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Workers walk out over sudden factory closure

Workers walk out over sudden factory closure

ABOUT 300 workers from the New Point World Trade garment factory in Russey Keo district held protests on Thursday, demanding salaries for an unscheduled two-month break in production.

Garment worker Matt Sreya, 22, said at the protest that factory management closed the factory without paying workers, many of whom had worked there for about eight years.

“They took away 400 sewing machines and prepared them to be shipped off,” she said. “They stopped us working [temporarily] without telling us when we will return to work again.”

She added that factory representatives had offered workers US$13 for each month they were idle, but the amount was rejected as insufficient.

“We need decent compensation since we need to pay for our housing, food, water and utilities,” she said.

Chao Pheng, deputy general director of New Point World Trade, said the economic downturn had forced the factory to close. “Currently, we do not have any buyers for our products as a result of the economic tsunami,” he said, but added the factory was set to open at the end of November.

Meanwhile, work has resumed at the Fortune Garment and Woollen Knitting company in Kandal province after employees received a letter from the Arbitration Council Foundation requesting the protests to stop.

Protests broke out on September 22 over poor working conditions, and workers’ representative Lun Simeth threatened to strike again if workers’ demands are not met.

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