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Fear remains as factory reopens

Fear remains as factory reopens

More than 20 people fainted yesterday at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu province, where two workers were crushed to death in a ceiling collapse last Thursday.

Workers and union officials said an electrical short-circuit scared workers returning for the first time since the tragedy.

Hong Seng Lim, president of the Development Movement Union of Cambodia Labour at Wing Star, said 21 workers were taken to hospital, but their conditions weren’t serious.

“An electric short-circuit made a loud noise, scaring workers and causing them to run out of the factory.”

Wing Star, a supplier to Japanese brand Asics, allowed its 7,000 workers the rest of the day off, Seng Lim said.

Kim Dany, 15, and Rim Roeun, 22, were killed when an illegally built storage level collapsed. Fourteen others were injured.

Worker Yu Manith, 31, who was sent to hospital yesterday, said she had feared another ceiling collapse.

“I was shocked when I saw everyone run for the door,” she said. “I do not know whether I will go to work tomorrow.

Thorn Rim said her 18-year-old daughter, Thorn Ros, was trampled by panicked workers.

“I do not want to demand compensation from the factory yet, but I have to treat my daughter,” she said.

The uncle of Roeun, Rim Rorn, has said factory representatives have presented his family with a “take it or leave it” compensation offer.

Chea Sotharyrith, Wing Star Shoe factory administrative manager, could not be reached, but Ken Loo, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general, said money paid to Roeun’s and Dany’s families so far was not compensation.

“It is compassion payment. The factory will be in touch to discuss compensation,” he said, adding that it’s his understanding the amount would likely be in the neighbourhood of five figures. 

Additional reporting by Shane Worrell


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