More than 500 workers from the Benoh Apparel factory in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune yesterday agreed to sell the remaining machines in the factory to cover their lost pay after the owner went bankrupt and fled the country.
The workers last week discovered that the jobs being held for them until the new year had disappeared, along with the owner of the factory.
After a meeting with Ministry of Labour officials, the workers agreed to sell the remaining equipment to cover labour dues that the owner left without paying.
Tit Vannak, president of Trade Union of Khmer Worker’s Hope, said that some of the machinery in the factory had already been sneaked out and sold, and the remaining equipment would not cover all the pay owed to workers.
“After they found out that their employer escaped, they agreed to sell the machines, but in fact, most of those machines in the factory were already sold,” he said. “The rest of machines won’t make enough money to pay the workers.”
The workers had been promised their jobs would resume in 2018 after being put on a retainer of $30 per month for November and December.
The owner then fled, leaving the in-country administrative manager at a loss for solutions and in need of help from the labour department.
Thea Rat, one of the workers, said the staff hoped the machines left would at least get them by until they find new jobs.
“This is our only choice, and all the workers agreed to sell the machines, but someone sold some already,” she said.
“Those left will not be enough to pay workers their full dues.”
Deputy district governor Dy Roth Khemrun said the agreement was reached during a meeting with worker representatives, unionists and an employer’s representative.
“Now the employer’s representative is finding a buyer to sell the machines from the factory to get money to pay the workers,” he said.