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22 May 2020

Khy Sovuthy, Camboja News

Cambodia: Garment factories accused of union busting under cover of Covid-19

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"Garment factories accused of union busting under cover of Covid-19", 22 May 2020

Garment factory owners have been accused of attempting to cull union representatives and members from their workplaces under cover of widespread Covid-19 terminations... [U]nion leaders say some factory owners are targeting workers... in an effort to reduce unionized labor on the factory floor and intimidate others from organizing in future...

[T]he Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU)... pointed at two factories in Kandal province he said laid off dozens of union officials. “The Crystal Martin and QMI factories fired between 30 and 40 union leaders and activists during this Covid-19 disease,”...

[A] 47-year-old member of CCAWDU at the QMI factory... said that she and three other members of the union were called into the factory’s administration office last month and terminated. She said it was clear the group was selected due to their unionizing and that the termination was meant to send a message to other workers in the factory. “They ordered us to thumbprint letters of termination without telling us any reason,”... The QMI garment factory could not be reached for comment.

[T]he Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union (CATU), said that four of her members were also terminated from the Golden Apparel factory in Kompong Chhnang province and the Roo Hsing factory in Phnom Penh for “inciting workers to commit crimes” over their unionizing on the factory floor. “They had no evidence to show that they committed any mistake,” she said, explaining that the union representatives were now in dire financial straits.

More than 1,000 of officials and members of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers... had also been laid-off since the Covid-19 slowdown started... [including] Dy Phors... CUMW’s leader at the Shuang Li factory in Svay Rieng... and Soy Sros... at the Superl Holdings in Kompong...