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Workers threaten roadblock as talks stall

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About 500 garment workers take part in a protest at the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

More than 2,000 workers yesterday continued their strike in front of Phnom Penh’s Gladpeer Garment Factory and threatened to block National Road 4 today or tomorrow if their demands remain unmet.  

Following an unsuccessful meeting with factory officials Monday afternoon, protesters gathered at 6am yesterday and danced to music on loudspeakers while the factory recorded their protest on video, said Ngeat Sokum, a representative of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.

“We plan to march to block National Road 4 tomorrow or Thursday if we do not get any result for our demands,” Sokum said yesterday.

The protesters’ demands include that the factory – an H&M supplier – increase the monthly minimum wage from $61 to $93 per month, reinstate two fired union members and begin using long-term contracts.

Va Chinda, Gladpeer’s administrative manager, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

H&M press officer Hacan Andersson said yesterday via email that “H&M as a buyer at Gladpeer Garments does not go in and act in this situation”, adding that the company just began a project with Swedish trade union IF Metall to improve conditions in Cambodia.

More than 700 workers from the Winson International Garment factory in Kampong Speu province also demonstrated yesterday for a minimum wage increase to $70 per month, said Free Trade Union official Thorn Thol.

Kang Vannet, the factory’s administrative manager, said the factory would address the workers’ minimum wage demands in next Monday’s meeting organised by the Social Affairs Ministry, adding that he was preparing to ask the court to order the protesters back to work.

Additionally, workers at the International Fashion Royal factory in the capital’s Dankgor district and the Blossom Century factory in Takeo province demonstrated yesterday for a monthly minimum wage increase to $93, said Ly Chanpheakdey, president of the Cambodian Conscious Workers’ Federation Union. 

 

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

With assistance from Justine Drennan

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