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Tack Fat employees seek intervention

THE Free Trade Union and workers formerly employed at the Tack Fat Garment factory, which closed and declared bankruptcy last week, submitted two separate letters requesting intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Labour Vong Soth in order to secure severance benefits, the union’s vice president said yesterday.

Yang Sophoan, vice president of the FTU, said workers sent a letter on Thursday to the Labour Ministry calling for legal action against the head of Tack Fat, and another letter, also on Thursday, asking Hun Sen to urge the company to find a settlement for 1,008 people now out of work.

The company said last week it was unable to pay full compensation to workers and offered a smaller severance package.

Workers say they are owed more according to the Labour Law.

“The factory gave three points to the workers and denied two more points in the Labour Law – severance pay and compensation,” Yang Sophoan said.

Chhean Thida, a representative for workers at Tack Fat, said she had worked at the factory for nine years and calculated that she was owed US$2,000 according to the law.

If she accepted the company’s offer, she would only receive about $200, she said.

The inability of employees to obtain full compensation from the company, she said, would show the law is “rotten”.

Sri Kim You, an attorney for Tack Fat, reiterated yesterday that the company was unable to pay workers beyond its offer in negotiations.

Bankruptcy does not relieve employers of their obligation to pay severance benefits, according to the Labour Law.

Sum Pharen, deputy director for the dispute bureau at the Ministry of Labour, said yesterday he had not yet seen the letter but that the workers and factory do not “depend on him to help intervene – they want to make internal negotiations in advance”.

Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, said yesterday he had not yet seen the letter.

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