Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh court calls worker over Veng Sreng strike

Phnom Penh court calls worker over Veng Sreng strike

Phnom Penh court calls worker over Veng Sreng strike

At least one worker and potentially over a dozen more from the Meng Da footwear factory have been summonsed for questioning in court over their roles in a strike on Veng Sreng Boulevard in early December over allegedly unpaid bonuses.

Some 500 workers are said to have demonstrated along the busy thoroughfare – drawing the attention of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who seemed to reference the strike in a speech five days later, criticising the workers for blocking the streets and labelling their actions “illegal”.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court called worker Bo Em in for questioning yesterday, with potential charges of incitement, destruction of property and obstructing traffic. According to Em, 15 other workers had received a summons, though inquiries to officials for confirmation went unanswered yesterday. He said many of the other workers had indicated they would not appear. The original complaint was filed by Li Cheng Te on December 13.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights Executive Director Chak Sopheap previously noted that traffic rules cannot be used to arbitrarily justify restricting the right to freedom of assembly, according to UN standards for the management of demonstrations.

“Too often in Cambodia, traffic flow is cited as a justification for prohibiting assemblies outright, which is rarely if ever acceptable under international human rights law,” Sopheap told The Post after Hun Sen’s speech calling the protest “illegal”.

Em admitted that he took part in the strike, which demanded the payment of a promised annual bonus of 5 percent of workers’ salaries. “But I did not incite or destroy the property of others. [As for] blocking the street, there were many people doing that,” he said.

Reached yesterday, a Meng Da factory representative said she would return a reporter’s call, before turning off her phone.

Ath Thorn, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, pointed to the controversial Trade Union Law, passed in 2016, effectively stripping workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

Under the law, he said, unions are forbidden from participating in protests, which means they cannot ensure they play out peacefully and legally.

“The authorities should help the workers, but instead they ignored them and let the company sue them,” he said, noting that under the law a union cannot provide a lawyer to defendants or help prepare court documents.

“How can they win the case? Even with the help from union, they rarely won the case.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Waterway job still pending for Kampot tourism port’s opening

    The search is still on for a contractor to expand and deepen the Kampot International Tourism Port’s waterway and deliver additional enhancements allowing safe access for larger vessels, nearly a year after the main construction work on the 4.25ha site was completed on June 30, 2022.