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Union boss accused of strike incitement

The president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions has been summonsed to Kandal Provincial Court to answer incitement and defamation allegations levied against her by the owner of the strike-plagued Tai Yang Enterprise factories.

The court complaint comes ahead of major negotiations today in the seemingly irresolvable dispute between thousands of workers at the Tai Yang factories, which supply Levis and Gap, and factory officials.

“KiKi Wang, the company director-general, filed a complaint against the president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, who led the workers to hold the illegal strike that caused the factory to lose more than US$10,000 per day,” Tai Yang Enterprise administrative manager Ou Meng Hour said yesterday.

Hour said his company had never had problems, but Yang Sophorn, president of CATU, incited the workers to illegally strike for the past 14 days, causing a massive profit loss.

CATU’s claims that “thousands” are striking and that the company has abused workers’ rights are simply untrue, Meng Hour protested.

Seventy-five per cent of workers have returned to work, with only a few hundred continuing to strike, and the company pays salaries of US$70 per month, compared to an industry average of $61, he added.

Kandal court officials sent a summons to Sophorn to appear in court for questioning tomorrow over the incitement and defamation allegations.

However, Sophorn, unfazed by the court action, has rescheduled her appearance in order for her to lead Tai Yang’s largest strike yet in Phnom Penh that day.

Sophorn said she was not worried or scared about the complaint, because workers had asked her union to help.

“They sent me the letter to help them through the legal procedure, and I have a duty to help them. I did not incite them to hold an illegal strike by myself. I informed the factory as per the labour law about holding a strike,” she said, adding that the factory has money and power, so is able to do what it wants to block a strike action.

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

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