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Push for pay on as factory owner flees

Workers protest in front of the Co-Seek garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district yesterday morning.
Workers protest in front of the Co-Seek garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district yesterday morning. Pha Lina

Push for pay on as factory owner flees

Close to 200 workers protested outside the Co-Seek garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district yesterday seeking their August salaries and severance payouts after the factory owner allegedly skipped town.

Workers outside the Tuol Sangke-based facility said some of the factory’s machinery was quietly removed in late August, leading to rumours of the factory’s imminent closure.

“Each worker is owed about $250 for August in salaries, including overtime” said factory employee El Sopheak.

After witnessing the equipment being hauled away in trucks, Sopheak said the factory’s 200 workers stopped working despite assurances from factory officials who said they should go back to work.

Factory administrator Loo Kokchhay said he had been unable to reach the owner since early September. However, the owner of the building had offered to pay the workers their base salaries of $140 and some overtime in order to rent out the site to someone else.

“The building owner wants to solve this because he wants to rent this building to another person. The longer this problem stays, he will lose money,” he said.

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