Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union leaders evade arrest, co-workers say

Union leaders evade arrest, co-workers say

Union leaders evade arrest, co-workers say

Two union leaders narrowly escaped arrest yesterday morning when employees on strike at a Phnom Penh garment factory forced their release from police and security guards, fellow union officials said.

Seang Sambath, president of the Worker Friendship Union Federation, said WFUF vice president Mao Vannak and secretary-general Yi Yet were detained at about 9am outside the Cambo Handsome factory in Por Sen Chey district, where more than 3,000 workers were on strike.

“Por Sen Chey district police officials and private security guards . . . arrested my two officials who went down there to intervene for workers who had been protesting for more than a week,” he said.

According to Sambath, striking workers grabbed the union officials from the clutches of police and private security personnel.

“They are free now and we sent a letter [to the factory] to set a date for negotiations to find a resolution, but the factory . . . did not accept our letter,” Sambath said, adding that workers will protest again today.

A Por Sen Chey district police official who asked not to be named said the allegations were unfounded.

“We went down there to protect them in case any violence happened. We did not arrest anyone.”

But Phong Leakhena, a WFUF officer, said that about 10 private security guards and two policemen had tried making arrests.

Workers’ demands include a $20 monthly travel stipend and for the director of the sewing section to be fired for using foul language when addressing workers, Leakhena said.

Representatives of Cambo Handsome could not be reached for comment.

Joel Preston, a consultant with the Community Legal Education Center, said Cambo Handsome had “a history of union discrimination”.

In 2011, a strike at the factory over sacked unionists descended into a violent clash with police.

According to Preston, the current ban on union registration means there is “no protection” for unionists.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four