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PPSEZ workers protest seeking unpaid wages

People walk past the entrance to the PPSEZ in 2013.
People walk past the entrance to the PPSEZ in 2013. Heng Chivoan

PPSEZ workers protest seeking unpaid wages

Negotiations over salaries and severance pay are underway at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, after workers from a Turkish-owned garment factory that ceased production earlier this month staged protests there last week.

Weibo Group’s Cambodian branch employed around 1,000 workers in a PPSEZ factory before stopping all operations earlier in January.

Former Weibo workers blocked the zone’s entrance last Tuesday and Wednesday after they were told they would receive only 50 per cent of their final salaries.

In a statement, PPSEZ said Weibo had responded by proposing severance payments to the workers in two installments, adding that the situation was “peaceful”.

Stephen Evans, owner representative for PPSEZ, said in the statement that it appeared that “only a few” of the “between 30 to 80” protesting workers actually worked for Weibo. Evans and PPSEZ declined to provide further details yesterday.

A manager at Weibo, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the factory was simply “unable” to pay its workers’ full salaries by the time it ceased production, proposing to pay half-wages instead.

“Of course, they [the workers] were unhappy.”

He said, however, that workers would eventually get their due. “We are trying to sell the factory or the machines, everything . . . and then we are going to pay everyone.”

PPSEZ has over 18,000 workers at more than 77 firms.

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