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Workers strike for fired leader

6 factory protest

More than 300 garment workers protested yesterday outside the capital’s D&L Ultimate factory to demand the reinstatement of a worker they say was sacked after the company learned he had been elected as the leader of a newly formed union in the factory.

The workers burned tyres and blared loud music from speakers while they danced and chanted outside the Dangkor district factory, said Suth Seam, a labour dispute resolution officer of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

“I did not do wrong,” Pen Sophal, the fired union leader, told the Post yesterday. “I formed the union after hundreds of workers voted me as their leader.”

Sophal said the factory had accused him of inciting the workers to protest, but maintained he had simply presented the factory’s management with an 18-point document demanding more rights for workers, including paid meals on Saturdays and paid sick leave.

“I did not provoke any workers to protest,” he said.

Now, however, workers will strike until the factory allows him to return and concedes to workers’ other demands for improved benefits, he said.

Nget Chamroeun, a factory representative, declined to comment yesterday.

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