Company owners maintain that workers have not been laid off from their jobs as they are transferred to another factory.
Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON
Workers from the Tack Fat garment factory on strike last week outside the factory gates.
MORE than 2,000 workers from the Tack Fat Garment Factory who say they are being laid off from their current jobs and moved to another facility continued striking Tuesday for severance pay, as factory officials insisted the employees were not being transferred to a new work site.
"The workers have decided not to do as the factory has requested and want to force the factory owner to pay severance pay," said Nou Muyni, a Tack Fat worker representing the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions.
She said that by switching factories the company had effectively laid the workers off, and that they were entitled to severance pay if they had worked at the factory for more than eight years.
"According to the Labour Law, the factory owner should pay severance pay to the workers if they want to move workers to a factory with a different name," she said.
Song Sim, the deputy chief of the National Industrial Federation Trade Union of Cambodia, said that the strike started June 9 after Tack Fat attempted to transfer workers to the Super Tex Garment Factory without giving the workers additional compensation.
"We need the factory owner to pay a cost-of-living allowance, bonuses and severance pay if they want to move us to another factory," he said.
Men Sitha, the administrative manager at the Tack Fat garment factory, said, however, that the factory was not transferring the workers to another factory.
"We need to fix the roof of their building because we are concerned about our garments being destroyed by rain and the workers being electrocuted," she said.
"So we need to move the workers to another building in this factory ... not move them to work in another factory," Men Sitha added.
Men Sitha said Tack Fat, one of the sector's largest employers, was only trying to supply jobs to their workers in tough economic times.
The strike, however, was putting those jobs at risk, she said.
"During the temporary closure of the factory from April to June 1, the workers complained to us that they need the work to increase their income," Men Sitha said.
"But now the buyers have ordered about a million garments from our factory and the workers strike against us," she added.
"They will lose their jobs and benefits if they do not stop striking."