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Strike goes on despite the threat of dismissal

Strike goes on despite the threat of dismissal

ABOUT 3,000 garment workers continued to strike outside a factory in Sen Sok district owned by PCCS Garments Ltd yesterday, defying a factory order to return to work or face dismissal.

The workers went on strike last week following the dismissal of union representative Morn Channa, who was fired after complaining that she was refused leave.

On Tuesday, around 50 riot police tried to force the protesting employees back to work, and several workers were pushed to the ground and stunned with electric batons.

Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth on Wednesday defended the heavy-handed tactics, saying the protesters were blocking Russian Federation Boulevard and “disrupting public order”.

Yesterday, workers said they would continue their strike until Morn Channa is reinstated.

“If the factory still refuses to take her back, we will all continue to strike,” said worker Uk Sophorn. “None of the workers are afraid of losing their jobs.”

Heng Srey, another PCCS employee, that the workers would continue to strike even if the factory was forced to close.

“The demand is not too big. We want the factory to allow our representative to get back to work as normal,” she said.

PCCS representative You Meng Try said Wednesday that if workers did not return to work by yesterday, their salaries would be docked and they would face dismissal.

“The stance of the factory is the same, not to allow their representatives back for employment,” he said.

But yesterday he backed down on the threat, and said that the factory was considering alternate methods of encouraging employees to return to work.

“We will try to reconcile and avoid firing them,” he said.

“We have already sent the case to the Arbitration Council to seek its assistance in solving the case.”

Chrun Theravong, an official at the Arbitration Council Secretariat, said that the council yesterday called both parties in for a meeting, and that a solution “was still being discussed”.

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