Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Scores of factories ‘set to sue’ over strike

Scores of factories ‘set to sue’ over strike

A stream of garment workers leaves a factory after finishing a shift yesterday in Phnom Penh
A stream of garment workers leaves a factory after finishing a shift yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Scores of factories ‘set to sue’ over strike

The owners of 170 factories have handed power of attorney to the nation’s factories association ahead of a potential lawsuit directed at the leaders of six union groups.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Ken Loo said yesterday that the factories would seek damages related to the late-December to early-January strike, which ended with a government crackdown that left at least four protesters dead by police bullets.

“It’s based on damage to property and incitement, in a nutshell,” Loo said.

An unofficial translation by the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) of what it claims is a January 5 complaint filed by GMAC to Phnom Penh Municipal Court names liable parties as the leaders of C.CAWDU, the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, the Free Trade Union, the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions.

Loo confirmed those named in the complaint but could not confirm the authenticity of C.CAWDU’s document, saying he had not seen the unofficial translation. He declined to name specific companies that gave GMAC power of attorney or how much GMAC plans to seek in damages.

Leaders of all six union groups encouraged garment workers to strike after the Ministry of Labour set the industry’s 2014 minimum monthly wage at $100, rather than the $160 unions demanded.

“[GMAC] tries to use its power to try and find a way to destroy trade unions,” said C.CAWDU president Ath Thorn, who has forwarded the complaint to international labour unions and rights groups.

While indications of an impending lawsuit have existed since last month, legal action has not yet been taken, said Dave Welsh, country director of labour rights group Solidarity Center.

Complaints in court may just serve as a latent threat, he said. But actually suing could have adverse results for the industry.

“It will attract incredible backlash in the international community.”

But the threat of a lawsuit will not intimidate the unions, CUMW president Pav Sina said. “We are not wrong and we are not scared.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MOM KUNTHEAR

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.