More than one hundred Prestige Garment workers in Kandal province walked out in protest yesterday after their colleague was sacked for attempting to form a local union.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers said the worker was singled out by company for wanting to unionise.
“The discrimination of local unions and to go against the freedom to form unions are still popular amongst employers – even until now,” Mr Sina said. “The formation of unions is still a hot issue for companies.”
The workers walked out and drafted a complaint demanding better working conditions and the reinstatement of sacked worker Houn Sovit.
They said Mr Sovit attempted to create a local union and demand management to not cut employee wages for taking emergency leave days.
The workers are also demanding a new structuring of employee contracts from two-months to six-months.
Mr Sovit yesterday said he was fired on Saturday after management found out about his intentions.
“In some cases, the company breaks a worker’s rights. The company would not allow workers to take emergency leave days,” he said. “The company would also blame workers, and that’s why we want to create a local union to protect workers’ rights and help demand our rights from the company.”
Mr Sovit noted that last week, garment workers at the factory named him as union president.
“It’s not my fault. The workers wanted to create a local union to have their rights protected,” he said. “Why did the company fire me without any real reason? The company lit the match that eventually led to the walk-out.”
Company representatives could not be reached for comment today.
Nhang Sambo, president of the Khmer Help Khmer Union Federation said the company should allow workers to unionise.
Mr Sambo noted that workers who want to unionise should not be singled out my companies.
Last week, about 500 garment workers from City Spark Cambodia in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district filed a police complaint against their employers for hiring a group of gangsters to hit workers during a rally for better working conditions.