Protesting garment workers burn tyres in capital

Source: Phnom Penh Post | wed, 15 June 2016, by Sen David

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A tyre burns outside Global Apparel garment factory yesterday during a protest by former employees demanding severance pay. Photo supplied

More than 200 current and former workers at the Malaysian-owned Global Apparels Limited factory in Phnom Penh yesterday burned tyres and garbage in front of the facility, as part of their ongoing protests to demand severance pay as the company nears closure.

Soth Chet, an official with the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, claimed about 300 workers were still owed their May salary.

“Until now, there is no solution yet from the Ministry of Labour,” he said. “That’s why we burned the tyres and trash, and blocked the road in front of the factory.”

The Ministry of Labour met with both parties and union officials last Thursday, but no solution was reached. According to a notification issued by the ministry yesterday, another meeting is being planned to work on possible solutions.

Chet claimed company representatives told the ministry that only 20 workers had yet to receive their last paycheck, which was “not true”.

A Global Apparels staffer, who declined to give his name, said the union and company’s management differed on the interpretation of the Labour Law, and the dispute should be resolved by the Arbitration Council.

He claimed the company offered former workers their last paycheck, severance and annual leave pay.

He also claimed the council yesterday issued an order indicating that if current workers continued to strike it would close the case. Some 1,200 workers are still employed, with their contracts expiring in the months leading up to the company’s closure in October, he said.

Some 600 workers were terminated earlier this month.

The council couldn’t be reached for comment.

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