Two garment factory workers in Kandal province have been sacked after their company accused them of being involved in a violent clash that saw the arrest of two of their colleagues.
On May 9, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union issued a statement appealing to the provincial military police to free two of its members, Chub Chanthy and Sok Kha, who were arrested for allegedly instigating violence outside of a factory belonging to Quint Major Industrial in Ang Snuol district.
At the time, CCAWDU said Mr Chanthy and Mr Kha were set upon by members of the factory’s in-house union when they went to visit it, leading to the violence.
Yesterday, CCAWDU president Ath Thorn said two unnamed garment factory workers were fired, while another was suspended, after they were accused by the company of being involved in the incident.
“The company accused the other workers of also being involved in the violence,” Mr Thorn said. “We are investigating this case to see whether they were really involved or not.”
He noted that Mr Chanthy and Mr Kha, along with the two fired workers, were members of his union and employees of QMI.
“They are union activists who were defending the rights of workers in the company,” Mr Thorn said. “After having a dispute with another union in the company, they were detained and sacked.”
“It’s unfair because they didn’t start the dispute,” he added.
According to a CCAWDU statement issued after the arrest of Mr Chanthy and Mr Kha, it was members of the Confederation of Unions of Workers of QMI that started the incident.
“The violence started when another local union from the company began assaulting CCAWDU members as the latter were trying to recruit more members from the company,” it said, noting that the company called security forces in Ang Snuol district to prevent the violence from escalating.
However, it said that Mr Chanthy and Mr Kha were both arrested, while CUW members were freed.
“The CCAWDU expresses disappointment […], it is unfair and cannot be accepted,” it said.
It noted that before the incident, CCAWDU wanted to promote better working conditions for QMI garment factory workers.
However, members of the CUW had been waiting outside of the factory to confront the activists.
Factory representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.