Free Trade Union (FTU) representatives, Ry Sithinet from FTU's legal department told the Post yesterday. UDS terminated the three FTU representatives last week for reasons unclear to the union, Sithinet said. The factory employs 255 people, according to GMAC.

In addition to reinstating the representatives, striking workers are demanding 4,000 riel ($1) per day for lunch and to give all workers a $28 per month raise when the minimum wage is hiked from $100 to $128 next month.

UDS workers agreed to return to work, while FTU is sending a letter detailing its demands to the Ministry of Labour, Sithinet said.

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