MORE than 4,000 workers at M&V Manufacturing International’s garment factory in Kampong Chhnang province continued to strike for a fourth day yesterday, as a union president urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to force the company to reinstate 20 fired workers.
Free Trade Union president Chea Mony wrote to Hun Sen to inform him that the employees had been “illegally dismissed” because they had joined the FTU to protest for better working conditions after two mass fainting incidents at the factory in August.
The faintings sparked investigations by the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories program, which monitors the factory, and international brand H&M, which buys apparel from it.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, Chea Mony also urged the premier to ensure the Macau-owned company “stopped discriminating against the union’s freedom”.
Yesterday’s strike began with a brief skirmish at about 7:00am between protesters and police. “No one was injured,” FTU official Uk Khen said, adding that “there was a bit of confusion and they pushed each other”.
He said workers were committed to a non-violent strike and would continue their protest until the company met its demands, which include better medical care and transportation for night-shift workers, and no deduction in bonuses for staff who decline to work on Sundays and holidays.
Kampong Chhnang provincial deputy police chief Hul Veasna said about 70 military police were deployed to provide protection and ensure order. He said the brief clash was the result of a few drunken individuals.
Pov Sitha, director of the province’s department of labour and vocational training, said the dispute had been forwarded to the Arbitration Council, but it had yet to issue an order. Arbitration Council official Pen Savath said the council was working on the dispute but declined to comment further.
M&V management declined to comment.