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Workers protest ‘intimidation’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers gather on Saturday outside the Royal Fashion International garment factory in the Canadia industrial park in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Workers protest ‘intimidation’

Over 1,000 garment workers employed by Korean- and American- owned International Fashion Royal Co Ltd continued striking yesterday over the garment factory’s alleged use of an immigration police officer to intimidate workers.

“The company has shown no intention to solve the problem or negotiate . . . but they hired a one-star police [general] to threaten us,’’ said Bou Thet, the local Workers Friendship Union Federation president.

The problems allegedly began in May when the Kmart supplier tried to fire Thet rather than to address the union’s demands, he said. The demands include maternity benefits, an additional 1,000 riel (about $0.25) for lunch allowance and overtime meal allowances.

Workers allege that Gneth Chanara, an immigration police officer, was then hired to break up union solidarity through intimidation.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers gather on Saturday outside the Royal Fashion International garment factory in the Canadia industrial park in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Factory representatives could not be reached yesterday but The Post was supplied an image of an email notifying employees of Chanara’s appointment to the position of human resources manager, in which it was announced that “he will be in charge of all matters related to employment and union”.

Kep Sarin, a spokesman for the immigration police, declined to comment on the case yesterday unless The Post supplied him with Chanara’s contract with the factory.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak confirmed yesterday that it is “illegal” for an on-duty officer to be working for a private company.

Article 35 of a law regulating civil servants forbids “work for personal purposes during the hours of service” and using the “authority of their position for personal profits or to threaten or violate the rights of citizens”.

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