NEARLY 400 strikers agreed to end their three-week occupation of the Chak Krei Ting
cement plant in Kampot province after succesful negotiations with management.
Naga Cement agreed Apr 9 not to fire 11 workers and suspend others, and the strikers
agreed to return to work.
"The workers and the owners were very happy ... both sides have reached a mutual
understanding," said Meas Leng, the Ministry of Industry representative who
had attended a special meeting.
A committee was set up with representatives of the Ministries of Industry and Labor
to solve the problem with workers' representatives during the strike.
Parties agreed to the following: canceling dismissals and suspensions, obliging workers
to return, establishing official factory rules and guaranteeing peaceful settlements
in the future.
"The factory owner has agreed not to dismiss workers any more and employees
said they will resume work," said Industry Ministry representative Kim Touch.
The workers occupied the factory Mar 19, complaining that 11 workers had been dismissed
and 55 other were suspended. They alleged the factory's security chief had unfairly
accused them of taking bribes from cement vendors picking up loads.
One day before the agreement, Naga Cement produced a press release stating: the strike
was illegal under Cambodian law, strikers illegally occupied the plant and denied
management access, no workers had been dismissed, no complaints had been filed regarding
salaries and that there was no oppression at the plant.
Meas Leng conceded that the strike may have been illegal, but stated that holding
a strike is the right of workers when they have problems with the owner of a factory
or with the government.
"The strike can be legal or illegal...but those are the rights of the workers,"