Following further unsuccessful negotiations with company management, garment workers and union representatives said yesterday that they intend to hold a 6,000-person demonstration in front of the Ministry of Social Affairs and City Hall in Phnom Penh.
Demonstrations supporting employees at the two SL Garment factories in the capital’s Meanchey district will be held either today or tomorrow, said Lach Sythorn, an SL worker and member of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU).
“[Workers] plan to rally and ask for intervention from City Hall, and continue to call for the Ministry of Social Affairs to push SL officials to negotiate,” Sythorn said.
Friday marked the second fruitless negotiation session the ministry has held between workers and management. Company officials did not seem to take any of the employees’ demands into serious consideration on Friday, sending only a translator with no authority to make a deal, Sythorn said.
Included in the nine demands workers have made is a $150 minimum monthly wage – double the national minimum garment wage. They also call for SL to cut all ties with shareholder Meas Sotha, who hired military police to stand guard inside the factory.
Sotha has denied any ill intent, insisting the military police were meant to protect not intimidate workers. Vong Sovann, from the Ministry of Social Affairs, said the workers are demanding too much.
“We don’t want them to rally because it causes traffic jams,” he said.