Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered the Labour Ministry to find a solution for Julee Apparels factory workers after their South Korean employer committed suicide in the capital, leaving them short of wages.
Factory workers began rallying for their wages last week outside of the factory in Por Senchey district’s Kakab commune.
The workers camped outside and began blocking roads, demanding a solution while suggesting the factory’s assets should be seized for their benefit.
Speaking to thousands of garment workers in Kampong Speu province, Mr Hun Sen said that the Labour Ministry has been instructed to quickly find a solution.
“The employer died and no one paid their wages, so they protested. The ministry must hurry to find a solution,” he said. “The ministry could maybe pay half of their wages first while they wait for a real solution with the company.”
This year alone, the government has spent $4.6 million to give cash advances to thousands of workers whose employers fled.
Mr Hun Sen said that many workers expressed their dissatisfaction with the Julee Apparels factory on the Prime Minister’s official Facebook page.
He said that he could not address all of the complaints online.
“Workers comment on my Facebook page to complain,” Mr Hun Sen said. “But when they ask about it, I can’t recall, so I told them that I was busy, sometimes I can’t check all of the comments.”
Soa Sovann, a factory worker, said that the majority of them will need their wages by Friday.
“Our landlords demand their money,” Ms Sovann said. “We need it before the 10th.”
She said that most of the workers will need to find another job in order to make ends-meet.
“Our employer died, we’re really sorry about that,” she added. “But the company has machines they can sell in order to pay us.” Vong Sovann, deputy secretary-general of a committee in charge of resolving strikes and protests at the Labour Ministry, said that officials are working on a concrete solution for workers.