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Cambodia: Deal with SL Garment ends union’s 4-month strike that has led to death of one

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26 October 2019

Cambodia: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court summons a union leader to appear for questioning over a workers' protest in 2013

Author: Kunthear Mom, Khmer Times

"Ath Thorn summoned over violent 2013 factory protest", 25 October 2019

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has issued a fresh summons against Ath Thorn, president of Cambodian Labour Confederation, to answer a charge stemming from a 2013 protest at a factory in Meanchey district.

Deputy prosecutor Seng Kimlak in a summons ... and ... asked Mr Thorn to appear in court ... to answer questions over the protest which turned violent in front of SL Garment Factory ...

“After investigations, we decided to summon the accused Ath Thorn, 35, to appear at the hearing in order to answer the accusation against him,” he said in the summons letter, noting that he is accused of incitement to commit a crime.

Mr Thorn ... said that he did not know why the court summoned him for the hearing, noting that he was unsure whether he would be able to appear in court on that day.

“I have seen the summons but I am not clear about the accusation,” he said. “The owner of SL factory had already withdrawn the lawsuit ... and now I am summoned for a hearing.”

“I will discuss the matter with my lawyer,” he added.

... Mr Thorn added that the charge is incorrect and urged the court to drop it.

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4 December 2013

Jubilation as SL strike ends [Cambodia]

Author: Sean Teehan & Mom Kunthear, Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

…[A]bout 1,000 garment workers…cheered as [a] union representative…announced the official end of the strike at SL Garment…Under the agreement [that ended the strike], SL will reinstate 19 fired C.CAWDU [Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union] leaders and activists…and keep shareholder Meas Sotha from having contact with workers…[The striking workers] walked off the job…after Sotha hired armed military police to stand guard inside the factory, a move union members saw as an intimidation tactic against them…[The] agreement came three weeks after Eng Sokhom…was killed and at least nine others injured by bullets after police opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators marching in support of the C.CAWDU-led strike…[refers to Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss]

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30 August 2013

SL strikers go back to work today [Cambodia]

Author: Sean Teehan, Mom Kunthear, Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

Thousands of striking garment workers are set to return to work…as more than two weeks of demonstrations at one of Asia’s largest garment factories come to a close…6,000 workers [at SL Garment Processing] intended to return to their posts. Striking began…as workers demanded that SL remove military police standing guard inside the factory and cut all ties with [shareholder Meas] Sotha, the man who hired them. The workers’ return to work comes after a meeting between C.CAWDU [Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union], SL management and the Phnom Penh municipal government, during which government officials ordered SL to cut ties with Sotha…[the vice president of C.CAWDU] said. Sotha...said he had not received any information about his alleged dismissal.

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22 August 2013

Labour negotiations begin at SL Garment factoy [Cambodia]

Author: Mom Kunthear, Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

A meeting between factory management and representatives of more than 5,000 striking workers at one of Asia’s largest garment-processing factories yielded no progress. The Ministry of Social Affairs coordinated the sit-down between SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd and the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) nine days after workers first walked off the job, C.CAWDU officer Suth Seam said. In addition to eight other demands – including a $150 minimum monthly wage – SL employees are calling on the factory to cut all ties with shareholder Meas Sotha, who they say hired military police to stand guard inside the factory to intimidate unionised workers.

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20 August 2013

Strike grows as another factory walks [Cambodia]

Author: Mom Kunthear, Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

About 1,000 workers at one of Asia’s largest garment-processing factories have joined more than 4,000 who began a strike last week, as union workers demanded the company meet nine conditions, including severing ties with a shareholder. Employees at the SL2 factory of SL Garment Processing...walked off the job...Suth Seam, a representative of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which represents thousands of workers at the SL and SL2 factories. SL workers started striking a week before...C.CAWDU members who work at SL have alleged that Sotha’s decision [who is a shareholder] to bring military police to stand guard inside the factory three weeks ago was an effort to intimidate union workers. Sotha and Chhin Sao, administrative manager for SL2, both said union workers were forcing workers to strike and that the continuing walkout was illegal.

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