Hundreds of workers at a new factory in Kampong Speu province continued yesterday to strike for better working conditions after one of their colleagues was allegedly struck with an electroshock weapon on Friday by their Chinese boss.
About 200 workers from Hor Ling Factory protested in front of the facility, located in Kong Pisei district’s Snam Krapoeu commune, over the attack against 29-year-old stock manager and translator Chouk Phally.
According to Phally, the attack happened on Friday after he was ordered to deliver some stock to Phnom Penh but forgot to take all of it.
When he returned to the factory, his female boss, a Chinese national, dismissed him.
“She got angry when I went to ask for my salary. She ordered the factory gangs to drag me out and tried to provoke me to use violence against her, but I did nothing. Then she used a shocking device to shock me in the stomach and this made me fall unconscious,” he said.
After the attack, Phally said he filed a complaint with the local authorities demanding $3,000 in compensation from the factory.
Other workers, who corroborated Phally’s story, said they have been on strike since Saturday to demand that their bosses admit to the attack.
The striking workers have a list of other demands including expenses for food, travel and accommodation, medical facilities, a canteen and freedom from forced overtime.
One protester, Kit Chenda, said the “factory oppresses the workers; they insult us while we’re working and dismissed a worker for no reason”.
Workers at the factory, which only opened in December, said they will not end their strike until a “proper solution is reached”.
Factory representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday, while Tat Song, director of Kampong Speu’s Labour Department, said he had received complaints from both the bosses and the workers.
“The workers accuse the factory’s boss of shocking him with an electric stick, and the factory says that the worker pushed the boss, causing her to fall down,” he said.
Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, declined to comment yesterday.
A meeting is scheduled for 10am today aimed at resolving the dispute.