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Unionist firings inspire walkout

About 1,000 workers at a Kandal province garment factory walked off the job on Saturday after management there fired eight employees who attempted to start a new union.

Management at Sixplus Industry Co, Ltd originally sacked 13 union activists on Friday afternoon, but later that evening said they would allow five of them back to work, said Mai Bun Hai, president of the new Independent Union for Worker Solidarity.

“They told me that they will allow us to create the union inside the company if we obey their wishes, but I declined and they sacked us immediately,” Bun Hai said yesterday.

Sixplus’ is now home to two unions: the Free Trade Union and the Labour of Khmer Children Union. Nearly 800 employees there have thumb-printed a petition demanding the reinstatement of the eight fired unionists, Bun Hai said.

The dismissals are a clear violation of Cambodia’s labour law, said Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.

Officials from Sixplus could not be reached for comment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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