The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training called on 22 workers at Sun Sing Garment Co Ltd in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district to come forward and collect compensation for owed wages, annual leave and seniority payments from September 1 onwards.

Officials say the budget for the worker’s payment package is approximately $10,000 and borne by the state budget.

Sun Sing was a subcontractor to other garment factories, with 42 employees. On August 10, its Chinese owner fled the factory, after settling his wage debts with just 20 members of staff.

The announcement followed a peaceful protest by the remaining workers, who filed a complaint to the district hall.

According to an August 31 notice, following the recommendation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the ministry will start providing compensation payments to workers at the district hall.

“Bring along documents such as your work ID or employment contract, National Social Security Fund [NSSF] card, Khmer identity card or passport, and a monthly pay slip as well,” it said.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour confirmed to The Post that the ministry would provide compensation to the remaining 22 employees.

Sour said the ministry would be more than willing to examine any similar situations and would assess each one on a case-by-case basis.

“The ministry will investigate any cases like this one and will attempt to resolve any issues that Cambodian workers might have,” he added.

According to an official at the ministry’s General Secretariat for the Resolution of Strikes and Demonstrations who asked not to be named, the payments were ready and waiting for the claimants to come forward.

“The ministry will make up to three payments to each worker – last month’s unpaid wages, any remaining annual leave and seniority allowances owed to them,” he said.

He said the benefits each worker is eligible for depend on their individual employment circumstances.

Keu Houn, one of the workers, told The Post on September 1 that she had only been working at the factory for two months before she was faced with this situation.

Houn, who moved from Kampong Thom province to work for the factory, said the money provided by the ministry would help relieve her food and rent expenses – especially as she had been unable to find a new job yet.

“I am so happy! I feel like I am reborn. I prayed for help when the boss ran away, and I am so grateful to the ministry and all those who helped me. I had just moved to Phnom Penh to work when the owner fled, and had no savings to live on. Now I will be able to pay my rent, buy groceries and send some money back home,” she said.

On August 17, the premier ordered the labour ministry to release state funds to compensate workers on behalf of factory owners who shut down their business and fled. The ministry, he advised, should pursue legal action against the owners later.

On the heels of Hun Sen’s order, the ministry settled the compensation claims of over 400 workers from Canteran Apparel Cambodia Co Ltd in Chaom Chao I commune’s Trapeang Thleung 3 village of the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, at a cost of approximately $600,000.