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Svay Rieng protesters go back to work after employer assurances

Svay Rieng protesters go back to work after employer assurances

All 1,400 workers from Sheng Yao Enterprise Co Ltd, who staged a protest in Svay Rieng province returned to work on Friday after the employer assured them that their wages will not be deducted for taking leave to vote in the recently concluded national elections.

Workers, from the Taiwanese manufacturing factory, had protested since Tuesday against the management for threatening to deduct two days wages from about 500 contract staff. In a sign of solidarity, the entire workforce staged a protest outside the factory for several days.

The workers had also demanded that the owner improve their welfare, especially those of female employees.

After several rounds of negotiations between the company, workers’ representative and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the parties reached an amicable solution.

Cambodian Workers’ Rights Federation deputy president Buth Mara said the workers returned to duty on Friday.

“Now the factory owner has agreed with our requests. The workers had protested for two-and-a-half days, but the factory agreed to deduct only one day of their wages and all contract staff that went to vote on July 29, will not have their wages deducted for the two days they were on leave.

“They will also not deduct the wages of pregnant workers when they go for their maternity checkup,” he said.

‘Agreed to our demands’

The provincial Labour Department director Has Bunthy said the factory’s management acknowledged their mistakes and agreed with the workers’ demands.

“Since the factory owner does not understand Cambodian law, we had to explain it to them. We are asking the workers and factory owner to abide by the law. Even workers simply cannot demand whatever they want,” he said.

A factory worker, who declined to be named, said: “My wages were not deducted for the two days when I went to vote. I received it on Friday and we returned to work the same day.

“The employer agreed with our demands. I am happy to return to work and am not worried that we will face problems at work again,” he said.