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Unpaid workers ready to ‘burn down factory’

Unpaid workers ready to ‘burn down factory’

More than 150 garment workers at the Tien Tien factory in Kandal province have threatened to burn down their workplace after its Chinese owner disappeared without paying them almost a month ago.

Dip Sopheakdey, a 30-year-old worker, said yesterday that the owner escaped on August 6 for reasons that remain unclear, leaving about $30,000 in unpaid wages.

She said that authorities had not responded to petitions and marches from the workers, causing them to threaten to set the now-abandoned factory alight.

“We will burn the factory down if we don’t get our salaries,” she said.

“We do not have any more money to buy food and pay the rent.”

Thol Neang, director of the Kandal Labour Department, said that he and other officials would visit the factory today to check its stock before selling it to make up for lost salaries.

“I often help workers’ demands, but implementing the law takes a bit of time, so we need the workers to calm down,” he said.

“We know some workers threatened to burn the factory down, but that is illegal and they will face the law.”

Yang Phanny, president of the Democratic Independent Solidarity Union Federation, which represents workers in the factory, defended the threat yesterday, saying it put pressure on officials to take action.

“[The workers] really want to see the authorities help them.”

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