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Strike ends as sacked workers take cash

Seven union leaders protesting against being sacked from the Vantage River Textile factory in Preah Sihanouk province each agreed yesterday to accept $300 compensation.

Worker representative and sacked employee Keo Srey Pich, 22, said three hours of negotiations between the union, workers and the company, in the presence of the provincial governor and labour officials, ended in the cash being offered and an agreement to end the strike.

“The boss will pay the compensation and promises to resolve other demands we have made,” Srey Pich said, adding that the workers had accepted the compensation in part because they had no other money to support themselves.

Yov Khemra, of the Preah Sihanouk labour department, was present for the talks and said that eight points had been agreed to. These included that workers who took part in the strike would receive a reduced salary for the period in which they protested.

“[They] will return to work with only their wage being reduced,” he said. “We will ask for complaints from both sides . . . to be withdrawn.”

Workers from Vantage River began striking on July 31 in protest against the dismissal of 10 workers who were in the throes of creating a union. Three of the unionists had previously accepted compensation.

Workers claim that their bosses, who could not be reached for comment, were violating their rights, including by forcing them to work overtime. Factory representatives said that the workers were fired for not paying attention to their duties.

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