Unionist accused of withholding payments

Unionist accused of withholding payments

Former employees of a Phnom Penh factory that burned down in July held a small protest outside the office of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), demanding payment they say they are owed.

About 40 people yesterday morning vowed to gather in front of the union’s office each Sunday until they receive payments of $50 for each year they worked at Chan San factory, plus a $100 bonus. According to Son Prak, secretary general of the Worker Union Federation, the factory gave the money owed to Cambodian Labour Confederation, which is run by Ath Thorn – also president of C.CAWDU – to distribute to all workers, but this has not yet happened.

“After the fire, [the Ministry of Labour] required the company to pay workers,” Prak said. “The factory gave it to CLC.”

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached yesterday.

Thorn yesterday said that he was only given money to distribute to members of his union, which he already did.

“We collect [money] only for our members,” Thorn said yesterday. “Other people with pro-government unions try to attack us, [but] we are not their representative.”

Although Va Van Neun, 40, is not a CLC member, she said she believes CLC is responsible for paying her. Van Neun has found other employment, but needs the money she is owed.

“It’s quite a big problem for my family; that’s why I protest.”

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