Around 2,000 workers at the A&J (Cambodia) bicycle factory in Svay Rieng yesterday protested for the second consecutive day after its owners proposed scrapping their $100 annual bonus for not striking, after having already refused to pay it all in some cases.
Workers at the factory in Bavet had been receiving $25 per quarter if they did not join protests or strikes, but the factory wanted end the practice, said worker Neang Sareung, sparking the recent strike and protests despite some attempts to find a resolution.
“They gave us $25 every three months if we did not protest. However, now even if we are absent from work, they will cut this money,” Sareung said.
Ou Sokkhoeun, deputy director for the provincial Labour Department, said the protesters had swelled from 100 workers on Monday to around 2,000 yesterday.
He said the department informed the factory that the $25 benefit appeared to infringe on workers’ right to assembly and asked that it be changed, telling the owners that any incentives should relate to working hard, not taking leave or following the labour law.
“Actually they still have the right to protest when they are not happy with anything, but they should go through their representatives,” Sokkhoeun said.
A factory official, who declined to give his name, claimed meetings were ongoing to find a solution, but said he was only a driver and translator when pressed for details.