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Protesters to stop blocking road

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
The workers have been blocking access to the factory to demand unpaid wages. K T/Chor Sokunthea

Garment workers from the Gawon Apparel factory in Kandal province’s Takhmao town have agreed to stop blocking a road leading to the factory for the next 15 days as they await a solution to their labour dispute from the Arbitration Council.

The workers have been camping out in front of the factory for the past few weeks and blocking access to it after claiming the company failed to pay them their dues.

One worker said yesterday that they again blocked the road in the morning, but only for one hour.

“We decided to suspend our blocking of the road because we are waiting for relevant officials to solve the problem for us in 15 days,” she said.

“If they issue a result that most of the workers cannot accept, we will continue blocking the road again and send the case to the court.”

She added the workers knew that blocking the road was illegal, but said they had been forced to do so.

“If we do not block the road, no one will care for us,” she said.

“When we block the road, the authorities come to us and try to help us.”

The workers say their employer often fails to pay their monthly wages, or does not pay it in full on time, leading to difficulties paying for rent and food.

About 20 to 30 workers have been sleeping in front of the factory this month to prevent the company from selling its machinery before paying workers.

Prak Chanthorn, an official with the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Worker’s Democratic Union, said the council should find a solution within the 15 days.

“They are waiting for the result from the Arbitration Council, which promised to find a solution for the workers in between three and 15 days,” he said.

A Kandal provincial labour department official said the department could not find a resolution for the staff because the factory owners did not have the ability to solve the problem and the workers demanded all of the benefits duly owed to them.

Chha Kbong Hy, the director of Gawon Apparel, wrote a letter to the Labour Department in Kandal province last week asking them to intervene.

“We wanted to upgrade the machinery and install new machines, but the workers blocked the factory’s door. It affects the company’s workflow,” she said in the letter.

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