Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Steer clear of protests, unionist warned again

Steer clear of protests, unionist warned again

Steer clear of protests, unionist warned again

Ath Thorn, head of Cambodia’s largest independent labour union, was placed under court supervision yesterday, the second such prohibitive order for the union leader.

A judge told Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), that he cannot attend public demonstrations, and must report to police once per month, along with other requirements.

The court also ordered Pav Sina, head of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, and Chea Mony, who leads the Free Trade Union, to also stay away from demonstrations and check in under the same timeline.

“It is not fair, because we have not done what [the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC)] and the authorities have accused us of,” Thorn said, referring to the organisation behind the complaint, which was filed on behalf of some 170 factories affected by a nationwide garment worker strike from late December to early January of this year.

A total of six union leaders are charged with several crimes, including intentional violence in aggravating circumstances, connected to the strike, which led to the deaths of at least five people.

Charges against the union members are baseless, because they accuse them of committing acts at places they were not present, said Dave Welsh, country director of labour rights group Solidarity Center.

Courts are charging union leaders with these crimes now to give the government leverage during minimum wage negotiations and ahead of the decision on next year’s industry floor wage, which is expected by the end of October, Welsh said.

“I think the basis for the charges and the issue of supervision are farcical,” he added. “They’re purely political and it’s being done in the event that [the government decides on] a minimum wage that is not satisfactory to unions”.

Thorn was already under court supervision for a separate case in which he is a defendant, stemming from a strike at SL Garment Processing a few months before the nationwide protests last year.

In that case, he is accused of inciting violence that injured the plaintiff, an SL security guard. One bystander was killed by stray gunfire from security forces during the strike.

The C.CAWDU president already ignored the first court order on Wednesday, when he led a small march favouring a $177 minimum wage next year.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished