TWENTY-TWO union representatives at a garment factory in Kampong Speu province have returned to their jobs after having been suspended in connection with last month’s large-scale strike.
Bo Sreypich, an accountant at the Sangwoo garment factory, said factory management had allowed the representatives to return to their jobs on Monday.
“Before allowing them to go back to work, my employer just met and talked with all 22 workers and told them to respect our internal regulations and said when there is a problem, we will solve it together,” Bo Sreypich said.
Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said yesterday that following the return of the workers at Sangwoo, there were still 106 suspended union representatives at 14 factories. 677 workers from 16 factories who protested the suspensions of their representatives have seen their contracts terminated because they ignored court orders requiring them to return to work within 48 hours, he said.
“I think if those companies still prevent those workers from coming to work, it means those companies are looking down on Cambodian law, the courts and also the prime minister’s appeals,” Ath Thun said.
In a speech last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on garment factories to drop pending complaints against workers and union representatives.
Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said yesterday that he was aware of only four factories that had dismissed workers in connection with the strikes. The companies that had “the most problems” had appealed court orders directing them to allow workers to return to their jobs, he added.
“The workers came to them holding this court order, but they are appealing, and because of the fact that they are appealing, there is no change in the situation,” Loo said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH AND JAMES O’TOOLE