Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng on Sunday ordered local authorities to conduct regular checks on the living conditions of garment workers and report any problems to enable City Hall to find quick solutions.
Speaking with more than 1,000 workers in Meanchey district, he said officials should immediately act on problems brought up, such as on water supply, hygiene, garbage collection and security.
“If you have any concerns over a lack of accommodation or unsatisfactory living conditions, you can contact your local district officials who will visit you and report the problems to City Hall to find solutions,” Mr Sreng said. “I advise local officials to visit the workers’ accommodations regularly to check on the living conditions.”
He assured workers that the authorities would address their problems and advised them not to fall prey to third parties who incite them to stage protests in front of their factories.
“So you need to understand clearly before deciding to do something because your job is very important for your livelihood,” Mr Sreng said. “The government is doing its best to ensure peace and stability for the whole country and create jobs for you.”
He noted that the government has put in place social protection for workers, such as setting a minimum wage of $182 this year and ensuring that pregnant workers get a three-month break and are paid 120 percent of their wages.
Mr Sreng added that the government also ensures workers get free medical examinations and treatment at public hospitals under the NSSF.
District Governor Pich Keo Mony said there are 36 factories with 43,966 workers in the district. He said 30,860 of them live in rented houses or rooms.
Mr Keo Mony noted that district officials are already visiting workers living in rented accommodation to check on their living conditions.
“Our officials always conduct checks on their welfare in line with the government’s policy to protect them,” he said. “We find out what they need and try to find solutions for their problems.”
Thoun Channet, 26, a worker living in Russey Keo district, yesterday said she did not have any problems with her accommodation, but urged local authorities to improve security in the area, especially at night.
“We have no problems over water and electricity for those of us who rent rooms because the government has reduced the costs for us,” she said. “But we want more protection from gangsters and drug addicts who roam our village at night.”
Som Vanthat, 28, who lives in the same district, yesterday urged the authorities to keep tabs on rental prices in the area.
“I keep worrying that the house owner will increase my room rent,” she said. “Whenever workers are given higher wages many house owners raise the rental price.”