Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union, firm fail to stitch agreement

Union, firm fail to stitch agreement

Union, firm fail to stitch agreement

More than 4,000 workers from M&V International Manufacturing’s factory in Kampong Chhnang province were set to continue striking outside the factory today, after negotiations between management and Free Trade Union representatives broke down again on Saturday.

Pov Sitha, director of Kampong Chhnang province’s Department of Labour and Vocational Training, said yesterday that the Free Trade Union declined to settle with the factory because it refused to reinstate 20 workers who had been allegedly fired in September for attempting to form a union.

Negotiations between management and union representatives initially broke down last Thursday. Workers began striking that afternoon in protest and continued through to Saturday.

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony said yesterday that the firing of the 20 workers in question was illegal because they had been employed for more than two years and as such, they were entitled to a fixed contract that could not be terminated.

“The company abused the law by ending the workers’ contracts just because they formed a union and pushed for rights,” he said.

M&V administration officer Im Mun said he did not know anything about the strike and referred questions to the factory owner, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The company abused the law by ending the workers’ contracts just because they formed a union and pushed for rights

Pov Sitha said that the workers’ strike was illegal because the Arbitration Council had not yet delivered its ruling.
“I sent a report to the Arbitration Council to resolve the dispute, but no order has been issued yet,” he said.

M&V factory, which supplies knitwear for popular global retailer H&M, has been embroiled in controversy over the past few months. In addition to last month’s disputed firings, there were two mass fainting incidents at the factory in August, spurring investigations by the labour ministry, the International Labour Organisation and H&M.  

A spokesman for H&M said last week that the findings from its investigation were being finalised. He also said the company was in contact with both M&V and the FTU.

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said that “only the court has the authority to declare on the legality of a strike”.

When questioned about the spate of issues occurring at the GMAC facility, Ken Loo said that GMAC was a monitoring agency, which does not necessarily “guarantee that things will be 100 per cent problem-free”.

“An auditing function does not help prevent problems, it just helps identify them,” he said.

“We advise our members the right way of doing things in accordance with the laws and regulations, but it’s up to factory management to take our advice and act on our recommendations.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,