The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia is helping its members sue several unions for damages after a walkout over demands to raise the minimum wage to $160.
Ken Loo, GMAC’s secretary general, said that more than 150 members are jumping on board to sue: “And the numbers keep on going up.”
The association claims that strikes over wages, which started in late December and are winding down now, cost factories more than $200 million in profits. The six unions at the centre of the dispute are all targets of the legal action. Many did not return phone calls yesterday seeking comment.
Hundreds of factories were shuttered during the strike, which reached its nadir when military police killed at least four workers on Friday during a protest outside the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh.
Loo added that some suits had already been filed, but did not specify amounts of damages sought. GMAC’s plan to sue was discussed on the official page of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Monday in a post that also claimed South Korean garment manufacturers are backing the suit.
Arrests were made outside a South Korean-owned garment factory on Thursday, and the administrator of Canadia Industrial Park said yesterday that two South Korean companies work in the zone.
Nam Shik-Kang, head of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, said “some of the garment factories are now working with GMAC.”
But he said the majority were going about their business, and had not been harmed during the demonstrations.
“My factory had no problem at all. I don’t want to make legal trouble,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JOE FREEMAN