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Strike may be shifted to post-holiday date

Strike may be shifted to post-holiday date

A stay-at-home garment strike scheduled for tomorrow is in doubt after a number of workers and unionists urged that it be postponed until after the Khmer New Year, a union leader said yesterday.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said some workers feared the strike would leave them without money for the holiday period.

Leaders of the 18 union groups involved in the strike will meet today to decide whether to proceed, he added.

“We want to continue planning this strike, but we have received the suggestion from our members and workers to suspend it until after the Khmer New Year next month,” he said.

For weeks, the unions have been threatening that a stay-at-home strike will begin tomorrow and run until at least March 19.

The unions and workers behind it want a $160 minimum monthly garment wage and the release of 21 workers and unionists arrested at the height of a strike in early January.

The unions’ efforts to hold a forum in Freedom Park last Saturday – International Women’s Day – were thwarted by authorities who blockaded the area.

“If we do go ahead with the strike, we will announce to all workers to stay home to avoid any problems with police or military police,” Sina said.

But Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said the strike would go ahead, even if he was the only union leader involved.

“I will not abandon my plans for a strike this Wednesday, even if other union leaders decide to postpone it until next month,” he said.

Ear Lim, 25, a garment worker at the Canadia Industrial Park – near where security forces shot dead at least four people on January 3 – is one worker who shares these sentiments.

“I am really scared, but we need a higher wage and more benefits. I will join the strike,” she said.

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