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Union distances itself from striking workers

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Workers protest over unpaid dues. Supplied

The Cambodian Council of National Unions yesterday issued a statement blaming recent garment factory strikes in Phnom Penh on instigators.

Thousands of workers from Seduno Investment Cambo Fashion and W&D factory have been on strike over the last week over unpaid benefits, including seniority indemnity and severance pay.

Last week, hundreds of the workers blocked Monireth Boulevard, Street 217 and National Road 2, prompting authorities to intervene.

The striking garment workers have now occupied their respective factory compounds in Dangkor and Meanchey districts.

The CCNU yesterday said it was disappointed by the garment workers when they blocked the three roads.

CCNU president Sam Soeun said the blockage disrupted public order, causing motorists to be unable to travel.

“After an investigation, we found that demonstrators were incited by someone looking to take advantage of the strikes,” Mr Soeun said, noting that garment workers should put their trust in the Labour Ministry to solve their problems. “We call on the workers to keep calm and avoid deception. There are some who are intending to cause instability within these enterprises by destroying workplaces.”

CCNU has called upon the government and the Labour Ministry to take action against those who incited the strikes.

So Vanna, a W&D garment worker who has been on strike for about a week now, yesterday said the strikes are being conducted without the help of any unions.

“We depended on the unions, but they do not dare help us,” Ms Vanna said. “That’s why we organised this strike ourselves, we do not have union representation.”

Colonel Chim Sitha, chief of Dangkor district police, has said that to get workers off the road, they were told to instead take their fight straight to the company.

“They said they are on strike without union representation, so we told them to hold demonstrations at the company’s compounds and negotiate with them directly,” Col Sitha said.

According to the Labour Ministry, factories must pay workers a seniority payment every six months; factories must also pay severance upon conclusion of an employment contract.

As the strikes continued last week, the ministry issued a statement ensuring all garment workers that full benefits will be paid in due time and asking them to remain calm.

An unnamed worker for Seduno Investment Cambo Fashion said the strikes continued after the ministry statement because workers do not trust the company enough.

“The ministry has ensured that we have nothing to be afraid of, but we are afraid the company will not follow it,” the worker said last week.

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