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Workers strike for third time at Gap supplier

120626_06
Factory workers take part in a strike outside Zongtex Garment Manufacturing yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai

More than 1,600 garment workers from the Yung Wah Industrial (Cambodia) Co Ltd factory in Kandal province’s Takhmao district went on strike yesterday morning, demanding better working conditions.

Sath Chheanghour, president of Cambodian Workers Economic Federation, said yesterday it was the third time workers had stopped work to try and secure a US$15 transportation and housing allowance, a 3,000 riel daily lunch stipend and a 4,000 riel good performance bonus, as well as improved wages.

“The workers came into their workplace, but they didn’t do their job,” he said, adding that they would hold out until demands were met.

He said the factory supplied American retailer Gap.

Yung Wah Industrial (Cambodia) Co Ltd administrative officer, who declined to be named, said the company had sent the case to the Arbitration Council, which had ruled against the workers because their demands contradicted the labour law.

“The factory negotiated with them after they informed us about holding a strike, and we agreed with them on five points because the rest of the points of their demands are not in the labour law,” he said.

The strike was illegal and the factory would send a letter to the court to ask for a protection warrant if the workers continued their strike for 48 hours.

Meanwhile, more than 300 employees of the Zongtex Garment Manufacturing Ltd factory agreed to end a four-day strike yesterday, with a caveat: address wage demands or face another work stoppage.

Tum Chamroeun, a 27-year-old representative of the workers at the factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, said the company had 10 days to respond.

“We demanded the factory to increased our wages from $63 to $70 per month, [provide] a $15 attendance bonus, and stop abusing the workers,” he said. “The factory owner told us that they cannot give us more wages because the workers at Zongtex Garment Manufacturing get higher wages than other factories and the government set [minimum wage for garment workers] is $61.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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