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Timber firm’s workers back

Timber firm’s workers back

Employee at timber company Angkor Flywood in Kampong Cham province will return to work today after their bosses agreed yesterday to all but one of their demands: an increase in wages.

Sok Kin, vice president of the Building and Word Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC), said yesterday that more than 300 workers had protested since Wednesday to demand nine points from their employer, including the assurance that pregnant workers be allowed to leave work 10 minutes early, and that workers be allowed to take two days’ paid leave if their family members are seriously ill or die.

“The workers will go back to work, but we will negotiate again on increasing wages,” he said, adding further discussions will take place at the Kampong Siem district factory on September 29.

“The workers need 1,000 riel [$0.25] more per day for their wage, which is at the moment 8,500 riel per day.”

A representative of the workers, Chhay Oai, who will meet with employers to further discuss wage demands, said yesterday that the workers had gone on strike because they were tired of the factory abusing their rights. This included being forced to regularly work unreasonably long hours.

“We cannot leave without working overtime,” he said. Our working hours are supposed to be from 7am to 4pm, but workers have to work until 7pm. A rare exception is when workers are seriously ill.”

Chhay Oai said the factory had increased the wages of new workers, meaning they receive an extra 500 riel per day once they have been at the company for three months.

“We want the employer to increase the wages of all workers by the same amount. We will know the result on September 29,” he said.

Chhiv Keng, administrative manager at Angkor Flywood, could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]

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