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Garment workers protest over unpaid salaries

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Officials and workers meet to try to find a solution. Supplied

More than 350 garment workers at the First Gawon Apparel factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district refused to continue working on Tuesday because the factory’s owner had not paid their wages for December.

Khem Makara, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said that 357 workers stopped work about one week ago over the wage dispute.

“They are protesting by suspending their work and sitting inside and outside the factory to wait for their salaries,” he said.

Mr Makara said the owner of the company also has a factory in Kandal province, where workers have also been mistreated, fired without cause, not paid and are locked in a labour dispute.

Phann Savong, a protesting worker at the Phnom Penh factory, said the owner always promised workers that they would get their salaries, but has not followed through.

“They promised to pay us on January 10 and then 13, but on the 13th, she came to meet us and told us to keep working and that she did not have the money yet,” he said. “We told her we will not work until we get our salaries.”

First Gawon Apparel officials could not be reached for comment.

Meanchey district deputy governor Dy Roth Khemrun said he met with the owner and she has promised to pay the workers this week.

“We are prohibiting the owner from taking equipment or other products out of the factory unless the wages are paid,” he said.

Mr Khemrun added that he asked the protesting workers not to block any roads.

Full story in Wednesday’s paper.

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