Gawon Apparel factory in Kandal province’s Takhmao town has fired nearly 600 staff for breaching a court warrant ordering them to go back to work after months of protest.
Prak Chanthorn, an official with the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Worker’s Democratic Union, said yesterday that the names of 588 workers had been cut from the list of Gawon Apparel factory employees.
“The staff who protested actually returned to the factory after the court issued the order, but while they were working, the owner tried to take machines out, so they went out to stop the factory truck,” he said.
Mr Chanthorn said the factory director decided to fire the 588 workers by accusing them of not following the court order.
“More than 200 employees are still working, while another 588 were fired with only their last wage and yearly bonus,” he said.
Mr Chanthorn said the payouts only amounted to between $60 and $70, and while a minority of workers accepted and went to look for work elsewhere, the majority refused the payment.
“We filed a complaint to the court against the company for firing this many workers, but we didn’t receive a response yet. We are not very optimistic,” he said.
He added that there were no plans for further protests at this stage.
In late December, Kandal Provincial Court issued a warrant ordering the staff to return to work within 48 hours or face lawful consequences. This came after months of protests.
Long Sarath, the court bailiff who signed the order, said workers who kept protesting would be making a “serious mistake”.
Despite the workers being fired, several are still sleeping in front of the factory day and night to prevent the machinery from being taken away, Mr Chanthorn said.