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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shirt-theft claim sparks protest, possible strike

Shirt-theft claim sparks protest, possible strike

Nearly 3,000 workers at a Cambo Handsome Ltd garment factory in Choam Chao commune, Dangkor district, will go on strike today if the factory’s Korean owners do not re-instate three unionists who were suspended, allegedly for stealing shirts, union leaders said yesterday.

The company, which employs more than 7,000 workers at its five garment factories in Cambodia, is a unit of global supplier Hansoll Textile. Major buyers of its factories here include Walmart, the Gap, JC Penny, Old Navy, Kohl’s and Forever 21, according to Hansoll’s website.

Today’s planned strike follows a protest by nearly 2,000 workers at Dangkor district hall on Saturday over the arrest on Friday of union leader Van Rin, Cambodian Labour Union general secretary Thai San told the Post. Van Rin was released following the protest, he said. Van Rin and two other union representatives were, however, suspended from work, he said

According to a joint statement from several unions, Van Rin, director of the Labour Friendship Union at Cambo Handsome 1, was arrested, while LFU vice-director, Yi Davi, and the vice-director of Cambodian Labor Union, Yi Davuth, were suspended, after demanding improved working conditions.

Sieng Sambath, director of the Federation of Labour Friendship Unions, said he would lead 3,000 workers in a strike today if the company refused to re-instate the three union representatives.

Pon Borith, an official at Cambo Handsome 1, said the company had complied with the legal procedures for suspending employees. “They were suspended, not dismissed,” he said, adding that a strike would be illegal.

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