Factory owner leaves 660 worker in lurch

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Garment workers have been camping outside of the factory to keep an eye on the equipment. Supplied

The Ministry of Labour has weighed into a dispute between more than 600 garment workers and their former employer, confirming that the factory owner has closed operations and disappeared.

More than 100 workers from the Nantai Garment Factory in Steung Meanchey commune were told that ownership of the factory would be changing and their contracts would not be renewed after Friday of last week.

Each worker was given $60 severance pay, which they claim is contrary to what they are owed under the Labour Law.

Since then, they have been camping outside the factory to ensure its owner does not remove equipment while still in arrears with 660 workers.

On Friday, the Labour Ministry’s dispute resolution department issued a letter confirming that the factory had ceased operations and noting that it could not locate the owner.

Koy Tepdaravuth, head of the dispute department, said that the company ceased activity on August 26.

“The company owner has an obligation to be responsible for worker benefits,” he said.

“The Labour dispute department could not find the company’s owner, so we have told the workers to file a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.”

Huy Sambath, president of the Cambodia Workers Union Federation, said the workers camping outside the factory were determined to gain their dues.

“Currently, some workers are still sleeping in front of the factory every night because they are the watchdogs making sure that the company’s owner does not appear and remove equipment,” he said.

“They are worried the owner will sell equipment without paying workers their dues.”

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