Workers Protest Unionist Firings in Kandal

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Almost 1,000 workers from the New Archid Garment Factory in Kandal province’s Angsnoul district protested yesterday against the firing of three employees who tried to start a union.
The protesters played loud music and danced outside the factory throughout the day.
The group demanded the reinstatement of the three workers, who were fired last Friday, and better working conditions within the factory.  
Chem Samphors, 30, one of the worker representatives who was fired, said yesterday that more than 60 percent of the workers at the factory came to the second day of protests.
“We demanded the company accept the three of us back to work. The workers are not happy because the company only gives us three days of leave for weddings and we cannot take sick leave longer than two days,” he said. “We have requested $8 as a health bonus, $5 for female workers who recently gave birth and a number of other things.”
Mr. Samphors said he was caught off guard when the company fired him and his two co-workers, Vay Vanny and Eng Sovanna.
“Myself and my friends came to work as normal on April 29, but the security guards stopped us from going inside and told us we were fired,” said Mr. Samphors. “The company agreed to pay us through the labor law, but we refused to accept it because we want to be back at our workplace.”
Mr. Samphors said he had worked at New Archid for six years and was told that after two years, employees become permanent contract workers.
“I think the company does not want me to create a new union in the factory because after we informed the company about our plans, they fired us,” said Mr. Samphors, adding that the rest of the factory’s workers want them back and that is why so many showed up to protest yesterday.  
Bun Long, New Archid’s administrative manager, declined to comment yesterday and hung up when a Khmer Times reporter called.

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