Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment workers turn against union president

Garment workers turn against union president

Garment workers turn against union president

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Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun (right) speaks outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh last month while accompanied by striking garment workers from the Tai Yang Enterprises company. Photograph: William Kelly/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun (right) speaks outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh last month while accompanied by striking garment workers from the Tai Yang Enterprises company. Photograph: William Kelly/Phnom Penh Post

Workers at Tai Yang and Camwell factories in Kandal province, where a strike has lasted five weeks, have thumb-printed their support for legal action against Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun, management claimed.

Wu Minghuor, manager of the two factories in Ang Snuol district, said workers were sick of the dispute over seniority bonuses and were taking a stand against Chhun, who has been heavily involved in strike action outside the factories and in Phnom Penh.

“We are organising documents related to Rong Chhun,” he said, adding that all but 20 employees had returned to work. “Workers have given their thumbprints to us because they see what [Chhun] did is not right.”

Chhun, however, said the factory, with the help of other unions he wouldn’t name, had forced employees to thumbprint the document.

“It is not right that the employers cooperated with others unions to do that . . . what they are doing is not good,” he said.

Chhun said he had received a copy of the letter, which said the workers claimed he had banned them from returning to work until the factory had stripped them of all their benefits.

“I did not threaten or stop the workers going back to work. I do not have that power,” he said.

According to CCU, a total of 4,000 workers at Tai Yang and the adjoining Camwell factory have been striking at different times since June 25, claiming Tai Yang changed its name to Tai Nan in 2010 in order to revoke workers’ seniority bonuses.

Minghuor has denied the name change many times and said yesterday he had not forced workers to thumbprint any document.

Chhun said “a lot” of workers were still refusing to return until they were promised their full bonuses.

The factory has accused CCU of staging the strike to win workers over from the Free Trade Union, which split from the CCU in June.

FTU general secretary Mann Seng Hak said he was not aware of the case, but was surprised workers were thumb-printing an anti-union document.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]

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