About 900 workers at a footwear factory in Kampong Speu province returned to work yesterday after its managers agreed to reinstate a disabled administration chief who had been removed from his position and shifted to another place within the factory, union officials and employees said yesterday.
Hundreds of workers at the factory owned by Shimano Cambodia Co Ltd had protested in front of the facility in the province’s Samroang Tong district on Monday after a similar protest on Friday failed to resolve the dispute, Free Trade Union of Cambodia official Thorn Thol said.
Factory employee Chin Bopha said they were protesting against the removal of Touch Manin, who had encouraged the hiring of people with disabilities at the factory, from his previous role as administration chief.
“Manin was always understanding of the feelings of disabled people and he gave them opportunities to work in the factory,” Chin Bopha said, adding that Touch Manin’s left arm had been amputated. He was rehired after a meeting on Monday between workers’ representatives, factory management and officials from the department of labour, she said.
Touch Manin said that 127 of the factory’s 887 workers, including him, were disabled, but their successful integration into the workforce had not lowered production at the factory, which exports to the European Union.
“I began a program to hire workers with disabilities four years ago. If they had the ability to do the job, we gave them the opportunity to have one,” he said. Kampong Speu labour official Choek Borin said that the company was unique in its efforts to recruit people with disabilities. “They don’t discriminate against the disabled,” he said.
Company representative Sot Botra said “the workers are in good spirits because the dispute had been completely solved”.
A government sub-decree issued in August 2011 requires companies with more than 100 employees to recruit people with disabilities if they have the necessary qualifications.