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Garment workers petition EU for intervention over legal compensation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Over 250 garment workers gather in front of the EU offices to request intervention on legal compensation from the shuttered factory. Hean Rangsey

Garment workers petition EU for intervention over legal compensation

More than 250 garment workers from Violet Apparel (Cambodia) Co Ltd who claim to represent 1,284 others gathered on Monday in front of the EU offices to request intervention on legal compensation from the shuttered factory.

In their petition submitted to the EU, the workers said operations at Violet Apparel in O’Bek Ka’am commune, in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, were suspended in May and June. The factory was completely shut down on July 1 without workers being paid as required by the labour law.

“We hope the EU in Cambodia can help find justice for the factory workers by asking the company to pay us. We also request the company to pay pregnant workers 50 per cent for three months of maternity leave,” said the petition.

The protesters said they want the EU to ask the company to also pay for five days of the recent rescheduled New Year holiday and ask the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to refer the dispute to the Arbitration Council.

EU press officer Pok Poun could not be reached for comment.

One of the protesters, Ong Chanthoeun, told The Post that the EU had promised to look into the workers’ requests and submit the matter to European buyers to resolve such disputes.

“We are still willing to seek intervention from other relevant institutions. We hope we will get justice and want the factory to respect the law and provide workers with what they are due,” Chanthoeun said.

Violet administration head Bou Samnang said sending a petition to the EU will not have any impact because the factory had addressed the problem according to the law.

He said the company provided three benefits in response to the factory closure. This solution was supported by the labour ministry and many factory workers accepted the solution, he said.

“What they are demanding is something different while we followed the law. I do not understand why they are going to the EU.

“The conditions we provided were a final paycheck, annual salary and a seniority allowance. So far, more than 900 workers have accepted our offer and others will continue to do so,” he said.

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