Seven members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) say company-hired thugs beat them after a protest Thursday evening outside E Garment factory in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, making it the second time this month that demonstrations at the factory have turned ugly.
The union filed a complaint to commune police authorities on Friday, and the injured union members were treated and released from hospital that day and over the weekend. Police are still searching for the suspects.
Kong Athit, vice president of C.CAWDU, said yesterday that there were about 20 people involved in the attack on the seven union members, who were set upon as they left the protest for the day.
“They used sticks, pipes and stones to hit my members on the way back home on Thursday evening. We know those gangs; they are associated with the company, and the company administrative officials ordered them to do that to my union members,” he said.
Workers at E Garment factory, which supplies H&M, have protested since early this month in support of reinstating 41 workers who were part of a larger group sacked in 2007 during a unionising bid.
The factory reinstated some of the workers, but sacked eight of them again in 2010.
Athit said the workers who still have their jobs eventually returned to the factory after about a week of rallying in solidarity, but roughly 40 union members remained to demonstrate.
Earlier this month, some of those returned workers who were protesting at the time claimed they were injured in a clash with police, who denied the allegations.
Athit said the union members will continue protesting until the employer accepts them back. E Garment administrative manager So Sok An declined to comment in detail yesterday.
“It is just an accusation, and I keep it for the police to investigate,” he said.
A Svay Ralum commune police official who declined to be named said yesterday that the police are looking for the attackers.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]