Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pregnancy terminated in bid to regain old job

Pregnancy terminated in bid to regain old job

Pregnancy terminated in bid to regain old job

A woman fired from the Conpress Holding garment factory last week said she terminated her pregnancy of three months on Sunday in a desperate bid to gain reinstatement for herself and three other workers fired last week for unionising.

Huk Pov, Free Trade Union president for the Phnom Penh Meanchey district factory, said factory officials would typically fire workers if they found out they were pregnant so she had an abortion before leading yesterday’s strike to demand reinstatement.

“I decided to abort my baby without letting my husband know, because the company discriminates against workers having babies,” she said.

“I will be very disappointed if the company still refuses to accept me back to work, even though I aborted my baby because of work.”

Pov said she would not, however, give up her role as a union leader, even if it meant the factory would not allow her to return to her job.

Thun Bunny, administrative manager at Conpress Holding, denied that the factory fired workers because they were pregnant.

But Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), said the CLEC had received several reports of factories asking pregnant garment workers to resign.

Such demands often led workers to seek abortions, causing tensions between women who want to work and their husbands, who want them to remain pregnant, Tola said, adding that at least one dispute of this kind had led to the wife’s suicide.

A report from the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia program found that 19 per cent of the 136 Cambodian factories monitored from November, 2011 to April, 2012 engaged in discrimination among their workers and particularly targeted pregnant women.

Women face “dismissal or non-renewal of contracts when they become visibly pregnant”, the report states.

Tola and Dave Welsh, country director for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, said short-term “fixed duration contracts” of a few months left such workers especially vulnerable to losing their jobs. They recommended that factories provide workers with more secure contracts.

Cambodia’s labour law says factories must offer maternity leave with 50 per cent pay, but short-term contracts help factories get around this because the law applies only to workers employed for at least a year, Tola said.

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


  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release