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Strikers fed up with delays

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Striking workers planned to set tyres aflame today outside a garment factory that supplies JC Penney in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, union officials said yesterday on the sixth day of the strike at Hong Kong-owned Win Shing-tex Cambodia Co Ltd.

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Ath Thorn, head of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said unionists had been trying to negotiate a collective agreement with the company for almost a year, but management had sent only low-level administrative officials to the talks.

“They just talk and talk and delay. It’s just blah, blah, blah,” he said.

He also accused the company of trying to break the union, setting up a rival union at the factory and discouraging its workers from joining the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, which is a member of the CLC.

Ath Thorn said the workers’ demands included raising the transportation allowance from US$3 a month to $10.

San Sopha, a C.CAWDU legal officer, said workers also wanted five union representatives who had been suspended rehired and an administrative manager who allegedly threatened workers removed from his post.

The collective agreement they were trying to negotiate had 20 points, including a monthly attendance bonus of $10, San Sopha said.

Chhen Tav, an administrative manager at the firm, told the Post the five unionists were suspended on March 20 because they led an illegal strike.

“The company sent the case to the Labour Ministry and it sent it to the Arbitration Council, but the workers still keep striking without waiting to see the results,” he said.

Va Yuvavathana, director of the labour dispute resolution office at the Labour Ministry, said it had sent the dispute to the Arbitration Council on March 17.

“The ministry does not work on this case any more because it is at the Arbitration Council,” he said.

The company’s owners were refusing to listen to their workers, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tep Nimol at tep.nimol@phnompenhpost.com
Vincent MacIsaac at vincent.macisaac@phnompenhpost.com

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