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Owner gone, factory workers fight on for wages

Garment workers from Co-Seek factory protest outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday morning, demanding their unpaid wages.
Garment workers from Co-Seek factory protest outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday morning, demanding their unpaid wages. Hong Menea

Owner gone, factory workers fight on for wages

More than 50 workers from Phnom Penh’s Co-Seek garment factory protested outside the municipal court yesterday demanding overdue back wages after the establishment’s owner disappeared in August.

The workers said about half of the 200 workers had been paid a portion of their wages by the factory’s landlord, who hoped to end the stalemate and find a new tenant. But about 95 workers have received nothing, they added.

Khuon Nary, a worker at the factory, said she had received only $140, one month at the national minimum wage, and received no severance or overtime.

“The building owner wants to give us $140, but we want wages owed to us – around $250 to $300,” she said.

Workers want the court, which had already frozen the factory’s assets, to issue another order to auction off its machinery, said Lor Sopheak, deputy president of the Cambodian Youth Power Union League.

Factory administrator Lok Kokchhay said that there was still no trace of the factory owner and confirmed that the landlord was paying workers.

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