Authorities in the capital yesterday stopped over 50 garment workers of Hana (Cambodia) I Inc from marching to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to seek intervention over unpaid unemployment benefits. The gathering came after the garment factory announced its permanent closure due to a lack of orders amid the pandemic on June 23.
Ouk Lan, one of the workers, said while the company paid them their last wages, seniority indemnity and last year’s 13th-month bonus on June 26, it failed to give them their unemployment benefits in line with the Labour Law.
The Labour Law stipulates that employers are required to cover workers’ unemployment benefits in the event of an abrupt shutdown of operations.
“The company did not pay our compensation even after three rounds of negotiations. That’s why we wanted to go to Prime Minister Hun Sen himself to seek help,” she said.
Another worker, Phern Sophea, said most of the workers had been with the factory for five years and have the right to demand what they are owed.
“We ask the prime minister to help us. This is the worst time for us to lose our jobs. We need as much aid as we can get to support our daily needs,” she said.
The workers, who held banners asking for intervention, were promptly blocked by local authorities in Por Senchey district yesterday morning while they were on their way to the premier’s residence. They were instead asked to hold a meeting with relevant officials for formal mediation.
District governor Hem Darith yesterday assured that no violence occurred during the encounter between the workers and the authorities.
“Marching on the street affects public order and could lead to misinterpretations among the people. We want them to seek a solution properly, in the right place and in the right way with the right officials,” he said.
However, company manager Ty Sothyda said yesterday the workers were immediately informed about the decision to shut down the company before June 23. Therefore, she said, the company is not liable to pay unemployment benefits and has not violated the Labour Law.