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Protest erupts after workers docked pay for election day

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Svay Rieng province workers assemble at a protest this week. Photo supplied

Protest erupts after workers docked pay for election day

About 1,400 factory workers in Kong Deang Reay commune took to the streets to protest against their employer for deducting two days of wages after they had gone on leave to cast their votes during the recent national elections.

The workers, from a light manufacturing factory located in Kong Deang Reay commune Svay Teab district Svay Rieng province, have been protesting since Tuesday after payslips showed their salaries were deducted.

The workers’ payslips are given in advance and on August 10 of each month they receive their wages.

Provincial Labour Department director Has Bunthy said workers from Sheng Yao Enterprise Co Ltd, started to protest after hearing the factory will deduct their salaries.

“The deduction has not taken place. The [Labour] ministry has instructed the factory to follow the law,” he said.

The striking workers said those hired on a contract basis were affected by the wage cut move, but those on regular employment will receive their wages as usual.

Workers’ representative Vin Heng, 25, said the primary reason for their protest was because they feared the factory’s management will deduct their wages for going on leave to vote on July 29.

“As an ordinary staff, my wages were not deducted but those who are on contracts had two days wages deducted. So when the contract staff decided to protest, we joined them as an act of solidarity,” he said.

A 22-year-old worker, who declined to be named, said she had been working in the factory for the last three months as a contract staff and fears losing her wages.

“I don’t know exactly how much of our wages will be deducted but from the pay slip, we learnt that there will be a deduction, that is why we are protesting.

“We will know the exact amount when we receive our wages on August 10th,” she said.

Besides, the wage cut, workers are also confronted with other labour issues which the department is trying to resolve, said Bunthy.

“Workers are demanding that the factory pay staff who go for their maternity check-up. They also want a six months contract instead of three months. The factory did not agree to those demands and we will discuss the matter with the management.

“The workers are also asking to be paid while they are protesting. I don’t know whether the company will agree to this. We are communicating with the workers and the factory owner to settle the issues,” said Bunthy.

The workers are also asking the management to relax the rules for applying for leave, especially when they have valid reasons, he added.

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