Prestige Garment Co in Kandal province has fired four more workers this month following protests over the December 22 sacking of a worker representative who was trying to form a union.
Pav Sina, Collective Union of Movement of Workers president, yesterday identified the four as Oeun Sambo, who was fired on January 8, Moth Thearan, fired on January 9, San Sarim, on January 10 and Khim SreyNeng on Friday.
He said they were fired after joining protests against the sacking of Houn Sovit, who was chosen by the workers to form an in-house union at the factory in Kandal Stung district.
“They were fired from their jobs by the company which does not obey the law,” Mr Sina claimed. “The company does not want the workers to set up a union although this is provided for by the law.”
He added that recently, there have been many cases of workers being fired by companies when they try to form local unions.
“They were trying to form unions in accordance with the law but the companies discriminated against them and sacked them,” Mr Sina noted.
Prum Chantrea, a worker, said that the workers want to create their own in-house union, but the company is blocking them and instead offered to create one under its supervision.
“The company has fired more workers who want to form a local union,” she alleged. “It does not care about us.”
Following his sacking, Mr Sovit on December 25 said that he has not been allowed to return to work even though the workers have held several protests to have him reinstated.
“In some cases, the company violates workers’ rights. The company will not allow workers to take emergency leave,” he said. “The company also finds fault with workers and that’s why we want to create a local union to protect workers’ rights and help demand our rights from the company.”
On December 24, more than 100 workers started a protest after Mr Sovit was sacked.
In a petition to the provincial labour department the next day, the workers asked for Mr Sovit to be reinstated and demanded that the management should not cut the wages of employees who take emergency leave.
The workers also demanded that the company should extend their work contracts from two months to six months.
In a separate case, workers at the Bai Hong factory in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Teab district also protested last week after the company fired three local union representatives.
However, the provincial administration found that the workers’ representatives did not have the right to form a local union due to their employment status.
The workers were given probation status for the first three months of their employment, and would only be given a contract after they proved to the company that they are able to work.