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Labour Ministry’s factory math questioned by unions

Garment employees hold placards outside the Chung Fai garment factory during a protest in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district earlier this month. Photo supplied
Garment employees hold placards outside the Chung Fai garment factory during a protest in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district earlier this month. Photo supplied

Labour Ministry’s factory math questioned by unions

Labour Minister Ith Samheng yesterday alluded to concerns surrounding a recent rash of factory closings, which he said had led to many workers losing their jobs.

While factory statistics for 2016, released on his Facebook page, showed 20 new garment and footwear factories opening and only one closure, he admitted the ministry was looking into workers’ concerns over a recent spate of factories closing down.

“Some enterprises closed their factories and escaped in contravention of the law, which could affect the workers’ livelihoods,” he said in the post.

While the ministry figures reflected just one garment factory closure in the first seven months of the year, the Post has reported on at least four that have shuttered. Ministry spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached yesterday to clarify that discrepancy.

Free Trade Union deputy president Man Seng Hak said unions were surprised to see the minister’s post, given the multiple closures, which include Great Honour Textile Factory in Kandal province and the Juan Shi and Chung Fai Knitwear factories in the capital.

“We are wondering how the report had only one garment factory closure,” he said. “It is difficult for the workers when they lose their job, back pay and severance.”

Far Saly, president of National Trade Union Coalition (NTUC), yesterday put the number even higher, saying at least 10 factories had closed this year.

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