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More than 200 garment workers petition ministry

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A protest by more than 100 Prestige Garment Co factory workers in Kandal province enters its second day on Tuesday. Hong Menea

More than 200 garment workers petition ministry

More than 200 workers from Prestige Garment Co Ltd in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district have petitioned the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training for an intervention after the factory owner refused to reinstate their sacked representative who stands accused of intending to form a trade union.

Representative of the workers Huon Sovith told The Post on Sunday that the protesters will file another petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen should the ministry ignore their demand.

“We want the ministry to push the factory to negotiate with us. The workers want the factory to reinstate me. We want the factory to respect the ministry’s policy, like giving us seniority wage, not forcing workers to start working before a legitimate hour and not being too strict with leave taking."

“Now workers continue to protest.If the ministry can’t find a solution for us, we will seek Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention because the factory has turned a blind eye,” he said.

Thul Neang, provincial Department of Labour and Vocational Training director, said the factory in Tbeng commune did not cooperate with who made a field visit there on Friday and Saturday.

“They said their management team is now abroad and there’s no one available to find a solution. On Monday our officials will go there again for a negotiation. We tried on Friday and Saturday but they didn’t even let us in [the factory]."

“If the company still does not cooperate, we will take legal action. This time we’ll try to talk first. Generally we push them to negotiate,” he added.

‘Workers need to have unions’

Neang said the factory, which currently employs around 400 workers, has yet to register with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, though it has registered with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.

Mean Channy, 27, who has worked at the factory since June, said the workers’ demands are legitimate and they plan to protest outside the prime minister’s residence if their petition goes unanswered.

“The workers just want the factory to register to become a member of the National Social Security fund and to reinstate our representative."

“Prime Minster Hun Sen will support us because he has said workers need to have unions to serve workers’ interests,” she said.

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