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Strikers warned off

Authorities will be strict in the way they handle garment workers who block roads while striking, Minister of Labour Vong Sauth said Friday.

In response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s directive to industry actors last week to rid the garment sector of violent strikes that spill onto the streets, Sauth said strikers must find more peaceful ways to get their point across.

“To sit and talk in peace is the best way to find a resolution,” he said.

“Recently, workers have not been following the law. If we allow them to do whatever they want, our society would have no law. So we have to follow [Hun Sen’s] order.”

Sauth’s comments came as the Labour Advisory Committee signed off on a minimum wage hike, from $61 per month to $75, in the garment and footwear industries. The wage hike is effective from May 1.

A worker at the now-closed Yung Wah Industrial garment factories in Kandal province’s Takhmao town, who declined to be named, said yesterday that workers did not want to block roads during strikes, but often found it an effective way of getting their message across.

“They [government officials] think we all wanted to stand under the sun, but it was our last choice to force them to find a resolution for us,” she said.

More than 700,000 workers from Yung Wah have since been paid outstanding wages and benefits they were owed after the factories closed unannounced in December.

“If we did not block the road, we would not have receives our wages,” the worker said.



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