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Union files assault court complaint

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) filed legal complaints yesterday, following allegations on Wednesday that police had assaulted seven garment workers, including a pregnant woman.

“I will file the complaint to Interior  Minister Sar Kheng and the Kandal provincial court to demand justice and compensation for workers injured by the police,” Choem Khieng, a legal officer with C.CAWDU, said before lodging the documents.

Sa’ang district police chief Chea Socheat yesterday again denied officers had been violent during a strike outside the Garment factory in Sa’ang district, but Khieng said witnesses were willing to testify otherwise.

Pregnant worker Chan Bophal claimed she had been slapped and manhandled.

About 200 workers continued protesting yesterday — ignoring an Arbitration Council order for them to return to work — demanding that 41 union representatives be reinstated.

Industry stakeholders met on Wednesday to review whether workers, factories and unions were complying with a memorandum of understanding.

Dave Welsh, country manager for the American Center of International Labor Solidarity, said strikes had increased in January — there were still only seven — and two factories had ignored Arbitration Council rulings.

Parties that signed the MoU agreed to accept the council’s non-legally binding decisions and strike as a last resort.

“We’ll be trying to do more regular monitoring... so we can head [problems] off at the pass,” Welsh said.

More than 80 workers from the Kingsland Garment factory, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, filed petitions to the Swedish embassy and H&M requesting intervention after their bosses fled last month, allegedly owing workers $200,000.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Shane Worrell

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