Cambodia: Footwear workers continue protests to demand compensation for their employment's suspension

Author: Khouth Sophak Chakrya, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 18 January 2019

"Footwear protests continue into fourth day", 17 January 2019

More than 2,000 workers at King Maker Footwear Co continued protesting for a fourth day …, as they demanded that 50 per cent of their salary be paid, after their jobs were suspended by the factory for a month due to a lack of orders.

The Taiwanese factory, located in Bavet …, was until recently a leading footwear manufacturer in the Kingdom, exporting shoes to the Japanese market for footwear brand Asics.

But the factory has suffered in recent months as Asics cancelled its contract.

Consequently, the factory’s owners recently announced that they would suspend work for its 2,180 workers for a month from January 20 to February 20.

By way of compensation, the factory offered each worker $13 for the month. Workers rejected the offer and began protesting …, demanding 50 per cent of their salary for the full suspension period.

Voice Khmer Youth Union Federation deputy director On Sakhorn told … that following four days of protests,… the Svay Rieng provincial Labour and Vocational Training Department and the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia helped in talks that offered workers an improved offer of $30 each for the month…

“The workers say they need at least $75 for the month to pay for rent and food. Therefore, the offer of $30 per month is really not enough."

“They keep asking the union to demand 50 per cent of their salary from the factory,” Sakhorn said, adding that the factory has not given any sign that it will accept the workers’ demands…

King Maker Footwear Co representative Vong Samnang told … that the workers are aware of the difficult situation facing the factory and that it did not have much work for them…

He said the factory contacted a new buyer after Asics cancelled its order, …

“The company is maintaining its position of offering $30 for each worker during the suspension,” he said.

Samnang said the factory guarantees its workers a minimum wage of $180 with other benefits, including 2,000 riel ($0.50) for lunch and $13 a month for transportation and health services…

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Related companies: Asics Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia Kingmaker (Cambodia) Footwear