More than 1,000 garment factories gave workers time off to take part in yesterday’s election.
“We got information that all garment and shoe factories allowed their workers to vote without any problems,” Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said. “They all implemented an order to give time off.”
He put the number of factories obeying a directive from the ministry at 1,151 .
Earlier this month, the ministry announced that workers were to get a three-day paid break to make it easier to travel to their home provinces to vote. The ministry made the order after a request from the National Election Committee.
NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok also called on all business owners to facilitate workers’ travel to vote at local polling stations in accordance with the Law on Elections.
Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities said all garment factories in Sihanoukville closed to allow workers to go to vote.
They said garment and shoe factories in Sihanoukville implemented the ministry’s order fully, while only a few service sites such as casinos and building sites remained working.
“The labour department came to examine and explained things to them,” a statement from the Provincial Hall said. “Authorities agreed to implement the order to allow their workers to go to vote.”
Fa Saly, president of the National Trade Union Confederation, said many workers were able to go to their homeland, but it was unknown how many would vote.
“We will see on Tuesday, the day the workers come back to work, if they have any disputes with employers over their wages possibly getting cut if their fingers are not inked,” he said.
Moeun Tola, president of labour rights group Central, said if an employer fired employees for not having ink on their fingers, employees could file complaints.
“Those firings are illegal and the employees have the right to file complaints if employers fire workers for not having ink on their fingers,” he said.
Ek Saron, deputy traffic police chief in Chbar Ampov district, said most residents and workers travelled from the city to their homelands, causing traffic jams in some areas.
“Since Friday and Saturday, many workers and residents have travelled from the city to vote in the election and police have tried to ease the traffic to make it easy for them to travel,” he said.
Pothitey Sawathey, president of the Dhamacracy Party, said the election situation had been much better this year and there had been no violence or any other problems.
“We saw that many people went to vote,” she said. “There were lots of people and workers and the situation was much better and very well prepared, and people took part.”