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Monopia workers handed ultimatum

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Monopia factory garment workers stage a protest in front of Kampong Speu’s Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training office on Friday. Photo supplied

Monopia workers handed ultimatum

Two dismissed worker representatives called on workers of Monopia (Cambodia) to abide by the court order, stop protesting and return to work.

Six hundred Monopia employees launched a protest in front of their factory in Samrong Tong district, Kampong Speu province on November 14 after they heard two of their representatives were dismissed.Seven workers were also suspended.

The provincial court gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the workers, instructing them to return to work.

A dismissed worker representative, Oeun Channy, told The Post on Monday that after subsequent protests, hundreds of workers gathered in front of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training last week.

They appealed to the ministry for the factory to reinstate the seven workers and two worker representatives.

Channy said during the protests, the provincial court issued its second ruling, ordering all the workers to return to work within 48 hours. But as of Monday afternoon, many workers still refused to return to work, he said.

As the legal worker representative, Channy urged them to return to work so they would not go against the court order and disrupt any legal procedure.

Channy said: “I asked all workers to return to work first because the court issued an ultimatum.

“We will follow the procedures of the Arbitration Council, where we filed a complaint seeking a resolution. After the council makes a decision we would still have the right to protest,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour, General Secretariat of the Committee for Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, deputy secretary-general Tes Rokhaphal and Monopia administrative manager Sam Sochea could not be reached for comments on Tuesday.

But Sochea previously told The Post: “The factory will not reinstate the worker representatives as after one week of observation, the Labour Inspector of the provincial Department of Labour approved their dismissal due to serious misconduct.”

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said the dispute could get worse when the factory uses the judicial system to replace the dispute resolution mechanism and pressure the workers.

He said: “As a better solution, employers should not use the court system and the court should also look into factory owners using court orders to dismiss workers.

“They should not use it. We have a legal system as a basis so if all workers carry out their work in a transparent manner, we can use the Labour Law.”

Sina suggested that the ministry should order the factory to reinstate the worker representatives and suspended workers.

He added that the decision must have the power to require the factory owner to respect and avoid using the justice system.

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