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Workers from shuttered garment factory demand wages

People gather outside Muse Garment Factory in Phnom Penh yesterday morning during a protest over unpaid wages. Photo supplied
People gather outside Muse Garment Factory in Phnom Penh yesterday morning during a protest over unpaid wages. Photo supplied

Workers from shuttered garment factory demand wages

More than 500 garment workers from a shuttered garment factory in the capital’s Dangkor district are demanding their salaries after the firm’s owner ran away.

According to its website, the Chinese-owned Muse Garment (Cambodia) Factory Limited produced pants and shorts exclusively for the European market.

Workers began to suspect the owner had fled on January 12, when production suddenly halted, but kept coming into work hoping that a resolution for their unpaid salaries would be found.

However, on Monday, the workers came to the factory only to find that it had been padlocked for good.

The move sparked three days of protests on site, said Thong Soeun, an official at the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit.

“According to the Labour Law, if the factory is bankrupt, the company must work out workers’ salaries and some benefits,” he said. “But the factory owner never appeared to give what he owed.”

The protests have resulted in a promise of a $43 payout for each worker, but workers consider the figure far too little, said worker Tit Pharet.

“We could not accept it since our salary is more than $100,” she said.Chan Srey, another worker, said she had previously seen the company hauling away machinery to sell off.

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour and factory representatives could not be reached yesterday.

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