Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Workers protest at ministry

Workers protest at ministry

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers gather in front of the First Gawon Apparel factory in Phnom Penh on Wednesday after a bid for intervention from the Ministry of Labour in a dispute with employers failed. Pann Rachana

Workers protest at ministry

About 100 workers from First Gawon Apparel gathered in front of the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh on Wednesday asking for intervention on their behalf in a dispute with their employer. The workers claim the company has not paid their salaries for more than five months.

The workers at first attempted to march to the ministry from the factory but were halted by Meanchey district police, who told them that marching presented a threat to public order. However, the authorities allowed them to be transported to the ministry in a truck.

One worker, employed by First Gawon for eight years, told of the hardships she has faced in the five months since she was last paid. “We’ve been working for more than five months without pay,” said the worker, who requested anonymity.

“We struggle to support our families; the landlord is threatening to evict us; our kids can’t go to school as we don’t have the money to pay the fees.

“I want to ask those at the ministry: ‘What if I didn’t pay your salary for five months, what is your wife going to say about you? You think she would let you stay at home anymore?”

But as the workers protested outside the ministry, officials informed them that those at the Department for Dispute Resolution were on an assignment in Svay Reang province and would not return until Thursday.

‘Enforce Cambodian law’

With no resolution offered, the workers decided to return to the factory, the anonymous worker said, where they erected a banner and had a barbecue.

The workers said that if they didn’t hear anything by Friday, they would again contact the ministry.

Khem Makara, the union president of First Gawon Apparel and a member of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions (C.CAWDU), vowed that they would continue to protest on the factory’s grounds until a resolution was offered.

“We’re asking the minister at the Ministry of Labour to take action against the factory owner to enforce the law in Cambodia and pay workers their salaries . . . We will occupy in front of the factory until we get the solution,’’ Makara said.

He added: “As long as we don’t get a fair solution, we’ll stay at the factory.”

First Gawon Apparel supplies garments for such retailers as Venus, Fashion Inc, New Direction, Belk Store Services Inc and Calliope.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,

  • South Korea’s Moon arrives in Kingdom for state visit

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday at the start of a three-day state visit to Cambodia to strengthen ties and further the friendship between the two countries. After arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the