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Calls for mass faint probe

Calls for mass faint probe

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Garment worker Keopich Panha, 19, sits at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh after fainting at work on Sunday. Reuters

A UNION leader yesterday called on government ministers to investigate after hundreds of factory workers were sent to hospital after fainting at the Universal Apparel (Cambodia) Ltd building in Phnom Penh over the weekend.

Free Trade Union President Chea Mony yesterday sent a letter to Health Minister Mam Bunheng, Environment Minister Mok Mareth and Labour Minister Vong Sauth asking them to investigate the incident at Huy Chuen factory amid conflicting claims about the cause of the workers’ illness and the number of workers affected.

“The ministries have to take measures to protect and provide aid for the workers’ health,” the letter said.

Chea Mony said yesterday that the ministries must monitor the workers’ health and examine conditions in and around the factory in Dangkor district’s Choam Chao commune.

“We don’t know the exact reason why hundreds of workers fainted, but I think that they lost consciousness because they work too hard, even on a Sunday, and they don’t eat enough food,” said Chea Mony.

Union and factory officials claimed on Sunday that workers fainted because they saw other workers lose consciousness and because they suffered from poor health, while one worker claimed that she had fainted after inhaling glue fumes. Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said that the government should be working harder to investigate the case.

Mam Bunheng, Mok Mareth and Vong Sauth could not be reached for comment.

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