Nearly 2,000 garment workers are now in limbo after their employer You Li International Garment Co Ltd in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city announced a suspension of operations as clothing orders dry up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pum Sokunthy, an officer of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said yesterday the company decided to temporarily halt its operations from May 1 to June 30.
“The workers will receive compensation from the government and the company. In the meantime, they will be faced with difficulties as they try to get by day by day,” said Mr Sokunthy.
Chan San, a worker from the garment factory, said yesterday since early April, the company has had fewer job for the workers due to a lack of orders.
“We depend on our wages to support our daily needs. Now that the company has announced to suspend operations, we do not know what will happen to us in the next two months,” he said.
Ou Sokoeun, Svay Rieng provincial labour department director, said labour officials were informed of the suspension and are already preparing the paperwork for the issuance of compensation to the displaced workers.
The Garment Manufac- turing Association in Cambodia in a statement yesterday said to date, 180 factories have halted their operations, with 60 more in the pipeline. The suspensions have left more than 150,000 workers with no source of income without a clear indication of when work will resume.
On Labour Day, union groups, representing more than 100,000 workers from eight sectors, sent a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen to ask a guarantee in payment of compensation and other benefits for suspended workers.
The unions said the government should increase compensation for suspended workers, with 20 percent of their wages coming from the government and 40 percent from their respective employers.
The petition follows an annoucement by Mr Hun Sen last month of the government’s decision to provide a social fund of $70 – with $40 coming from the government and $30 from enterprise owners – to workers when enterprises decide to temporarily suspend operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The unions also suggested the government increase the minimum wage from $190 to $250 for garment workers and enforce fixed wages to workers in the construction, tourist, services, transportation and other sectors.