Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ocean workers pray for jobs

Ocean workers pray for jobs

Workers from Ocean Garment factory march through the streets on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last week
Workers from Ocean Garment factory march through the streets on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last week, demanding the company pay their full monthly wage during its temporary closure. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ocean workers pray for jobs

Protesting workers at Ocean Garment factory say they are worried the manufacturer, which has suspended operations for one month, will close altogether.

About 20 per cent of Ocean’s 1,300 workers demanding full payment during the break have found work elsewhere, while longtime employees are literally praying for a palatable solution, said Houn Vanna, a representative of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW).

“Most of the workers who abandoned the protest have worked at Ocean for only about three to four months, so it will not benefit them much to continue,” Vanna said.

While some have sought other job opportunities, many of the 1,214 still striking have worked at Ocean for more than a decade and are entitled to seniority bonuses if the factory closes for good, Vanna said.

Ocean workers began striking on May 24 after management announced it would shut down for a month from May 26 due to low orders and that employees would each receive $15 during the closure. Strikers demand that Ocean pay their full salaries during the period.

CUMW president Pav Sina said on Monday that if the factory and Ministry of Labour don’t find a solution agreeable to workers, they would hold a “big protest” in the form of a march to the ministry on Thursday. Last week, police blocked about 1,000 people attempting to march from the Por Sen Chey factory to the ministry.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached yesterday.

Reaction to the situation has ranged from frustrated employees breaking a thumb-scanner machine at the factory yesterday to pooling money to purchase chickens and fruit as prayer offerings.

“We prayed to the spirit of the factory to help us with our problem,” said Thy, a striker who declined to give her full name. “It is our tradition, but it does not mean that we’re going to stop asking government officials to intervene.”

An Ocean official who declined to be named yesterday would only say that the factory will remain closed until June 26.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo