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Unionist barred from work

SACKED unionist Mao Piseth was barred from returning to work yesterday following negotiations with representatives of the Sihanoukville garment factory that sacked him, an event that triggered strikes at the factory last week.

Yov Kemera, director of the provincial labour department, said yesterday that provincial authorities brokered the meeting in an attempt to resolve the stand-off, but that the results were “unsuccessful”.
“Factory officials did not agree to accept Mao Piseth’s return,” he said after the meeting.

He said, however, that the  representatives of the PY Garment Factory agreed to adopt workers’ 12-point resolution demanding better working conditions for the striking workers, and that 240 workers returned to their jobs yesterday.

He said he hoped more would return tomorrow, saying the strike was “illegal”.

About 600 workers from the factory had planned to protest at Preah Sihanouk provincial hall yesterday morning.

Local authorities demanded that they shift protests to Sihanoukville City Hall, where yesterday’s meeting took place between the PY Garment Factory Director Preah Sihanouk, provincial Governor Sboang Sarath and Mao Piseth.

Mao Piseth said before the meeting that the day’s planned protests had been unsuccessful because factory representatives were uncooperative and did not come to meet with workers.

“[The protests] were unsuccessful because the representative of the factory did not come to negotiate,” he said.

“There were representatives of workers, the deputy governor and the director of the labour department.”

Mao Piseth could not be reached for comment  following the meeting.

On November 4, garment workers protested in front of the factory, demanding better working conditions and calling for Mao Piseth to be reinstated.

Striking factory worker Chhay Kon said yesterday that the factory had abused the rights of workers.

“We can’t stand the continued abuse of workers at the factory site,” he said. “We will not be patient about it. We must strike until the factory site agrees to let the fired unionist Mao Piseth return.”

The factory’s director could not be reached yesterday.

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