Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

Great Honor Textile Factory employees wait outside the Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday morning.
Great Honor Textile Factory employees wait outside the Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday morning. Kong Meta

As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

Worried their employer is going out of business, workers at a long-running Kandal garment factory have asked provincial authorities to ensure they receive their legal payouts, though the company maintains it is not shutting down.

Dozens of workers from Great Honor Textile Factory, which employs 1,014 people and has run for 17 years, visited Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday.

It is the fourth time employees have sought the governor’s help with the company, which ended a two-month paid shutdown in January and has since reduced shifts, amid a continuing dearth in orders.

“We went to work for a day [after the shutdown], and we got two days off. How can we get enough salary to make a living?” said 44-year-old line manager Thou Yuna, who has been with the company 15 years.

“We want to know whether the company will be able to provide us with tasks or not and we would still like to be paid our seniority bonuses.”

Noting the Chinese-owned factory had hit hard times, Provincial Governor Mao Phirun reassured the group, saying he would forward the case to the Ministry of Labour. “The factory will not fire the workers, or they will need to pay for their seniority bonuses,” Phearum said.

“If there is work for them; they will call workers to the factory,” he said.

Though acknowledging some machines had been moved into storage, Lim Vegh, Great Honor’s administrative chief, denied the factory would close, blaming low orders on seasonal shifts in demand.

He calculated the company would need to pay workers more than $2 million in entitlements if it shut down.

“If we do that . . . it would kill us, because at the moment, the company is not a good sale,” he said.

Joel Preston, from labour rights group Central, said the company, and a sister factory, had suffered a drop in orders after clothing giant H&M stopped sourcing from their parent firm China Key.

He said there had been three Arbitration Council rulings ordering the factory to pay at least $50,000 in withheld suspension pay to workers.

“It seems like there is a lot owed to workers. It would not surprise me if they close to avoid liability,” Preston said.

Ek Sopheakdey, secretary of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said workers were nervous.

“The workers see people measuring the land; they’re worried the company will be sold,” he said.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • UN ‘overstepping mandate’

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN (CPM) denounced statements put out by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), accusing the entity on Monday of violating its own mandate. The statement, made on May 11 by the spokesman of OHCHR, expressed disappointment

  • Endangered animals found dead in Pailin

    An endangered gaur was one of “many” wild animals found dead in “dozens” of illegal traps in Pailin province’s Phnom Khieu Wildlife Sanctuary, said Chit Thy, a military officer working with rangers to protect the conservation area, on Wednesday. Thy, an officer in the 507