More than 1,500 garment factory workers descended upon their place of employment in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city yesterday to strike and demand better working conditions.
According to a petition signed by workers of Sunrise Light Enterprise, all 1,562 workers are demanding their rights, such as the right to elect a representative and for the company to provide overtime pay to workers who are made to work during holidays and weekends.
They also demand that SLE reduce production by 10 percent, enact signboards in Khmer and Mandarin, be more lenient towards workers who take days off, provide health insurance and refrain from firing workers without a reason.
A worker who declined to be named said the company has not been paying attention to the rights of workers and that if the company does not meet their demands, workers will continue to strike.
“Workers do not have representation, that’s why it is difficult to demand something from the company,” the worker said. “When someone who wants to protect workers appear, that someone is going to be accused of persuading workers to protest.”
Has Bunthy, director of the provincial labour department, said the workers and company representatives were invited to meet for negotiation to take place.
Mr Bunthy said the company has agreed to most of the workers’ demands.
“Most demands were agreed. But the company didn’t agree to fire a manager and reducing productivity,” he said. “The labour department will continue to push for negotiations until both sides can approve.”
SLE company representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, according to a minutes taken during negotiation, both sides met.