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Fainting factory goes on sick leave strike

Fainting factory goes on sick leave strike

A worker from the Hung Wah (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing factory recovers after a mass fainting episode in July.

More than 100 workers at a garment factory hit by a mass fainting incident in late July went on strike yesterday to demand the dismissal of a supervisor they accused of denying them the right to take sick leave.

The strike at Hung Wah (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing began at about 7:00am at the factory in the capital’s Dangkor district’s Chaom Chao commune, said Touch Sa, a factory president of the Free Trade Union. Protesters blocked access to the administration office, refusing to leave until management agreed to replace a Chinese supervisor of a sewing section, Touch Sa said.

Workers accused her of refusing to sign the forms required for them to take sick leave or time off to visit their families. “The supervisor also reduced salaries for workers who took sick leave, and told others who requested a few days off that the minimum permitted was three months,” Touch Sa said.

Sav Sophal, an administrative official, said the factory’s owner quickly resolved the dispute with the union representative and that the workers had returned to work.

He said the supervisor had been moved to a new station, adding that company and union would hold talks again early next month to ensure workers were satisfied.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Cambodia Legal Education Centre, said conflicts as a result of cultural differences between management and workers were commonplace. He added, however, that complaints about supervisors were not restricted to foreign ones, and that factory workers were in general looked down on by management.

In late July more than 100 workers at the factory fainted. The factory, which employs more than 2,000 workers, is a member of the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia program, which monitors all garment exporting factories to ensure that they adhere to Cambodian law and international standards.