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Strikers move protest to Phnom Penh

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Garment workers from factories owned by Tai Yang Enterprise Co participate in a strike yesterday in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Thousands of workers from Tai Yang Enterprise, a supplier for major brands including Levis and the Gap, will move their nearly three-week-old strike from their factory in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district to Freedom Park in Phnom Penh tomorrow in order to bring their petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said yesterday that the CCU and Cambodian Alliance Trade Unions sent a letter to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall to inform the governor about the workers’ gathering in the park, which was built for such protests.

“The number of the workers is still the same as the first day of striking, and they will keep striking until they can see results,” he said.

Rong Chhun said the roughly 4,000 workers also intend to get their petition to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she is in Phnom Penh for the ASEAN summit.

“We will do our best to help the workers and to take the petition to Hillary Clinton,” said Rong Chhun, adding that the workers had not provoked any problems with authorities during their strike action and that it would be a safe and peaceful strike tomorrow.

The workers have been on strike since June 25, demanding travel and accommodation stipends, performance bonuses and maternity leave.

May Sopheaktra, secretary general of CATU, said yesterday that the City Hall governor accepted the letter from CATU, but he did not reply yet.

“He took our letter, but he did not agree or deny yet, and we are waiting to see his reply,” he said.

May Sopheaktra said that if the City Hall governor denied them permission to protest, he will lead just 15 worker representatives to Hun Sen’s cabinet.

“I believe that the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall will agree with our request, because what we do is for workers’ benefit, it is not political,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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