More than 400 workers from a Chinese-owned window factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town returned to work yesterday following two weeks of protests that saw strikers pelt their own factory with rocks.
Toun Saren, an official at the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said that the workers agreed to return after their case was sent to the Arbitration Council.
“We sent our case to the Arbitration Council on August 17 after negotiations failed, and the Arbitration Council will be hearing the case on Monday next week, so the workers agreed to return to work,” he said.
Saren warned, however, that if the council’s verdict did not result in better work conditions, protests would start again.
On Wednesday last week, protesters threw rocks into the factory following a week of fruitless talks. Other workers within the factory threw some rocks back, injuring two protestors.
Chhai Vireak Oudom, administrative manager for the Beautiful Windows factory, confirmed that all workers returned yesterday.
“They’re already back at work because the case was sent to the Arbitration Council,” he said. “The company announced that they were still welcome here.”
Vireak Oudom estimated damages caused by the rock throwing at about $50,000.
“The company lawyer has prepared documents to take legal action by filing a complaint against the violence,” he said.
Union officials present during the rock throwing distanced themselves from the violence, saying they unsuccessfully attempted to calm down the frustrated protesters.
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