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Garment factory workers abandoned by employer

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The workers arrive at work yesterday to a locked door. Supplied

Nearly 300 Uni Grand Garment workers in Kampong Speu province yesterday arrived at work only to find their factory shuttered, leaving them distraught as they are missing wages.

A garment worker who requested anonymity said workers came to the factory in the morning only to find the doors locked.

The worker said they were eventually able to open the door with the help of the provincial labour department.

“When the door was opened, we saw that half of the machines were missing,” the worker said. “We can’t contact the managers or owner.”

The worker noted that they fear they will not receive their December wages, which is due on Thursday.

“We were shocked to know that the employer fled without paying our December wages,” the worker said. “We hope that we will be able to be paid for the month of December on the 10th so we can provide for our family. We hope that officials will be able to find a solution for us.”

Path Song, chief of the provincial labour department, yesterday said department officials inspected the factory and concluded that only broken machines were left behind.

The workers and Labour Department cannot reach the owner. Supplied

“We told the workers to stay calm and wait for a solution because a report has been compiled and sent to the Labour Ministry,” Mr Song said.

He noted that the labour department also cannot reach the owner of the factory.

“We don’t know the reason why the company locked its doors and ceased operation,” Mr Song said. “When we tried to contact the company, we were unable to.”

As more and more garment factories shuttered operations with owners absconding, the government last year introduced measures to protect workers.

The government amended the Labour Law to require factories to pay their workers seniority indemnity once every six months.

The government also stepped in to pay out thousands of workers who were missing wages from factories that closed operations, spending about $22 million on missing wages last year.

The Labour Ministry also said that employers who run away from their factories will face lawsuits. The warning came after some unions complained that many employers left the country without compensating employees.

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