Company denies sacking workers over union ambitions

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Workers protest in February over the firing of their union reps. Khmer Read

Qi Ming Xin Factory yesterday denied accusations that it sacked seven unionists for attempting to create a union within the company.

It said instead the unionists were fired because they encouraged other workers to protest.

Moeun Yoeun, of Voice Khmer Youth Union Federation, yesterday said he and six of his colleagues were gradually sacked by the company throughout January after they planned to create a local union.

Aside from Mr Yoeun, the other fired unionists were Houn Srey Lis, Oun Thearong, Thol Thim, Pet Hoeun, Ses Sophal and Sean Sokli.

In February, they rallied for their jobs outside of the factory in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district.

Mr Yoeun said he wanted to create a local union in order to protect the rights of workers, adding that positions were to be distributed among the other fired unionists.

“After they were elected to be union representatives, the company threatened them to stop,” he said. “The company also prohibited them from any union activity. We were then fired from the job.”

Pich Panharoath, an administrative representative for the company, yesterday said the unionists were fired because they did not comply with company policies.

Mr Panharoath said the unionists persuaded workers to leave their working spaces and protest.

“The company did not fire them because they tried to create a union,” he said. “They were wrong for encouraging other workers to conduct protests.”

“Their accusations against the company are not true,” Mr Panharoath added.

According to Mr Yoeun, the photos of him and his colleagues were posted outside of the factory. He said the photos should be taken down because they affect their honour.

“The company also complained to the court that we persuaded other workers to protest,” he said. “We were fired because we wanted to create a local union to protect the rights of workers.”

Ms Srey Lis yesterday said the decision to fire her from the company was unacceptable.

“We lost our jobs due to this reason, we cannot accept it,” she said. “All workers elected us as local union representatives – we did not do anything wrong.”

Ms Srey Lis noted that she is appealing to the company to allow the unionists to return to work.

An Sakhan, deputy chief of VKYUF, yesterday said the right to a local union is guaranteed by union and labour laws.

“It is unfair for them, they just wanted to create a local union, which is stipulated in union and labour laws,” Mr Sakhan said, adding that after multiple meetings with the company, no solution is yet to be found.

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