‘Abandoned’ workers seek factory’s sale

‘Abandoned’ workers seek factory’s sale

After the sudden, unannounced disappearance of their factory’s owner last Friday, more than 400 garment workers at DF Fashion Apparel (Cambodia) in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district gathered at the factory yesterday, demanding back wages.

The disappearance of the Israeli national who owns DF Fashion – known to employees only as “Mr Mer” – left about 540 workers unemployed and demanding the government gut their former workplace to pay them each between $500 and $600.

“We want the Ministry of Labour to create a committee charged with selling equipment in the factory so that we can use the money to pay workers’ wages and benefits,” said Fa Saly, president of the National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC).

“We wish to give the workers what they are owed without involving the courts.”

On Samol, DF Fashion’s administrative manager, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Saly sent a letter to the Labour Ministry, asking them to intervene immediately, and ministry officials made a trip to the factory to see protesting workers, Saly said.

Such abandonment of factories – especially in Cambodia’s garment sector – has been a problem for years, the result of a legal system in the Kingdom that does not hold foreign businesspeople accountable for their investments, according to Saly.

However, Vong Sovann, deputy secretary-general of the Labour Ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, yesterday said that ministry officials are looking for the factory’s owner to work out a solution. If they cannot find the employer, Sovann said, his committee will sell the factory and machinery inside for scraps, and use the proceeds to pay workers the money they are owed.

“We had a meeting with the workers’ representative and the union, and they demanded we find a resolution in which they are paid wages and benefits,” Sovann said yesterday. “The workers do not want to sue the employer in court; they want their money. I will try my best to solve this problem as soon as possible, because they want to find new jobs.”

Worker Khiev Chakrya, 27, yesterday said the demand to sell the factory is not out of vindictive sentiment but necessity.

“We do not have money, so we have to sell the equipment and the factory,” Chakrya said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding