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Unions vow June Textile protest

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Former June Textile employees listen during a press conference at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday. The company is embroiled in a dispute over compensation.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun has warned that he will lead demonstrations next month if representatives of the June Textile garment factory do not pay out proper compensation to hundreds of former employees.

In a decision issued last month, the Arbitration Council called on June Textile, which burned down in March, to compensate workers for a “pre-notice” period ahead of their dismissal of up to three months’ salary. The factory was also instructed to give workers indemnity payments of 15 days’ wages multiplied by the number of years worked, with a cap at six years, and to pay out remaining annual leave.

The company has appealed the ruling, however, claiming it does not have the resources to make such payments.

“It is unfair for the employer side if we decide to accept the Arbitration Council’s decision, because the factory has no money to pay the workers,” said Taing Kisay, the administration chief for June Textile.

Yesterday, Rong Chhun said at a press conference that he planned to rally workers from other factories in support of the ex-June Textile employees if the company does not provide the desired compensation.

“If there is no resolution before the end of July, a large demonstration movement will happen in August,” he said.

Roughly 1,000 workers from the factory have been holding out for improved severance packages after factory representatives initially offered payments of US$20 per year worked, an overture already accepted by more than 2,000 workers.

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