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Overworked factory workers in mass fainting incident

Overworked factory workers in mass fainting incident

About 50 workers at the M&V manufacturing factory in Kampong Chhnang province fainted yesterday morning due to overwork and exhaustion in the factory’s third fainting incident this year, officials said yesterday.

Noun Sam Ol, Free Trade Union representative at M&V, said that the collapse of a final press section worker as she returned from the bathroom set off the fainting spree.

“They fainted because they had been working hard without rest,” Sam Ol said. “They work overtime and on their holidays they have to work in their rice fields.”

The factory sent the workers who had fainted to the provincial hospital and allowed all workers the rest of the day off without penalty, Sam Ol said.

For the next three weeks starting next Monday, the factory will test out a new schedule where employees will start work at 9 am rather than 7 or 7:30am, in order to give them more time to eat before work, she said.

Better Factories Cambodia technical adviser Jill Tucker praised M&V’s efforts to change its schedule and implement other changes over the past year but said the factory should provide workers with snacks as well as the time to eat them.

“It’s not only a timing issue,” she said.

According to Sorin Tiravuthy, director of the provincial hospital, where the workers who had fainted were sent, “Their health was not seriously compromised but tests showed very low blood sugar.”

Yin Nak, M&V’s administrative manager, denied that the factory’s environment had caused the fainting.

“They fainted after seeing a worker fall down when she left the bathroom,” he said.

But David Welsh, country director of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, disputed the idea that the faintings’ cause was merely psychological, noting that similar incidents in August of 2011 and 2010 suggest hot weather plays a role.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]
With assistance from Justine Drennan

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