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Suspended workers get lifeline

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Factory workers leaving for lunch at Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district. Heng Chivoan

Suspended workers get lifeline

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has announced the provision of financial assistance to 6,303 workers suspended from 34 factories and enterprises in the garment sector. The suspensions were due to global economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry said the Wing Specialised Bank would handle the payments and SMS messages – alerting them that the money is available for pickup – will be sent to the mobile phone of each worker.

“If you were suspended from one of the 34 factories or enterprises covered and you don’t receive the messages from Wing Bank, please contact the administrators at your factory for more information or to update your phone number with them,” the ministry notice said.

Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour said as of March, the government had provided jobless workers in the sectors of garment and tourism with $26 million in cash assistance. Each worker had received monthly support payments of $70, with $40 coming from the government and another $30 provided by employers.

Sour said that in 2020 there were 389,200 workers from 76 factories and enterprises who were suspended from work for periods of varying duration.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said the cash assistance had helped workers with their day-to-day living expenses but was not sufficient to resolve their more pressing problems such as debt or to enable them to send money to their families.

“The government should create a reserve fund or an unemployment insurance programme like other countries have that would help those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, but also those who lose their jobs in more ordinary circumstances.

“If the government has the funds, it should release them to help workers,” he said.

Thorn also requested the government provide full pay to workers in quarantine because a lot of them had their salaries cut or halved because it had delayed them from returning to work.

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