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Garment worker dies after fainting at factory

Villagers gather for the funeral of garment worker Meas Sreyleak, 25, who died after fainting at work last week in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Villagers gather for the funeral of garment worker Meas Sreyleak, 25, who died after fainting at work last week in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Garment worker dies after fainting at factory

A garment worker fainted and died on a Phnom Penh factory floor late last week – the third such death in Cambodia’s garment industry in as many months.

Meas Sreyleak, 25, was employed at the Korean-owned Yakjin factory, which supplies brands such as Gap, Old Navy and Walmart, none of which responded to requests for comment by deadline yesterday.

The company, meanwhile, insisted yesterday that it bore no responsibility in Sreyleak’s death, declaring it was not a result of her working overtime.

Sreyleak fainted on Thursday, hitting her neck on a table of sewing machines, according to Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union President Choen Sothy.

“The factory paid $1,000 to the family, and they also promised to pay for the funeral,” Sothy said.

Sothy said Sreyleak had a sore throat during the day and did not eat lunch, while another worker and union activist at Yakjin, Chhim Thoeun, said she worked two hours overtime on the day she died.

She was sent to a nearby clinic but passed away en route, Thoeun said. He added that Sreyleak travelled from her Kampong Speu home in a truck loaded with fellow garment workers to reach the factory each day.

A Yakjin “special work inspection”, finalised on Monday but obtained by The Post yesterday, said that “based on interviews [with] shop stewards and unions representatives . . . (Ms Meas Sreyleak) [did] not die by working on overtime that [is] limited by law”.

Sreyleak’s death comes after that of Khat Samerl, 43, who died of cardiac arrest on May 31, and of Neom Somol on July 6, who died after fainting while she was helping another fainted worker at a medical clinic.

H&M, which is supplied by the Anful Garment factory where Somol was employed, said they were monitoring her case.

“We are deeply saddened over what has happened, and our thoughts go to the affected family,” they said in an email.

Cheav Bun Rith, spokesman for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which is tasked with distributing government compensation, declined to answer questions yesterday.

NSSF statistics showed a 39 percent increase in mass fainting in the past six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

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