Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Strike lifted, overtime cut in Kandal

Strike lifted, overtime cut in Kandal

Strike lifted, overtime cut in Kandal

Workers secure $50 bonuses, but see large cuts in overtime

THOUSANDS of garment workers from the Yong Wa garment factory in Kandal province's Takhmao district have returned to work following a four-day strike demanding a US$50 end-of-year bonus, garment workers said Monday.  

Chamroeun Chan, 40, a Yong Wa garment worker who was beaten Thursday during a confrontation with police, said that workers did not want to go back to work, but that the factory owner had threatened to close the factory if workers did not call off the strike.

"After we held our strike in front of the factory, they agreed to pay us $50, but not all at once. On February 6, they will pay $30, and then in April they will pay $20 more," she said.

At least four garment workers were injured in clashes with provincial and district police during Thursday's strike.

Workers' representative Kouch Dara, a member of the Shikado Union, said that it took three days of negotiations with factory management before the workers' yearly bonus was reinstated.

They are the owners, so they can put pressure on us

in other ways.

But worker Sokhum Molina said that many workers did not wish to return to work because the factory owners had abolished overtime following the labour unrest.

"The factory owner will only allow us to work from 6:30am to 3pm, so we don't have enough money to support ourselves," she said.

"We need to save some money to send to our family in the home province [and] if we work overtime from 3pm to 6pm, we can get around $90 per month."

She said the factory owners had also deducted $5 from this month's salary for all workers involved in the strike. She vowed the workers would stop work again if the owner continued to withhold the money.

But Mean Srey Ly, 28, another worker at the factory, said that no matter how many strikes were held, the factory management always seemed to win.

"They are the owners, so they can put pressure on us in other ways. They agreed to pay our yearly bonus, but now they have stopped us working overtime," she said.

"I think if they keep doing this for another two months, our workers will stop working because we don't have enough money to live on. Going back home is better then working."

According to the Ministry of Commerce, garment exports dropped two percent in 2008 on figures from the previous year.

The global economic downtown is held responsible, representing the latest in a series of hits to what is one of Cambodia's largest industries.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to