Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union leader arrested at strike in Svay Rieng

Union leader arrested at strike in Svay Rieng

Union leader arrested at strike in Svay Rieng

A union leader was detained briefly by police in Svay Rieng province yesterday while peacefully monitoring a garment worker strike.

According to striking worker Pum Sokunthy, 25-year-old Tun Saren, the director of the Svay Rieng branch of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), was arrested at about 9:30am after hundreds of You Li International (Cambodia) employees blocked National Road 1 in front of the factory while negotiations were taking place inside.

“I and other CUMW representatives were negotiating with labour officers and the deputy town governor when people in the union said Tun Saren was picked up . . . [so] we put off the negotiations,” Sokunthy said.

He added that workers marched to the provincial police station, where Saren was being held, to demand his release, which was granted at around 1:30pm.

The strike, which had entered its fifth day yesterday, had nearly come to a close with only two of 10 points – including bonuses and the wages of seamstresses – left to be settled.

Following his release, Saren told the Post he had refused requests from the police to end the strike.

“They asked me to thumbprint [a document] and take responsibility for the road block and stop striking, but I did not,” he said. “I’m not afraid of any threat”.

CUMW president Pav Sina said Saren’s arrest was intended to “dispirit” protesters, adding that union representatives are regularly targeted. “We just use our roles to protect workers, but we are under threat of being arrested.”

Ou Sokhoeun, deputy director of the Labour Department in Svay Rieng, and representatives of You Li could not be reached yesterday to confirm if a final deal had been reached.

A separate factory in Phnom Penh’s Vattanac 2 Industrial Park was ordered yesterday to cease operations until an inspection into mass fainting had been completed, officials said.

Teb Bunthen, Kraing Ponro commune police chief, said eight workers from Newpex factory “fainted last week and . . . [were] still not well [yesterday] but came to work and fainted again.”

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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,