The Ministry of Labour yesterday said that factory owners who abandon their businesses without paying workers their final dues will face court cases in the wake of complaints from unions.
Speaking to reporters after a United Nations unemployment event in Phnom Penh, ministry spokesman Heng Sour said there has been strong criticism from unions and workers that too many garment factory owners are fleeing the country after going bankrupt without paying workers their dues.
“Employers cannot escape and think that they do not have any obligations to workers,” he said. “I would like to confirm that those employers who escape from Cambodia will face lawsuits in court over their debts.”
Mr Sour also floated the idea of ordering owners to pay workers their wages bi-weekly rather than monthly to mitigate the risks of missing wages if employers went bankrupt.
“When the workers get paid their wages twice per month, at least this can reduce some risks when their employers escape,” he said.
Most recently, the owner of three factories – Yu Fa Garment Industry, Yu Da Garment Industry and S.R.E Garment Company – escaped the country without paying wages to about 1,000 workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district.
Last Friday, more than 700 of the workers from two of the factories – Yu Da Garment and S.R.E Garment – received 65 percent of their missing wages after some machinery from the factories was sold for $155,000.
Tun Sophorn, national project coordinator for the International Labour Organisation, said when some factories go bankrupt, owners do not inform relevant authorities and flee without notice.
“If the owners would announce their bankruptcy to the Labour Ministry, they would then be held accountable to pay workers their wages,” he said. “This is the problem. The ministry must make sure they do not flee without notice.”