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Unjust firings, pay cuts lead workers to strike

Some 170 workers at a rubber company in Mondulkiri began striking yesterday for the right to unionise, the reversal of a recent pay cut and the reinstatement of two staffers who were allegedly fired unjustly, workers said.

The employees of Sokfin Co Ltd in Pech Chreada district were also seeking safety equipment and paid sick and maternity leave, according to striker Duong Veasna and others.

“We want to have a union to help us,” Veasna said. “When the workers spray chemical substances, we need masks, boots and gloves to protect us, and not for them to force us to work without [them].”

The workers are demanding a wage increase from the current $6.25 per day to $7.50 per day, and the reinstatement of a driver who was allegedly fired after being sick for two months.

Fellow worker Kay Sokheang said the company had fired another staffer over a minor mistake instead of offering a warning, as with most workers. He also accused the company of cutting some workers’ salary from $200 to $192 per month without reason.

The company had offered to negotiate with a handful of staffers, but strikers said they demanded the company negotiate with everyone.

Contact information for Sokfin was not available yesterday, but District Governor Nuon Sarom confirmed the strike, saying he had sent officers to monitor, but received no report.

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