Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment workers protest over agreement reversal



Garment workers protest over agreement reversal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The workers claim that the owners agreed to terminate their employment contracts and give them their last month’s wage. Facebook

Garment workers protest over agreement reversal

More than 800 workers from the Crystal Martin 7NG factory in Vihear Suor commune, in Khsach Kandal district, Kandal province, protested on Wednesday and Thursday after the factory reneged on its deal to terminate their employment, and instead suspend them for two months.

The workers claimed that the factory owners agreed to terminate their employment contracts and give them their last month’s wages, remaining annual indemnity, seniority, notification pay, and compensation.

The workers said the management changed its stance and announced that the jobs would only be suspended, thus not allowing the workers to terminate their employment as agreed and depriving them of their lay-off benefits.

A worker who declined to give his name said: “The day before the protests, the factory invited us to a meeting and agreed on the lay-off payments and benefits.

“When the time came, it did not pay me but instead announced that my job was suspended. I did not agree to that, and I will not agree to that as the factory does not have work for me.

“I don’t understand why it didn’t keep to the agreement. I need the money that is owed to me so I can find other work.”

Mao Sam Aun, the president of a union at the factory, could not be reached for comment.

However, he told local media that the company had previously collected raw material from one building and moved it to another to show visiting Ministry of Labour representatives that it did not have enough to keep garment workers in its operation.

Therefore the workers in the building that did not have material could not work, Sam Aun alleged. He said talks then began with the workers offered one of two options.

“These two options were either to be suspended for two months or accept a contract termination.

“When the workers chose contract terminations, the company announced a suspension, that’s why the workers are protesting,” he claimed.

Kandal provincial labour department director Thol Neang told The Post on Thursday that his working group would continue to coordinate with factory workers and give them legal advice.

He said if the factory had imposed the suspension due to a shortage of raw materials, government policy would kick-in to assist the workers.

Neang urged them to accept the terms of the suspension and collect their 40 per cent subsidy from the factory and a further 20 per cent from the government.

He said the workers should accept the terms in light of the Covid-19 situation that Cambodia and the world are in.

“The letter submitted by the factory to the provincial Labour Department on February 27 requested a two-month suspension. The alleged talks concerning contract termination and benefits that went on between the factory and its workers do not constitute a legal agreement.

“The factory has asked for job suspensions. There is no law requiring the factory to terminate contracts and provide additional benefits.

“The law states that if the workers still demand termination, they can get only one to two benefits,” he said.

He said his working group is urging the factory to pay the 40 per cent subsidy to the workers as soon as possible and provide them with relevant training to qualify for the additional 20 per cent wages from the government.

This would see workers receive around $120 a month, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • PM dispels lockdown rumours, gifts masks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 12 denied rumours that he will lock down the country in response to increased Covid-19 fears, referring to them as propaganda aimed at destabilising the country. In a Facebook post, he said some people had spread rumours that the government

  • SilkAir adds flight to Phnom Penh schedule

    Silkair (Singapore) Pte Ltd is increasing its flight frequency between Phnom Penh and Singapore with a third weekly flight on Saturdays, according to Cambodia Airports’ Facebook page. The other flights offered are on Tuesdays and Sundays, with an estimated Phnom Penh arrival time at 5:35pm