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Gawon strike continues

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Workers from the First Gawon Apparel factory continue to strike. Heng Chivoan

Gawon strike continues

A Phnom Penh district authority supplied trucks for more than 100 workers from the First Gawon Apparel factory on Tuesday morning after they attempted to walk from the factory to the Ministry of Labour.

The workers were again seeking Ministry of Labour intervention in a pay dispute with the owner of the Meanchey district-based factory, who they claim owe salaries since December.

Dy Roth Khemarun, Meanchey district governor, said the authorities wouldn’t let workers walk on public roads because large groups of people in the streets would cause traffic jams and affect public order.

“While the authorities provided trucks for them, it is not going to provide them every time, but it helps to stop the workers jamming the streets,” he said.

This was the second time local authorities had arranged trucks for the workers to travel to the ministry offices.

Khem Makara, the union president of First Gawon Apparel, said: “At about 7am on Tuesday, the authorities rented two trucks to transport the workers, and the truck rental charge was paid by the authorities,” he said.

Makara added that immediately after arriving at the ministry, officials told them to choose 20 representatives to attend a meeting with the head of the dispute resolution commission.

He said: “The officials did not tell workers about the specific date in resolving this issue . . . He just said they will solve the matter very soon.”

Makara also said ministry officials told the workers they would contact the owner to confirm whether they wanted to keep the factory open. If they didn’t the ministry would prepare the procedure for closing the factory.

Workers will now have to wait until Friday to hear the response from the ministry and the committee, he added.