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21 Jan 2021

Khuon Narim, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Thousands of garment workers protest to demand unpaid benefits, accusing employers of using short-term contracts to avoid responsibilities

"Garment workers block Phnom Penh road and call for bonuses", 21 January 2021

Thousands of garment workers blocked a major service road in Phnom Penh … to demand unpaid entitlements, as worker advocates accused employers of using short term contracts to control staff, avoid bonuses and silence dissent.

One man detained … following a brief scuffle with police was questioned for using violence against police and released, said Chor Kimsor, the Dangkao district deputy governor, who … met the workers from the Y&W Garment factory on street 217.

Mr Kimsor called for the workers to remain peaceful as a government working group sought to resolve the dispute at the Chinese-owned factory, in which workers are call for seniority and other bonus they say they are owed after working for years on short-term contracts

“The resolution will take time and they are working on the issue,” Mr Kimsor told the workers…

Many of the workers at Y&W say they have been employed at the factory on short-term contracts for years, and are therefore entitled to the security of an open-ended contract and to be paid seniority indemnity, maternity leave and other bonuses…

“Short term contracts are very effective in [in limiting] rights and the freedom to join unions and associations,” said Kong Athit, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), adding that 70% of factories across the country exploited workers that way…

“Everything is a risk for workers on short-term contracts, said Khun Tharo, a program coordinator at labour rights group Central. “There is no job security and it effects the approach to rights.”