Workers at a Phnom Penh garment factory yesterday said they will strike to protest the firing of five union members, while a management official defended the dismissals.
More than 2,000 employees at Por Sen Chey district’s Cambo Kotop Ltd will join the protest after the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) members were briefly held by security guards and then fired yesterday, CUMW president Pav Sina said.
“They are free now, but they were fired from the factory without the implementation of legal procedures,” Sina said. “Workers will hold a large demonstration tomorrow [today] to demand the five unionists are reinstated, and the company stops interfering with CUMW.”
Those fired yesterday include CUMW’s president, vice president and secretary-general at the factory.
But Cambo Kotop’s corporate social responsibility manager, who identified himself as Kwak, said the five former employees had interfered with production for the past two weeks and had been warned repeatedly.
The workers are represented by CUMW and the government-leaning Cambodian Union Federation. Complaining that management made it too difficult for employees to switch unions, the CUMW representatives entered other departments and pressured people to stop working, Kwak said.
Cambo Kotop had scheduled for a Ministry of Labour inspector to look into the CUMW representatives’ concerns, Kwak said, but unionists continued baiting management.
“We asked them to stop until we figure this out, but they kept making problems,” Kwak said.
But Sina said he believed the action was an effort to drive CUMW out of Cambo Kotop.
The firings come as the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) says several factories that fired its members have ignored Arbitration Council decisions for reinstatement.
Factories that dismissed at least four C.CAWDU workers have ignored the council’s decisions between August and December, according to union staffers. Arbitration Council staff could not confirm the decisions yesterday.