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Offer rejected, strike continues in K Cham

Thousands of garment factory workers protest outside the Juhui Footwear factory in Kampong Cham province
Thousands of garment factory workers protest outside the Juhui Footwear factory in Kampong Cham province. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Offer rejected, strike continues in K Cham

Thousands of striking workers rejected an offer from a Kampong Cham-based footwear company that met most but not all of their demands on Saturday and vowed continued disruptions.

More than 4,000 workers from Chinese-owned Juhui Footwear Co, Ltd who walked out on Friday were unimpressed by the firm’s offer to meet 15 of their 18 point demands, Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) vice-president Kong Athit said yesterday.

“I think [Juhui has] lower-quality working conditions than the others [factories] in the city,” Athit said yesterday.

Though Juhui agreed on key points, including paying sick leave and overtime transportation costs and introducing onsite doctors, the firm stood firm against a $3 top-up to their monthly transportation payments and a $5 monthly healthcare allowance.

During negotiations on Saturday Juhui officials also shot down a demand that the firm calculate absence deductions proportionally rather than stripping the worker of their entire attendance bonus for the month regardless of how much time they actually missed.

Meng Lik, an administrative manager at Juhui declined to comment.

But Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo condemned the demonstrators for their inflexibility.

“We have never supported workers that strike to strike and demand such payments,” Loo said.

Athit said most of the workers had joined C.CAWDU in June, and since that time, numerous reports of abuses at the factory, including physical attacks by supervisors, had been reported to the union.

He said workers had decided to continue their strike for at least another week, at which point they would reassess their bargaining position.

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