Cambodian factory workers return to work after over week’s protests

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Garment workers from factories in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone confront police in Bavet township in southeastern Cambodia's Svay Rieng province, during last week’s protests. (Photo: RFA)

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — Cambodian factory workers at the Manhattan and Tai Seng Special Economic Zones in eastern Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town returned to work on Friday after more than a week of protests, a senior labor official said.

“With our negotiations, all of the workers agreed to return to work this morning and demanded the factories can’t cut their wages during the protests,” Ou Sokhoeun, deputy director of Svay Rieng Provincial Labor Department, told Xinhua. “We promise to bring their request to the factory owners.”

He said the two industrial zones house 45 factories with more than 30,000 workers.

Thousands of workers at the two industrial zones had staged protests since Dec. 16 to demand a 20 U.S. dollars raise to the current monthly minimum wage of 128 U.S. dollars, 3 U.S. dollars more than the 140 U.S. dollars figure mandated for 2016 by the government in October.

Some of the protesters had thrown stones at factories, causing serious damages to factories’ properties.

Earlier this week, police used water cannon to disperse protestors after they pelted factories and police with stones and injured two police officers.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has said that the protests made the factories lose millions of dollars due to production halt and property damages.

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