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Cambodia: Fired garment workers keep watch 24/7 outside their former factories' compound; while owners fail to honour payment

Author: Hun Sirivadh, VOD, Published on: 26 May 2020

"Awaiting Payouts, Fired Garment Workers Keep Watch Outside Factory", 23 May 2020

When Sour Socheat settles in for the night under a tent in Takhmao City, she knows she will not sleep. 

On the three or four nights per week that she guards the entrance of the shuttered factory where she used to work, Socheat says she and the other unemployed garment workers on watch are disturbed by animals, drug users and gangsters. 

“Every night, we cannot sleep,” she said. “We need to play [games] and sit together until early morning. Sometimes big trucks drive very fast, shaking the ground, frightening us a lot, and when it is raining, we cannot sleep here and so we go to ask a neighbor’s permission to stay under their canvas for one or two nights.”

... “We do not trust the company,” Socheat said. “It is very difficult for us, but we will still sleep [outside] and guard this factory until [our demands] are addressed.”

... The workers have reason to be on guard. Located in Takhmao City’s Sitbou commune, Dignity Knitter and its sister factory Eco Base — which supplied to international brands including U.K. retailers Debenhams and John Lewis — started shorting workers of their wages ... and later fired more than 1,000 employees in total.

... Kong Atith, CCADWU’s president, said that as the demonstration vigil continues, workers’ health and safety face higher risks, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic...

Both Eco Base and Dignity Knitter had failed to pay workers’ wages in the past, so even as the May 30 payout deadline approaches, Socheat said she would continue to spend nights outside her former workplace...

Read the full post here

Related companies: Debenhams Dignity Knitter John Lewis (part of John Lewis Partnership)