Almost two weeks have passed since the death of a garment worker at the Taiwanese-owned Accasette Garment factory – a supplier of Dutch chain C&A – in Phnom Penh, but the National Social Security Fund has not offered her family compensation for her death, according to the victim’s husband.
The employee, Khat Samerl, 43, died on May 31 from what the Labour Ministry concluded was a case of cardiac arrest. News of her death allegedly caused more than 20 other workers to faint at the factory.
However, Samerl’s husband, Kong Logn, 47, said yesterday that neither authorities nor representatives from the company have informed him about why his wife, whom he claimed had no pre-existing illnesses, had passed away so suddenly. Logn, who heard about his late wife’s cause of death from other villagers who saw the news on television, added that the NSSF has not contacted him about the compensation.
According to the Labour Law, the NSSF is obliged to give a $1,000 payout as funeral allowance in the case of work injuries leading to death.
“I met with the NSSF when they came to the funeral. They asked me if my wife had any pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or any kind of diseases, and I confirmed that [she] did not have these sicknesses at all,” Logn said.
The victim’s father, Oum Phorn, said that the NSSF has not contacted him about the compensation either.
When contacted yesterday, the company’s human resources supervisor Chen Ying Shen said that a total of $1,200 had been given to the victim’s family for funeral expenses.
“The company gave $500, the office staff donated $361, and the workers donated around $400,” he said.He added that the factory will help the victim’s family fight for the NSSF’s $1,000 payout.
Despite this, Logn expressed anger toward the company, which he said was “looking down on the lives of garment workers and his wife”.
“I think that the factory feels that a worker’s life is so cheap. They did not provide treatment properly and did not take any responsibility,” he said.
“When the general manager came during the funeral, I asked them why they didn’t have any nurses and oxygen equipments to help my wife before she became unconscious. I got so angry when the manager responded that the Ministry of Labour’s regulations do not require them to send nurses to go with the workers when they get sick or have an accident.”
Chen, who said the factory “did the best they could at that time”, said that nurses at the factory’s clinic performed an “emergency rescue” on the victim.
Yin Chantha, 41, a relative and co-worker of the victim, however, said that the factory was “careless” in handling the issue. “The factory did not send a nurse to go together with us [to take the victim to a hospital],” she said, adding that she and three other staff who accompanied the victim did not have any medical expertise.
An NSSF spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday.