AROUND 160 garment factory workers ended a strike yesterday following an order from Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but they have threatened to stop work again if the company does not reinstate three who were fired.
The workers set up camp outside the Sun Ly Fong garment factory in Meanchey district on August 17 to agitate for improved working conditions.
They were informed on Wednesday that the court deemed the strike illegal, and that they would lose their jobs automatically if they did not go back to work by 5pm yesterday. The court also gave the company permission to fire three employee representatives accused of inciting the strike.
Ien Pov, a union leader at Sun Ly Fong factory and one of the three fired representatives, said almost all of the strikers had gone back to work at 1pm yesterday.
“The 160 workers, except for their three representatives, have decided to resume work because they complied with the legal procedures of the court,” he said.
However, he said that further action will be taken if he and the other two representatives are not reinstated.
“The workers have thumb-printed [a petition] to request that the factory owner appoint the three representatives back to their positions,” he said.
“If the factory does not agree within one week, all workers will resume their strike again.”
Ien Pov said he had also sought legal advice from the Community Legal Education Center regarding whether it had been legal for the company to fire the three representatives by the court’s authority.
Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at CLEC, said it was possible that the three representatives had been dismissed illegally.
“According to the Labour Law, employers have to send a report to the Labour Inspection Office to examine and authorise them to suspend workers’ jobs, but the court here suspended the jobs of the workers by itself,” he said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials with knowledge of the order could not be reached yesterday. Representatives of Sun Ly Fong declined to comment on the issue.