Nearly 50 employees working at a beverage-can factory belonging to Crown Holdings Inc yesterday protested the sacking of their union representative, who was fired on Tuesday following the establishment of a union at the end of July.
The protesters gathered at the factory in Preah Sihanouk province to ask for intervention from the Ministry of Labour. An Rama, a Cambodian Labour Confederation coordinator, said workers had registered a union at the end of July.
On August 17, 56 workers submitted a complaint to the ministry, demanding better conditions, and submitted another on September 1 following the ministry’s inaction. On Tuesday, the ministry called in union leader Sing Sao for clarification, and upon returning to the factory he was suspended.
“The company claimed he didn’t have permission to be absent, so the company suspended him,” Rama said. “The Labour Ministry said we didn’t register the union.”
According to Deputy Provincial Governor Seng Huon, the ministry contends that only 41 workers, not 56, submitted their thumbprints on a complaint – below the required representation of 30 percent of workers to be recognised by the ministry.
He said the workers had begun with a slew of requests – for the company to pay double salary if it asked employees to work on off days, for long-term cleaners to get permanent contracts and receive maternity benefits, and for workers to not have pay docked if they resign.
Yesterday they called for the ministry to investigate the union leader’s sacking and for the company not to discriminate against unionists. Seng Huon said the ministry would start working on the firing and discrimination complaint today, and would address the other issues before the Pchum Ben holiday.