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

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained