Some 420 garment workers from Long Victory International in Phnom Penh returned to work on Monday, ending two days of protests triggered by rumours that the factory was set to close.
The protests in Russey Keo district’s Tuol Sangke commune started on Saturday when workers saw trucks removing machinery, clothes and tables from the factory. The protests ended on Monday when workers received assurances that the factory will remain open.
Chan Sinoeun, a line manager at the factory since February 2017, said the sight of the trucks triggered the protests.
“On Saturday, we turned off the lights, we stopped working and demanded reasons as to why the trucks started transporting machines and clothes out of the factory."
“They need to give us faith that the factory is not closing, or that if it is closing they will provide us with compensation even though we are six-month contract workers,” she said.
Chan Thoeun, a 20-year-old worker at the factory, said rumours that it is closing down started a year ago, but workers had now received assurances from the management that it will remain open.
“We heard the rumour last year, but on Saturday, while we were working, we saw trucks collecting machinery and clothes to take out of the factory. That is why we started protesting."
“But now the owner has signed an agreement saying the factory has no plan to close. We were scared that we would lose our salary and other benefits if the owner closed it and ran away” she said.
Tuol Sangke commune chief Norng Sabong said workers returned to work after negotiations with a factory representative.
“Workers were scared that the factory was closing and they wouldn’t receive compensation and seniority payments. But in reality, the factory is just relocating their other machines and clothes to another branch,” he said.
Long Victory International could not be reached for comment.