Workers demand release of jailed union leaders

Source : Khmer Times

Three of the jailed union leaders and workers on strike.

The president of the Workers Friendship Union Federation and more than 200 workers at the Cosmo Textile Factory yesterday demanded that Kandal Provincial Court release four union leaders recently arrested.

Chhean Sovann, Moeun Chhit, Phan Savy and Lok Neang were arrested on Monday and sent to Kandal Provincial Court yesterday over destruction of property allegations following a complaint from the factory.

Seang Sambath, the president of the union, said the factory was attempting to bust the union by impeding the work of the four leaders and sacking them, which resulted in workers going on strike from Thursday to Saturday.

During the strike on Saturday, the factory did not allow workers to go inside and locked the front gates, prompting workers to pull down the gate and resulting in police arresting the four union leaders.

Mr Sambath said the four leaders must be released and that the Labour Ministry must intervene in the case because the factory was attempting to bust the union.

“The company should have consulted with the Labour Ministry if it had issues with the union’s work,” he said. “But instead it took action to harm the union and find excuses to dismiss leaders.” Mr Sambath said that after questioning the four leaders yesterday, the provincial court decided to put them in pre-trial detention.

Seu Ser, a garment worker at the factory, said the four leaders should be released because they did not commit any wrongdoing.

“The court needs to find a solution for them and release them because this is not a big deal,” she said.

Deputy prosecutor Tin Sochitra and Riem Bora, a factory representative, declined to comment.

However, Labour Minister Ith Samheng said the ministry would be examining the case to determine who was at fault, the union or the factory.

“The ministry will review this case,” he said.

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