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Workers in Ratanakkiri strike for overdue pay packet

Forty workers on a Ratanakkiri palm oil plantation are striking until their employer pays their wages for the past three months of work.

On Wednesday, the grass-clearing workers at Hoang Anh Lumphat Company in Kon Mom district said they haven’t been paid so far this year.

“For nearly three months, we have not gotten our wages,” said Lor Sophal, 40, a worker who has been employed by the plantation for five years. “Some workers must get 1 million riel ($250) and some get 80,000 riel ($20). We depend on our wages to support our family.”

Pheng Keo, another plantation worker, said the strike won’t end until the company pays.

“That money is little for the company but it is a lot for us,” he said.

Twenty-three workers filed a complaint at the local office of rights group Adhoc on Wednesday.

“The company . . . exploited their labour,” said Adhoc investigator Mean Phrum Mony, adding that the company claims the workers have yet to finish the area they were asked to clear.

Son Bunchoen, director at Ratanakkiri’s labour department, said he would only investigate if the workers directly ask for intervention.

“We suggest they file a complaint with us first, before we provide any solution between them and the company.”

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