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Cambodia: A garment factory fires workers for violating govt's travel ban to curb Covid-19 spread during Khmer New Year celebrations; a factory's representative denies

"Garment Workers Fired for Violating Provincial Travel Ban", 17 April 2020

Chea Sinon bid farewell to her sister and roommate, Chea Channeath, on Friday as she headed back to her home province of Kampong Cham.

The now-dismissed garment factory worker lost her job at Bowker Garment Factory … for visiting her family over the Khmer New Year holidays …

On account of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the government … announced that the four-day annual holiday would be canceled. The administration even declared an inter-province travel ban …, fearing garment workers would defy the order to continue working and head home.

Chea Sinon, … left for Kampong Cham … hours before the travel ban was announced, to visit her family ... Her supervisor had approved two days of leave.

She intended to come back to Phnom Penh and said her sister, Chea Channeath, called her to come back to work immediately. She even informed her factory supervisor about her predicament.

… Yang Sophorn, president of workers union Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, said she was receiving information from workers that they have been fired.

“Factories will take this opportunity to fire workers,” she said, though she didn’t have an estimate for the numbers of workers fired so far.

… Another worker at Chea Sinon’s factory, Phat Phuong said she was fired …, despite asking her superior for permission to go back to her hometown in Battambang for two days ....

Seang Ratha, head of the human resource at Bowker Garment Factory, denied that workers had been fired, calling it a rumor…