Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM calls for halt to ‘illegal’ protests

PM calls for halt to ‘illegal’ protests

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Garment workers striking at the W&D Factory this week. Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for labour unions to stop encouraging protests calling for ‘illegal’ demands from employers. pha lina

PM calls for halt to ‘illegal’ protests

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday called on labour unions to immediately stop organising demonstrations and strikes to “illegally” demand benefits from factory owners.

He said such actions could spin out of hand and force around two-thirds of the Kingdom’s factories, approximately 800 of the country’s 1,159 factories, to close down due to insufficient funds.

Hun Sen’s call came during a meeting attended by nearly 20,000 workers in Takeo province on Wednesday, in which he said unions were provoking workers to demand seniority indemnity be paid in a lump sum. An amendment is due to take effect this year stipulating indemnity payments are made every six months.

The prime minister said: “To deal with the issue, we have amended our Labour Law, which in the past [saw indemnity payments] kept for a long time before being provided ... [I] did not expect that there would be six factories – three in Phnom Penh, two in Takeo province and one in Kampong Speu province – [where workers] demanded the factories pay them in one lump sum . . . there are some groups coming to provoke a situation and demand a lump sum payment.

“I would like to call for unions who led the strikes and demonstrations with regard to this issue to immediately stop this activity, which could lead to an extreme situation.”

Hun Sen also questioned workers whether they would like to see factories shut down.

“If factories close down, the one who suffers the consequences is not the factory owner. The ones who first see consequences are the workers who used to have jobs and earn an income,” he said.

The prime minister said that in the past there were owners who closed down their factories, leaving the government to allocate $22 million to pay worker’s benefits.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said 1,200 W&D garment workers were recently

dismissed after they demanded the factory’s owner pay them their seniority indemnity before 2019, before the implementation of the new law.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour explained that garment and footwear sector employers had to pay seniority indemnity in instalments prior to this year. Now they have to pay 30 days basic wage annually – 15 days of which is paid in June and 15 in December.

Workers on short-term contracts will receive seniority indemnity at the expiration of their contract, Sour said.

“Implementation is not the same as those who are on a long-term employment contracts. Workers in the garment and footwear sector, please be careful and avoid being cheated and incited illegally by some crafty individuals.” he added.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union president Ath Thorn told The Post on Wednesday that the union had been raising the issue for a long time. He dismissed allegations that his union supported and incited workers to demand seniority indemnity.

“We were not involved with pushing the workers to demand this, because our members did not demand it. We see that this demand resulted from workers themselves,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,