Propitious (Cambodia) Garment Ltd, the largest factory in Takhmao town in Kandal province, announced an abrupt closure on Tuesday but did not inform its 3,000 workers in advance.
The company said the closure was announced because there were no orders.
Workers are now concerned about their livelihoods.
Sa Mady, one of the fired workers, told The Post on Wednesday that the factory management told workers about the closure while they were working. They were only told that no buyers had placed orders for garments and the factory was not able to suspend them from work.
“At that time, while they were working following lunch, the factory announced they should stop working and go home.
“The factory will prepare our final wages on April 30. I don’t know how the payment will be settled. Our workers find it difficult to accept this abrupt announcement and we were told to stop immediately,” she said.
Another worker Mak Phanun told The Post on Wednesday that many workers were very nervous. But they had not gathered to protest, pending receipt of their final wages. In case the workers are not compensated properly under the law, they will consider protesting, she said.
“The management didn’t speak about compensation. It only said that it will add money for us to our final wages. When being paid, I’m afraid of being paid less. But we don’t know what to do because we are just workers. We are under them. What they say, we follow. We just take what we are paid,” she said.
Phanun said the factory had previously employed as many as 8,000 workers. But a decline in orders and a lack of raw materials forced it to cut its workforce to 3,000.
Kuoch Davy, the factory’s head of administration declined to answer questions, saying briefly that the company was working to solve the issue.
Provincial Department of Labour and Vocational Training director Thon Neang also declined to comment on Wednesday, saying he was busy at a meeting.
But the ministry’s spokesperson Heng Sour told The Post that if the factory compensates workers improperly under the law, then they could bring the case to the ministry for a solution.
Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said for now, not only had this factory announced its closure, but many others were shutting their doors due to a lack of buyers.
He said the government should seek a way to stop the challenges from becoming a serious crisis. If many more workers have no jobs, then starvation will lead to an outbreak of protests.
“We should do whatever it takes to prevent more factories from being shut down. If possible, they should suspend work first and wait for conditions to improve. But should factories shut down, they should compensate workers properly under the law and not take advantage of them,” he said.