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Bankruptcy fears, back wages prompt protest

About 600 garment workers protested outside the Kbal Koah Garment factory yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Chhbar Ampov district. Photo supplied
About 600 garment workers protested outside the Kbal Koah Garment factory yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Chhbar Ampov district. Photo supplied

Bankruptcy fears, back wages prompt protest

Some 600 workers from two garment factories in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district and neighbouring Kien Svay district, in Kandal, went on strike yesterday to demand their December salaries, amid suspicions the factories are going bankrupt.

Ol Vana, a representative for the workers and for an internal factory union, said both factories Kbal Koah Garment Co Ltd and Top World Garment Cambodia Ltd have the same owner. The Hong Kong-owned factories produce children’s jeans and pants.

Vana said the factories haven’t officially announced that they are going bankrupt, but workers haven’t been paid for December, and work began to slow down late last year.

“We just come to work, but there is not much work ... to do,” said Vana, who works at Kbal Koah.

Srey Nang, a Kbal Koah worker, said that the workers want their December wages so that they can start looking for other jobs. Nang said that for the past few months, the factories had been paying workers late, and in separate instalments.

Workers met with company representatives yesterday and were told there wasn’t enough money to pay them yet.

Khin Van, chief of administration for the factories, maintained there were no intentions to close the factories. However, he acknowledged the owner didn’t have enough money to pay workers, but declined to say why.

“We recognise that it’s late, but we will pay them when we have enough money,” he said.

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