Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Workers return in wake of factory floor collapse

Workers return in wake of factory floor collapse

Workers return in wake of factory floor collapse

Employees working at a Takeo province garment factory where part of the floor gave way beneath them last month were back on the job yesterday, though in different buildings at the large Bati district complex.

Oeur Pich, whose left leg was injured at the scene, was among those returning to new work stations yesterday.

“I am still scared when I see the building where I used to work,” Pich told the Post after her first shift back. “Luckily, we are not allowed to work in that building.”

About 800 workers fled Building B of Nishiku’s complex at about 9:30am on October 21 when part of the ground floor near the entrance caved in, leaving the front quarter of the factory floor tilting toward the hole that materialised.

Several people working at the time were pinned under their sewing machines, leaving at least four, all women, with minor injuries.

On the day of the collapse, Nishiku director of human resources Chan Monika – who could not be reached yesterday – said the portion that collapsed stood over a 40-by-20-metre reservoir and had not been reinforced.

A preliminary police investigation that day concluded that lack of reinforcement likely led to the floor giving way.

Jill Tucker, technical adviser for the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), yesterday said photographs from the scene seemed consistent with this assessment.

Specialists should look at the other buildings at Nishiku to gauge safety, she added.

“It would be good for them to bring a structural engineer to assess the other buildings in the complex,” Tucker said. “There’s no building code [in Cambodia], right now, it’s being written.”

So far, no Nishiku employees working in the building during the collapse have filed lawsuits, nor has the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) – which represents many of their employees, C.CAWDU legal officer Seang Yoth said yesterday.

But C.CAWDU and labour rights group Solidarity Center are monitoring the case to see whether workers should file suit, Yoth said.

“C.CAWDU and [Solidarity Center] are monitoring to ensure the National Social Security Fund properly pays compensation and medical bills for those injured,” Yoth explained.

An NSSF staffer was reached yesterday afternoon, but told a Post reporter that his boss could not be contacted.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the