The Labour Ministry has accepted a petition from Monopai Cambodia factory workers protesting the dismissal of two unionists and seven other employees.
After receiving the petition from the workers on Friday, the ministry then instructed all employees to return to work at their factory in Kampong Speu province.
Lim Phan, an official with the ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, said that the ministry asked the protesting workers to assign ten representatives to meet with ministry officials to find a solution.
“For the first step, we suggested they resume work and assign ten representatives to have a meeting,” he said. “There are no results yet; the ministry is still finding a solution.”
On November 14, the workers went on strike after the company fired unionists Oeun Chanthy and Nov Chantha for failing to do their jobs. The workers then demanded the company reinstate the unionists, but the company stood its ground and refused to comply.
Provincial Court Judge Pich Chenda on November 16 ruled the strike illegal and ordered all workers to return to work within 48 hours, which they failed to do, leading to the dismissal of seven more employees.
Nearly 300 workers travelled from Kampong Speu to the capital on Friday to hand in the petition, which demands the reinstatement of all those who have been fired.
Mr Chanthy said that workers decided to come to Phnom Penh after they lost confidence in the provincial labour department to find a solution.
“We do not have any hope in the provincial labour department because until now there has been no solution for us,” he said.
Sos Sophorn, a worker, said workers are not only demanding their colleagues get their jobs back, but also that the company stops discriminating against pregnant staffers and pays wages regularly.
“We must help each other to get their jobs back,” she said.
Sam Sochea, the company’s administrative chief, last week said the company had the right to sack the unionists.
“We stopped them from working after we inspected their work,” Mr Sochea said, noting the unionists played games and idly sat around during work hours. “They did not have good attitudes – they always argued with the leaders. During work hours they did not work, instead, they sat around and played games.”