Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Historic’ factory deal leads to calls for more

‘Historic’ factory deal leads to calls for more

‘Historic’ factory deal leads to calls for more

In the absence of a mechanism that pays out garment workers left stranded by factory closures, Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) will keep pushing global brands to negotiate resolutions like the one achieved at Kingsland Garment last week, a representative said yesterday.

“[With Kingsland], we were very clear with the brands that there was a responsibility because there was no one else to go to,” said Jill Tucker, chief technical adviser at BFC, an International Labour Organization monitoring program that helped bring H&M and Walmart to the bargaining table.

Although the retail giants, which had bought garments from Kingsland through separate vendors, won’t put forward any of the $205,000 promised to about 200 stranded workers, their involvement in talks was significant, Tucker said.

 “The whole relationship between a buyer and a factory is changing,” she said, adding that international brands were acknowledging responsibility more than they used to.

Kingsland closed in December when bosses fled, leaving hundreds out of work.

Walmart vendor Saramax and H&M vendor New Archid will pay a combined $145,000, while $60,000 is expected to be raised from the sale of the company’s assets. The agreement had not set a precedent, but left the door open for similar negotiations in the future, Tucker said.

“In cases of factory closure, we will try our best to get who is sourcing to come to the table as long as there is no other option,” she said.

H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson said her company was pleased with the result.

“H&M has clearly acted on the case by demanding our suppliers to take responsibility for the [Kingsland] workers,” she said.

A committee of government officials, workers and labour representatives will meet Monday to discuss payment.

Representatives from more than 10 countries, meanwhile, met in Phnom Penh yesterday for an Asia Floor Wage Brand Bargaining meeting in which Cambodia’s garment sector minimum wage was among issues discussed. Talks will continue today.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not