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Union reps claim factory beatdown

Union representatives who claim they were beaten to within an inch of their lives yesterday after they handed out pro-union leaflets in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district have vowed to take legal action.

The 10 union members, who represent four different unions – the Union Federation for Labour Rights (UFLR), Cambodian Federation of Labour Unions, Khmer Workers Union Federation and Union Federation Peace for Workers – stood in front of Dayup Global Co Ltd passing out literature with information detailing the Labour Law and workers rights yesterday morning, San Lay, secretary-general of the UFLR, said.

“After we gave out all the leaflets, we went to have breakfast,” Lay said. “Then a group of people came out of the factory carrying stones, sticks and cleavers to attack us.”

Outnumbering the union representatives four to one, the armed men pummelled the latter group, leaving two unconscious and vomiting blood, and the others with less severe injuries, Sam Soeun, president of the UFLR, said.

Their lives were only spared because the alleged assailants returned behind the company gates when villagers who saw the beating began shouting for them to stop, Soeun said. The two seriously injured union reps were taken to a private health clinic for treatment.

Soeun has already filed a complaint with police and plans to file another with the municipal court, he said.

“We sued them for attempted murder and robbery,” Soeun said. “They tried to kill us, and they took three phones and two walkie-talkies during the attack.”

But Yang Rithy, administrative manager at Dayup Global, insisted yesterday that the union members provoked a fight outside the factory gates.

“They damaged company property and injured four workers,” Rithy said. “We did not attack them as they said.”

He added that video evidence proves that the union members started the fight and that his firm plans to sue the 10 union representatives.

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