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26 Jul 2020

Narim Khuon, CamboJa

Cambodia: Authorities block garment workers from marching to PM's house to seek intervention in unpaid benefits and compensation dispute

"Police block garment workers marching to Hun Sen’s house", 23 July 2020

Police and security guards blocked about 100 workers who attempted to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house … to submit a petition seeking a resolution after their factory shut down without providing benefit payments.

Some 50 police officers and Tuol Kork district security guards stopped the workers on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard in Phsar Depot 1 commune while they were on their way to the prime minister’s house after departing from the Labor Ministry, where they had first submitted their petition.

The workers decided to proceed to Hun Sen’s house as the government had failed to find a solution to their problems after employees had submitted a complaint with the Labor Ministry earlier this month. The Violet Apparel workers are asking that the ministry come to an agreement with the factory owner that would guarantee them seniority indemnity and compensation pay in the wake of the factory’s suspension and subsequent closure due to economic strain in the wake of Covid-19…

“The Labor Ministry just received the complaint and they did not resolve our problems,” said Kin Chreb, a 32-year-old employee of the factory who participated in the march.

“We peacefully walked toward uncle’s [Hun Sen’s] house but they [police] do not allow us to walk,” she said.

… “All workers have not yet received money since the factory closed,” she said. “For me, I am owed about $2,000.”

… Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), said she had begged the Labor Ministry and government leaders to reach a settlement for workers at Violet Apparel factory…