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Factories warned not to use excuses to suspend workers

Factories warned not to use excuses to suspend workers

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training will act against factories that attempt to lay off workers on the excuse of not having enough raw materials to run their operations.

The warning comes amid a request by the Crystal Martin factory which informed the ministry that it wanted to suspend 800 workers due to raw material shortages.

The factory, which employs more than 4,000 workers, is located in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district and was investigated by the ministry as part of its fact-finding to ascertain if the request was bona fide and could be approved.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour told The Post: “The objective of our investigation is also to prevent factory owners from taking advantage of the current situation to lay off workers. We want these factories to assume responsibility for their actions,” he said.

Kandal’s provincial Department of Labour director Thol Neang, who visited the factory, told The Post on Tuesday that Crystal Martin consisted of three buildings. The factory sought permission to temporarily halt operations at one of those buildings where 700 to 800 employees work.

He said the inspection confirmed that the reason behind the factory’s decision to suspend workers was a shortage of raw materials.

“So far, none of its workers have protested the decision. Now, we are educating them on what to do if they get suspended. This includes attending a skills training session if they want to receive an allowance from the government equal to 20 per cent of the minimum wage,” Neang said.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon said it is important to investigate such misconduct among factory owners. He said he expects the government to investigate all requests for employee layoffs in the coming months.

Sour said as many as 200 factories could apply for temporary suspensions of their operations this month due to shortages in the supply of raw materials. This would affect about 160,000 workers.

He said so far 10 factories have asked for a temporary suspension of part of their operations.

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